Of the 24,000 youth that dropped out of the educational system this past year, authorities only identified 11,500 for assistance – less than 48 percent.
So said Ilan Shemesh, a youth advancement inspector for the Education Ministry, during a meeting of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on Tuesday regarding youth violence, intoxication and school dropouts.
According to Shemesh, despite a sharp increase in dropout rates among the ultra-Orthodox, recent years had seen a decrease in the overall number of dropouts, but the budget was still insufficient to address all of them.
Dr. Yossi Harel-Fisch, chief scientist of the Israel Anti- Drug and Alcohol Authority, presented the statistics of a survey conducted in Israel between 1990 and 2012 that depicted a substantial worsening of youth drinking alcohol over that time.
According to the survey, in 1994 only 6% of youth drank large quantities of alcohol, while by 2012 that number increased to 21%, a figure that in Europe is only exceeded in one country. In addition, 25% of the youth drinking alcohol were involved in a fight or violent incident.
Harel-Fisch called on parents and local authorities to fill the youths’ leisure time and change the culture of recreation.
“Freedom under the guise of liberalism deteriorates into negative actions,” committee chairwoman MK Orly Levy-Abecassis (Yisrael Beytenu) said. She also said the age at which children turned to violence was decreasing, “and we need to check which government plan to treat this phenomenon works, and which works less.”
According to a paper that the research and information center of the Knesset released ahead of the meeting, 2008-2012 saw a 25% decrease in the number of files opened by police against youth – which it said could either reflect a decrease in crime among youth, or a narrowing of enforcement by police.
The report said the number of youth suspected in criminal cases had also decreased by 22% in that time.