'New daycare guidelines harm haredi communities'

Haredi MK says government needs to put more money into building daycare centers for haredi communities, slams 'contradiction.'

Michal Levi ,

Yakov Asher
Yakov Asher
Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90

According to new guidelines, multi-age neighborhood daycare centers should not have more than two children who are under the age of one year. As a result, there is a severe shortage of private daycare options available for Israeli parents.

MK Yakov Asher (UTJ) turned again to Welfare Minister Haim Katz (Likud) in an attempt to find a solution.

"Two weeks ago, the Knesset held a discussion on how to implement the decision to build more daycare centers," Asher said. "When I asked where the unused money would go, I was told that the Finance Ministry reclaimed 110 million unused shekels."

"On the one hand, the Finance Ministry says that there is a shortage of daycare centers because there's no budget. If that's the case, why should it not use the leftover money to create new daycares?"

"The new guidelines severely harm haredi communities where the number of young babies needing a private daycare center is higher than the number of older children. Most of the toddlers go to public daycare centers, but the babies are sent to smaller, private centers. Now, there is a problem, because the smaller private centers can only accept 2 babies under the age of a year, but there are hundreds of babies who need a place in daycare.

"I am in touch with professionals in your office, and I ask you to intervene, and provide a solution for these problems."

In response, Katz said the Welfare Ministry is building many new daycare centers all over Israel, at a cost of 350 million NIS.

"Unfortunately, three months ago the Finance Ministry took back 110 million shekels that were not used by several local authorities, who had not gone through with the building," Katz said, adding that Asher could bring the topic up with the Knesset's Finance Ministry.

"Regarding the new guidelines that daycare centers should not accept more than two children who are less than one year of age, we will discuss it with the appropriate professionals."

Currently, the law allows all kinds of daycare centers to accept up to six babies under the age of one year. A seventh baby requires a second staff member.