(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The organizers of last week’s “stroller march” presented their demands to the
Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, in an emergency session on Tuesday to
discuss the cost of parenting.
Stroller protest organizers Noa Kliger,
Yael Barda and Liat Vardi called for an extension of paid pregnancy leave, free
public transportation for children riding with a parent, and regulation of basic
products, such as baby formula and diapers.
Committee Chairwoman MK Tzipi
Hotovely (Likud) said that she would discuss two issues with Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu. First, she said she would continue to push for free early
childhood education, as her committee has been doing for two
Second, Hotovely said it is essential that at least one female
minister be included in Netanyahu’s committee on the cost of living, which is
meant to address the demands of demonstrators around the country.
three out of 29 ministers are women – Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat,
Agriculture Minister Orit Noked, and Absorption Minister Sofa
“The situation in which education for toddlers costs twice as
much as college tuition is absurd,” Hotovely said.
“We must bring about
this revolution, while quickly building a large number of daycare centers so the
supply meets the demand. The public struggle has only begun – we cannot give
up,” she added.
Hotovely also stated that the Education Ministry should
be responsible for nurseries, not the Industry, Trade and Labor
Education Ministry representative Dalit Stauber said the
ministry would like to take the reins.
“Free early childhood education is
not unattainable,” said MK Orly Levy (Israel Beiteinu). Levy explained that NIS
2.4 billion is currently invested in regulation and subsidization of daycare
centers and nurseries, and estimated another NIS 3 billion is necessary to solve
the current problem.
She added that the subsidy should go directly to
parents, and not be given in the form of tax breaks for early-childhood
According to Talia Livni, chairwoman of the women’s
organization Naamat which runs daycare centers, “thousands of mothers do not
work” because daycare for their children is too expensive.
must help,” she said. “When a couple gets married, they need a promise
from the state that they can work, but they are not getting that promise.”