(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday reiterated his promise that
pre-school education will become free for children ages three and four already
for the start of the school year in the fall.
Speaking in Jerusalem at an
official ceremony inaugurating centers for excellence in education across the
country, the prime minister said the government will “not open the budget” and
that funding for the initiative – which follows the recommendations of the
Trajtenberg Committee – will be produced by across-the-board cuts to the budgets
of government ministries.
“This is a mission of national importance, at
the top of our priorities. We will find the sources [to fund this] and all
government ministries will pitch in,” Netanyahu said.
“This is a law that
has been legislated in the past but was never implemented,” the prime minister
Currently, only children 5-years-old and above receive free
education, and families struggle to pay for daycare and kindergarten for
children under that age.
“Families spend thousands of shekels on private
kindergartens and we will act to correct this situation,” Netanyahu
The state “will subsidize every child over 3-years-old by 800
shekels. I know this will make education free,” the prime minister said.
“Additionally, we will build more than 2,000 kindergartens and daycare
facilities which will answer the needs of an additional 30,000
Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, who heads the committee that was
established by the government following summer protests over the high cost of
living, was present at the ceremony, and said following the prime minister’s
speech: “I thank the prime minister for his commitment to the education of the
children of Israel and for creating an educational continuum from the younger
ages to higher education. This move will contribute enormously.”