Thousands of parents nationwide are up in arms over a law that makes it mandatory to send all children from age 32 months to pre-nursery schools that are either state operated or state-approved, starting this year.
The law has existed on paper since 1984, but only enforced for ages 5 and up. Following the recommendations filed by the Trajtenberg Committee, which was formed following the massive leftist-organized “social justice” protests of 2011, it was decided to enforce it for ages 3-4. It conforms with leftist ideals of collective education in state institutions, with the nuclear family taking a back seat.
The upside for parents is that preschools are subsidized by the state. One of the downsides, which they are now discovering, is that the pre-nursery schools are going to be very crowded – with 35 children per class, and a staff of one teacher and one assistant for each class.
Over 2,600 parents have reportedly sent letters to the Prime Minister as part of a protest against the way the law is being implemented, which they fear will damage and endanger their children, who will suffer from crowded conditions, lack of supervision and insufficient hygiene.
The Labor party and Yesh Atid support enlarging the staffs of the pre-nursery school classes to three, by adding a second assistant, as part of their platforms. Kulanu, which includes Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, supports "looking into the possibility" of adding a second assistant. Likud and Jewish Home do not seem to have a platform policy on the matter.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett are being blamed by Kulanu candidate Rachel Azaria for the current situation. She said that the government should have opened additional classes and raised the salaries of the assistant teachers.
Tzipi Brand, a leader of the parents' protest, said Sunday that Education Minister Shai Piron assured her that at least as far as 2015/16 is concerned, the government would not be prosecuting parents who do not comply with the law. "The law will be in place but they will be turning a blind eye to violations," she explained.
Activists charge that private pre-nursery schools will have to pay the government large amounts of money in order to receive state certification, and that most of them will be forced to close.