Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch called on the Israeli government to decide whether preschools should open or not on Lag Ba'omer, saying that the decision should not be left to be made by the preschool teachers themselves, since they are under pressure from parents to work on a day that is usually vacation.
Earlier, head of the Israel Teachers' Union, Yaffa Ben David, called on preschool teachers to "volunteer" their day off and work without pay "in order to make it easier for parents who have to work that day."
"Volunteering is an important value, but not one that the government should impose on people," Bloch said. "A decision to change the law needs to be made by the government and not by individual schools. It's not proper or ethical to allow parents to put such pressure on our valuable preschool teachers."
In response, head of the Organization of Preschool Teachers, Dorit Hazan, attacked Ben David, saying: "The head of the Teachers' Union is calling on preschool teachers to volunteer on Lag B'Omer? I call on her to volunteer on Lag B'Omer! And on Shavuot [the Holiday of Tabernacles] too, and during the summer vacation."
"This is how an organization behaves that doesn't represent preschool teachers - all it does is dictate to us. We preschool teachers are a gentle bunch of people and we don't usually make our voices heard or stand up for ourselves, but we should no longer be keeping quiet."
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem municipality has ordered that all 630 preschools under its jurisdiction will remain open on Lag Ba'omer this year, with the preschool assistants receiving full payment for the extra day.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion explained: "These are complex times, and in order to succeed in them, we need great flexibility and creativity. I promise parents that we will do everything we can, always, in order to help you and make things easier."