On Sunday, subsidized daycare centers are unhappy with the state, which drove them to threaten to shut their doors come September, when the school year is set to begin. According to these centers, preschool education has been neglected by the state for years.
Daycare services that are regulated by the state in Israel are meant for children who belong to the age group of 3 months to 3 years. These are subsidized by the state and supervised by the government, while their operations are run by non-profit organizations. A monthly contribution is made by parents in accordance with their income and is usually between NIS 1,000 and 2,000.
These daycare centers prioritize parents from a lower socioeconomic background because they have limited space. One of the top organizations that operate Israel’s state-regulated daycare centers is Na’amat. Its chairwoman, Hagit Peer said that they had been repeatedly saying that they are in distress and will not be able to continue running the daycare centers.
The operating groups said that staffing shortages would prevent them from operating from September 1st, when the school year begins. Moreover, the Finance Ministry recently recommended a reduction in government subsidies for daycare centers, which means the daycare centers would have to charge more from parents.
Peer said that parents would be able to tell what they faced this year when classrooms were shut down one after the other. There were tens of thousands of parents who had to be notified of another classroom, another daycare center shutting down because of staff shortages. Therefore, she said that they would not be able to open from September 1st.
She insisted that there was a solution and said that Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Minister, could solve the issue. The leader of the Histadrut Labor Union, Arnon Ben-David, issued a call earlier on Sunday to Prime Minister Yair Lapid for addressing the situation. He warned that there would not be a daycare center for ten thousand kids this year.
Emunah’s chair speaks
Emunah is an organization in Israel that supports the rights of women and focuses on social welfare and education. Its chairwoman, Liora Minka also spoke up about the issue. She claimed that hundreds of daycare centers had shut down already and more would do the same if there is no change in the situation before the school year begins.
She said that since thousands of kids will not have a daycare center, their parents would not be able to go to work. Therefore, she asked the government to provide daycare centers with the same salaries as their counterparts in municipal-operated kindergartens. She said that a pay gap of NIS 1,500 exists.
She also said that daycare centers are under a lot of financial burden, but added that parents should not have to pay a price for it. She said that they are talking about the cost of living and then hurting the people who are facing a difficult and challenging solution because of it. She called on the Finance Minister to provide a solution by September 1st.