More than 2 million children will return to schools and kindergartens on Monday. Of these, 942,000 will go to elementary schools and 145,000 will begin first grade.

Some 644,000 will attend junior high and high schools, including 107,000 who will begin their senior year. Some 13,000 pupils will also begin their studies at professional-technological schools, under the auspices of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.

"This is the fourth consecutive year I have been able to open the school year smoothly, without strikes," remarked Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Education Ministry's situation room on Sunday, and examined the ministry's preparations.

"There is much good news for parents this new school year," he said. "It is beginning without a strike, the summer vacation is a few days shorter and it carries good tidings as far as payments are concerned: The policy of free education from the age of 3 saves some NIS 800 every month for every child, field trips are being subsidized and there is also a substantial reduction in payments for textbooks. Our government invests enormous sums in education, for a better future. I wish all the pupils, parents, teachers and school staffs a successful and fruitful year."