Kaytanot, or summer camps, are reaching exorbitant costs – to the expense of desperate parents, a report reveals Friday.
Kaytanot camps, usually three weeks long at most, are the savior for most working parents in Israel, who have fewer than two weeks' vacation per year despite six to eight weeks of school holidays for their children.
But one community camp in Mazkeret Batya cost 2,395 shekel ($619) for a short stint in July, Walla! News reports – slightly less than half of a minimum-wage monthly salary and about one-quarter of an average salary.
The camp's price was downgraded to 2,150 shekel ($556) after some municipality involvement, but parents have posted more than 50 protest signs in response to the high cost, according to the daily. High prices have also been spotted in Givatayim, and in the Hof Hakarmel Regional Council.
Kobi Steinberg, one of the Mazkeret Batya parents behind the protest, noted that when you break down the basics – food, transportation, and even activities – the cost should not be more than 1,200 shekels ($310) per child.
The Community Centers in Israel responded Friday that "national camps are held in hundreds of community centers – which are non-profit organizations nationwide and in every sector – and the Mazkeret Batya Community Center is one of them."
"Prices for the camps are set by the management of the centers, comprised of representatives from the municipality and representatives of the public – and are 20-40% cheaper than private kaytanot on average," it continued.
"Prices range from 600-1,800 shekels for half-day camp and 1,600-2,500 shekels for a full day camp, varying based on content, materials costs, and length – from three weeks to a month and a half, in accordance with state subsidies."