Daycare center (illustrative)
Daycare center (illustrative)iStock

Supervised daycare centers will begin Wednesday morning after 10:00a.m. and continue to start at that hour until the end of the week, Maariv reported.

The late opening time is part of a protest against the employment conditions.

If no agreement is reached, the daycares will begin a full strike on Sunday, leaving a quarter of a million parents without a childcare solution for their youngest children. There is no end date for the strike, Maariv added.

Participating in the strike are daycares from several large chains, including Emunah, WIZO, Na'amat, Herut Women, the Arab Yanbua chain, and more. The organizations have announced that they would like to return to negotiations.

Over 16,000 people are employed in daycares in management, educational-caregiving, and food preparation roles. The protesters say that in most OECD countries, there is significant subsidizing of childcare for children ages 0-3 years, if not a law forcing free childcare, while in Israel no one in the government takes the issue seriously. They also said that the daycares are at the bottom of the government's priority list, and "this situation places many parents in an economic, social, and employment spiral."

The protesters added: "The government is forcing us to start a strike, by refusing to hold negotiations with us. The government of Israel is shaking off responsibility for early education and is neglecting it. We also turned today to the Economy Minister and the Finance Minister, asking that they sit with us at the negotiating table ... in order to prevent protests and strikes. Unfortunately, we have not received a response until now."

"Instead of hugging the children, we are going out to fight for the future of early childhood education. The supervised daycare centers are suffering from a shortage of hundreds of employees due to the low salary, complex conditions, and significant salary gaps in comparison to the assistants at locally-run preschools - it's abandonment."

The headquarters also said that Israel's investment in early childcare is lower than that of other OECD countries, and the ratio of children to adults is high at 1:6 for infants, 1:9 until age two, and 1:11 until age three.