Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) has announced that his office will be changing the eligibility criteria for daycare subsidies.
Under the new criteria, government funding will only be available to families in which the mother's partner works at least 24 hours (half time) each week. Currently, the 24-hour minimum applies only to the mother.
In addition, it was decided that subsidies will be provided for those families in which one parent is acquiring higher education or other training which will allow improved integration into the job market in the future.
If parents choose to integrate into the job market during the course of the school year, they will be eligible to receive subsidies beginning from the first day of employment.
The remainder of the criteria for eligibility for government daycare subsidies will remain as is.
The new criteria will apply from the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
Liberman said: "The decision I am presenting today is a very important step, and it changes the priorities in this country, placing first and foremost those who work and pay taxes. The current system harms working parents and prioritizes those who do not [work], so the change is therefore necessary."
"I will continue to lead processes which eliminate negative incentives to integration into the job market," he promised.
MK Moshe Gafni, chairman of the Ashkenazic-haredi United Torah Judaism party, said: "The criteria decided by the evil Liberman will prevent a working woman whose husband learns Torah from receiving the daycare subsidy for children, and will deal these families a severe financial blow."
"We are waiting for [Israeli Prime Minister Naftali] Bennett, who said that he would not allow harm to come to the haredi community. The first hard hit signed by the evil Liberman is against the haredi community, the working women, and the Torah learners."
In December 2019, a report showed that approximately one-third of the daycare subsidy budget is used for kollel (yeshiva for married students) families.