Sharren Haskel
Sharren HaskelYonatan Sindel/Flash90

A new bill proposes to shorten summer vacation to just one month, so that it is more in line with parents' workplaces, Yediot Aharonot reported.

The bill was proposed by MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope), who chairs the Knesset's Education Committee, and has greatly disturbed the teachers' unions, Yediot Aharonot added.

If passed, the school year would end on June 30, as it currently does, but begin on August 1, one month earlier than it currently does. The new plan would also eliminate vacations for the holiday of Lag Ba'omer, and for the day following other holidays.

At the same time, it would shorten the school week to five days instead of six.

According to the bill, the month taken from summer vacation would be "returned" during the Jewish month of Tishrei, which is full of holidays and therefore contains very few school days.

This proposal, which purportedly aims to align the school year with parents' vacation days, was one of New Hope's election promises.

The proposal states that "the structure of the school year in the Israeli education system is very unusual when compared internationally, since it is one of the only education systems in the world in which the school year continues for more than five days each week. In addition there is an unusual incompatibility between the education system's vacation schedule and the vacation days in the rest of the economy."

"This disparity has serious consequences, including harm to children, especially young children from families which are socioeconomically weak, who are left for dozens of days throughout the year without parental supervision or an appropriate alternative framework, and high costs to parents for camps and babysitting services. This also leads to damage in the productivity and the Israeli economy's product, which is estimated by various professional sources to be between 120-250 million shekel for each day of vacation."

Israel Teachers Union responded: "This is cheap populism. Everyone knows that the vacation days of education employees were agreed on in collective agreements between the Teachers Union and the State, and not in a bill by one MK or another. The vacation days are an integral part of the employment conditions of education employees - as are the salaries, sick days, continuing education, or other conditions set in the agreements."

Ron Erez, who chairs the Teachers Union, responded: "This is an outrageous plan. We absolutely oppose it and we will fight against it. Instead of dealing with the real ills of the system, they are proposing a populist suggestion whose only goal is to hurt the teachers' work conditions."