Hundreds of Haifa high-schoolers have dropped out of the annual March of the Living trip to Poland after the price of the trip rose to NIS 6,415 per student this year, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. Parents are furious that the Education Ministry is providing only NIS 550 per child and that the rest of the money must come from their pockets, saying the trip has become "a journey for the rich only." According to the report, students, parents and teachers met last week at the Knesset and called on the Education Ministry to reduce the cost of the trip. A petition to this effect has also been circulating through the internet and has been signed by thousands of people. The report said that at least two schools in Haifa, Leo Baeck and Hugim, have decided to pull out of the visit altogether this year. The Leo Baeck students' council said the high cost "harms the principle of equality" at the school, and 130 students there will now not go to Poland. And school principal Yona Katzir said that when schools used to manage the trip for themselves, the cost would always be about $1000 per student, but since the Education Ministry had taken over several years ago, the cost had risen from year to year. Other school principals in Haifa said they were trying to obtain ministry scholarships that would enable needy students to make the journey, and said it was "a pity that a project of this quality and educational value" was not being made available to everyone who wanted to participate. An Education Ministry spokeswoman said the ministry placed great importance on the annual trip and was "sorry" about the high cost, which stemmed from rising prices inside Poland. She said alternatives that might make the travel cheaper were still being checked, and she hoped that the journey would not be cancelled.