Israeli students
Israeli students demonstrating. Photo by Tomer Neuberg
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Thousands of students complaining that this year's matriculation exam schedule is too intense plan to cut school on Thursday and demonstrate at the Education Ministry's office in Tel Aviv.

The protest was initiated by four 11th-graders from Petah Tikva, who say they face having to take four bagrut (matriculation ) exams - geography, Bible, biology and history - in eight days. A Facebook page they opened has already gotten 7,000 pledges to skip classes on Thursday.

"The schedule is so unreasonable that we may only be able to take some of the tests," said Yuval Kabir, one of the protest organizers. "We sent letters to the Education Ministry and the education minister; we called; we got parents to sign a petition; but nobody was paying any attention. We even sat and drew up a new schedule of tests that would be better for everyone.

"So we decided to start a protest, and suddenly we heard from lots of students," he continued. "They've been educating us for 12 years to get us to this moment, and then they don't let us get through it successfully."

Yuval Shalev, an 11th-grader from Rosh Ha'ayin, concurred. "If we don't act, no one will do it for us," she said. "We told our principal that we're not coming to school [Thursday], and the school supports us."

The Education Ministry said it drew up the test schedule "in cooperation and consultation with the Principals Association, the National Student Council and the Israel Defense Forces."