stroller march jerusalem_311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Three of the country’s largest women’s rights organizations joined forces Monday
to air their concern over recommendations leaked last week from the
government-appointed Trajtenberg Committee and demand that free day care become
an option for all children from birth.
RELATED:Histadrut chair: We'll 'react' to Trajtenberg proposals Trajtenberg denies reports of c'tee recommendations
The Women’s International Zionist
Organization (WIZO), Na’amat and Emunah have called on the committee, which is
headed by Professor Manuel Trajtenberg and tasked with suggesting socio-economic
reforms to improve the standard of living for lower and middle-class sectors, to
increase investments in education, especially free or subsidized frameworks for
babies and infants from birth through age three.
“A child is not born at
the age of three,” commented World WIZO chairwoman Tova Ben Dov, referring to
the rumored recommendation that free education will be expanded to include
three- and four-year-olds.
“It is the government’s responsibility to
provide frameworks for children from as young as three to six
According to Ben Dov, providing free education for babies and
infants will go a long way to addressing the growing gaps between rich and poor
in this country by allowing mothers to return to work quickly after giving
birth. In addition, subsidized day care will provide financial relief to
struggling middle-class families that pour all their earnings into private
kindergartens, baby-sitters and child-minders.
Figures provided by the
organizations show that out of 300,000 Israeli infants below age three currently
in full-time childcare, only one third attend government subsidized day-care
centers fully under the auspices of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. Most
of the 1,700 day-care centers are run by one of the three women’s
Ben Dov estimated that the cost of subsidized day care in
the government- run institutions ranges from NIS 1,800-2,200 depending on the
age of the child. Private frameworks, including those partially supervised by
the Labor Ministry, can cost a parent up to NIS 3,000 a month depending on where
they live, though in most areas the average price is NIS 2,000.
has to be a government decision on this,” continued Ben Dov, highlighting that,
on paper, laws already exist to include threeand four-year-olds into the free
educational framework but only as part of the Economic Arrangements Law, which
is amended each year depending on available government funds.
parents, the most expensive educational framework for their children is when
they are under the age of three,” pointed out Emunah chairwoman Leora Minka.
“When we met with the parents involved in [this past summer’s] buggy protests,
this is what they told us – that they could not afford the high payments for
“We want to see the government take responsibility for this
issue, so that more day-care centers are built to help working parents,” she
Talia Livni, president of Na’amat, said that she was hopeful [the
government] “would not miss the opportunity to create free education for babies
and infants. “It is exactly the time when women are deciding whether or not go
back to work after having a baby,” she said.
“There has to be a change in
focus. This summer we saw hundreds of thousands of people get up and
speak their minds. If real changes do not follow, then this government will
fall,” she warned.