Lag baomer bonfire 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Jerusalem parents called on Education Minister Shai Piron this week to reduce
the number of school vacation days, which put a strain on working parents who
have to find arrangements and improvise activities for their children during
The group of parents, supported by Jerusalem City Council
member Rachel Azaria, initiated a Facebook campaign on the subject, as they
started protesting the upcoming twoday Lag Ba’omer school vacation, which will
take place next week on Sunday and Monday.
“The economic reality today
requires both parents to work full time,” Azaria explained, “Parents are working
longer hours with less time off than before.
“The structure of the school
year today is not coordinated with working parents, and it creates unbearable
tensions between the desire to be with the children and the need to financially
support them,” she added.
The campaign states that Israeli children get
some 92 days of vacation from the education system per year, while most parents
are granted only 10.
Yaara Yeshurun, a working mother who joined the
movement, explained that the campaign “is not a battle of parents against
teachers, but a call to change a distorted reality.”
“On the one hand, a
job market requires infinite work; on the other hand, [we have] an education
system which still functions like it did in the days of the establishment of the
state,” Yeshurun continued.
“We must balance children and parents’
holidays for the sake of families, the educational system and the job market in
Israel,” she said.
The chairwoman of the Knesset Committee for the Status
of Women, Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie, also addressed the upcoming Lag Ba’omer
It “puts parents in an impossible situation,” she said
Lavie called on Piron to adjust the holiday calendar for public
kindergartens and lower elementary school grades.
“An adjustment limited
to young students will not be too heavy on the education system and will allow
parents to work,” Lavie explained.
“Unfortunately, it is usually the
women who remain at home to take care of the kids, which doesn’t help them
promote their status in the workplace,” she continued.
Lavie added that
the holiday calendar is “anachronistic and was determined in times when many
mothers did not work.”
“Things have changed since,” she said. “The number
of single- parent families has increased, and these vacation days are always
stuck in the middle of our daily routine.”
Lavie said she would convene
the Committee for the Status of Women for a meeting on the subject. According to
her, Piron replied that he would examine the issue of vacation days and
formulate recommendations soon.