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The chair of the Knesset Education Committee, MK Rabbi Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad), said yesterday that establishing the combined Orthodox-secular public school system was "the reason I left a normal challenging life and went into the crazy life of politics." Melchior has scored several impressive achievements this past year that managed to turn the cliche "we must invest in education" into laws that have received funding for their implementation. Together with MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), the former Education Ministry director general, his work led to the amendment extending free compulsory education to age 18, the students' rights law, a law requiring increasing budgeting for public libraries by 50 percent and a law mandating construction of a new national library.