Several parents with young children at Naamat and WIZO daycare centers claim they still have not received financial subsidies promised to them, despite the fact that two months have already passed since the beginning of this academic year.
"We have already gone through two months without the discount," one mother, Mali Dezialovski, told The Jerusalem Post. Her child attends a Naamat daycare center in Petah Tikva.
She said that instead of paying the discount cost of NIS 770 per month, she and her husband have been forced to pay the full amount of NIS 1,800 a month for both September and October until approval for her subsidy comes through from the Ministry of Labor, Trade and Industry.
With the November payment due next week, Dezialovski said many parents - some of whom are single parents or survive on a single salary - are already struggling financially.
"I can't take little Roni out of gan [kindergarten] but with the third month's payment due, the minus in the bank is growing," she said. "We handed in all the forms back in July; why is it taking the ministry so long to process this information? They had all of July and August to put the paperwork through."
Dezialovski recalled that there were similar delays last year in assigning subsidy levels and handing out the much needed discounts, but she said eventually parents did receive the subsidy rankings and were later reimbursed for the payments.
"We have tried contacting the ministry," said Dezialovski. "They just tell us to wait patiently. Naamat tells us it's the ministry's fault and the ministry says its Naamat's responsibility."
Another mother - who preferred to remain anonymous - has a one-year-old child in a Modi'in-based day care center run by WIZO.
"Two thirds of my salary is going towards paying for this daycare program; together with my mortgage that leaves us with virtually nothing to live on," she said. She has paid the full price of NIS 3,000 for each of the past two months and is still in the dark as to how much of a subsidy she is entitled to.
Naamat spokeswoman Carmel Eitan told the Post that "the processing of subsidy requests takes time and the Ministry of Labor, Trade and Industry works slowly. We have tried to put pressure on them to speed things up but it takes time.
"We have tried to help those with severe difficulties, such as single parents, but it is really a problem," she added.
WIZO responded similarly by saying that this was not the first time the ministry had delayed subsidy payments by a few months.
"WIZO is not responsible for this delay," said a spokesperson. "But we will assist in checking the reasons for the delay and in the future will try to simplify the process with the ministry and help parents who approach their local daycare directors.
"Because of the large number of requests for subsidies received, a large part of the updating has taken until the end of October," she continued. "We hope in the coming days parents will be notified of the subsidy level applicable to them."
At the Ministry of Labor, Trade and Industry, Director of the Daycare Center and Kindergarten Department Tamar Almog said the individual directors of each daycare center had direct guidelines on how to help parents receive their subsidies.
"There are more than 85,000 children in the system and we cannot track each case, that is why each WIZO and Naamat director was given clear instructions of what to do," she said.
"We have branches in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva, Haifa and Beersheba," continued Almog. "If a parent has not yet received their subsidy level, then the daycare center director needs to approach our representatives around the country and find out why. It is part of their job."