JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took the opportunity of a education ceremony to announce Wednesday that pre-school will be free for three- and four-year-olds starting the coming school year.
Netanyahu said that the government had decided, in conjunction with the Trachtenberg Committee’s reform recommendations, to implement the law granting free pre-school education that had been passed several years ago.
The prime minister told a ceremony inaugurating centers for excellence in education that funding for the initiative will be generated by an across-the-board cut of 4 percent to the budgets of government ministries.
“This is a mission of national importance, at the top of our priorities. We will find the sources [to fund this] and all government ministries will pitch in,” Netanyahu said.
Free public education in Israel begins with kindergarten at age five. Until then, hard-working families struggle to pay for child care, with most of the average mother’s wages going for daycare.
“Families spend thousands of shekels on private kindergartens and we will act to correct this situation,” Netanyahu said, saying the state “will subsidize every child over three-years-old by NIS 800…Additionally, we will build more than 2,000 kindergartens and daycare facilities, which will answer the needs of an additional 30,000 children.”