Daycare center (illustrative)
Daycare center (illustrative)iStock

Three weeks before the beginning of the new school year, just 40% of Israel's 10,000 private preschools have requested permission to open, Israel Hayom reported.

Of the 4,000 requesting permission, 20% were denied approval, due to issues in operational safety, and the other 3,200 received approval to operate.

According to the Dacyare Supervision Law, which passed in 2018, beginning in September 2019 every daycare with over seven children must receive initial permission to open, from the Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Approval under the new law is dependent on three factors: A lack of a criminal record, for anyone coming in contact with the children; an appropriate building to house the daycare; and staff trained in first aid.

Israel has an estimated 550,000 children ages 0-3, 170,000 of whom are cared for at home, by a relative or babysitter. However, the other 380,000 attend some form of childcare, with 130,000 attending supervised and subsidized childcare centers, and the other 250,000 in private childcare centers. A total of 23 supervisors have been charged with ensuring that childcare centers are safe.

In the past few months Israel Hayom noted, 136 childcare providers have been removed from their positions due to violence towards minors, drug use, prostitution, or a history of severe crimes. Childcare centers are required to provide the Ministry with the personal details of new employees, after which the Ministry investigates and decides to either approve or deny their employment.

The Labor and Welfare Ministry told Israel Hayom: "The department for daycare centers is working to implement the law's instructions, which include in the first stage issuing initial permits to daycare centers. Since the Knesset Committees were not operating for the past year and a half, the policies have not yet been advanced, and the Ministry is working hard, together with other government ministries, to legislate them as soon as possible. In addition, due to the lack of an updated budget, the Labor and Welfare Ministry did not receive the additional supervisory positions which were promised with the law's passing. Therefore, ahead of the State budget's upcoming approval, the Ministry is working with the Finance Ministry to receive a significant increase in the number of positions and to immediately implement the law's requirements."