Israel plans to launch an initiative to help its students learn to read and write Russian in the coming years, according to a draft plan released by the government.
The initiative is intended to make learning to read, write and speak Russian easier for Israeli students and their parents, the document says.
According to the document, the initiative will consist of three components: the establishment of an official foreign language program, a Russian language school and a Russian Language Academy.
The program will focus on learning Russian, which Israel has an international reputation for, and will offer students access to language learning materials in Russian.
It will also be aimed at boosting the Russian language in the country.
The plan was revealed last week at a meeting of the Israeli Education Ministry’s Committee for Russian Language, Culture and Information.
The document was drafted by Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s deputy, Dr. Avichai Leibovich, and is part of a plan to improve the Russian-speaking population in Israel, which is home to over 5 million Jews, many of whom speak the language.
The language initiative was proposed in 2013, when Israel was trying to gain support from the European Union to create a Russian-language school.
It had received support from other European Union countries, but the plan was stalled due to the conflict in Ukraine.
However, in 2016, the Russian Language Board of Europe (LBCEU), a Russian advocacy group, announced it would support the initiative, in an effort to help Israeli-Russian speakers gain access to Russian-medium education.
In a statement on Wednesday, the LBCEU said the initiative “is a great step forward in Israel’s effort to strengthen its language and culture and will provide a good platform for further development of Russian in our country.”
In recent years, there has been a boom in Russian-learning efforts in Israel.
A wave of Russian-only schools opened in recent years.
In October, for example, a bilingual Russian-English school opened in the coastal city of Ashkelon, while in January, a Moscow-based school opened near the Israeli-Syrian border in the town of Arad.
But the initiative to create an official Russian-Language School has received mixed responses from Israelis.
While there are already more than 100 such schools in Israel and several other countries, the language board has also been criticized for not adequately supporting the Russian community.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for instance, has had to close two Russian language programs since 2012, because the language boards lacked sufficient funding.
The Israeli Education Minister’s office said that it will continue to work with the LbcEU on the plan.