Mayors tell government: If parents return to work, we must re-open schools

"Every sensible person understands that parents cannot go to work when their children are at home," Bibas said.

Haim Bibas (photo credit: Courtesy)
Haim Bibas
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The head of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel has called upon the government to reinstate kindergarten and lower grade schooling so that parents can get back to work following the coronavirus lockdown.
Haim Bibas, who is mayor of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut as well as the Federation's head, spoke with fellow mayors on Saturday regarding the discussions now taking place between the Health and Finance ministries about an exit strategy from the lockdown.
Representative of 265 local authorities, the Federation is an umbrella organization responsible for speaking on behalf of the authorities to the government and other bodies. It has told the ministries that the municipalities believe the economy won't get back on track unless measures are taken to ensure schooling for younger children is also in place.
"Every sensible person understands that parents cannot go to work when their children are at home," Bibas said.
"There is currently no acceptable solutions for parents, and the solutions being presented are similar to sticking a plaster on a fractured limb. The government should find a way to restore kindergarten and grades 1-3 this month as part of phase one of the process of returning to normal. Otherwise, the economy will not be able to return to being fully functional."
Self-employed workers and small business owners protested in various locations around Israel on Sunday against the government's measures to get the Israeli economy back on track. The economic damage wreaked upon Israel's private sector, excluding aviation is expected to be NIS 43 billion ($12b.) since the start of March. Unemployment is currently running at over 26%, or more than 1.1 million individuals, with numbers still expected to be three times higher than pre-crisis levels by the end of this year.
"The weird plan that was developed in the Finance Ministry reflects its unreceptive nature and lack of understanding of the scale of the crisis in the business sector," said Roee Cohen, president of the Israel Chamber of Independent Organizations and Businesses.
"There are no other words but to say that the Finance Ministry and the Budget Department are leading us to an unprecedented economic catastrophe."
Eytan Halon contributed to this report.