Preschool teachers and daycare workers in the central haredi city of Bnei Brak are complaining that the municipality demands they remain open during the traditional two-week vacation period, Kikar Hashabbat reported.
According to Kikar Hashabbat, most haredi cities will end summer childcare for young children before July 17, not after July 22, as the Education Ministry has requested.
However, Bnei Brak has decided to operate the "summer schools" for an extra week, forcing employees to work while the rest of their families are on vacation.
"The entire haredi public is on vacation during these days - the elementary schools, the yeshivas, our sons come home for break - why do I, as a mother, need to go to work, in contradiction to the protocol every year?" one preschool teacher demanded in an interview with Kikar Hashabbat.
In a statement to Kikar Hashabbat, the Bnei Brak municipality responded that "the Education Ministry decided to operate and fund summer camps until July 22. As a municipality, we feel it is unfair and unreasonable to take this right from the many parents who need childcare during these days, and to force them to pay high prices for childcare when they are eligible to receive it for free via their children's educational frameworks and as a continuation of organized learning."
"Despite the considerations which are understood by all of us, we still cannot take from parents what they rightfully deserve. Obviously, all those employed in the summer camps are paid by the Education Ministry, and no one will lose out on working conditions or salary.
"If after July 17, we find that attendance is low in one daycare or another, then we will act in coordination with the Education Ministry and in accordance with the guidelines. Again, we cannot in any way decide ahead of time to block this essential educational option and prevent parents from enjoying free childcare, when that is the decision and national protocol."