Jerusalem Education System Lacking Thousands of Classrooms that Meet Minimum Standards


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classrAccording to a Jerusalem Comptroller’s report, the city is in dire need of thousands of classrooms that meet minimum standards. The report documents the critical shortage of classrooms in Jerusalem schools that are in compliance with the code, adding many of the classrooms in use not only do not meet the minimum safety and occupancy codes, but they are used illegally as they do not have occupancy permits.

There is much criticism against the city, explaining City Hall has records after a baby’s birth registry so in essence, the city has six years advanced notice until a child enters first grade.

In an effort to compensate for the shortage the city rents apartments and sets caravan corrugated homes in place, modifying them to serve as classrooms. In most case they are not in compliance with the code government classrooms and schools.

Meretz Councilwoman and Chair of the Audit Committee Dr. Laura Wharton confirms the dire situation, adding she and her colleagues are planning legal action against the city to compel action to correct the unacceptable situation.

However, according to city officials involved, the money for new classrooms is supposed to come from the Ministry of Education but this is not happening. Jerusalem officials explain the ministry only allocates funds for the construction of 100 classrooms annually, adding this is absurd since the natural growth rate alone is over twice this number. In addition, there is a shortage of some 3,000 classrooms that conform to regulations as many of the temporary classrooms are substandard and pose safety violations.

Jerusalem City Hall spends about NIS 150 million on providing temporary solutions like the caravans. This is money generated from arnona property taxes that should be used elsewhere but since that Education Ministry is not building as it should, Jerusalem is forced to use money from the city budget.

City Hall officials are now looking into borrowing the money to build he required classrooms, explaining this would be less expensive that continuing to spend almost NIS 150 million annually for schools.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. Part of this issue is the Mayor’s agenda to stymie any growth of hareidi areas. In my neighborhood alone, there are two small public spaces rented to a private a(commercial) kindergarten, school that were once secular or DL are running at ten percent capacity, one large school complex is rented to a private area wide DL highscool, and another is leased to the Airforce, running preparatory high shcool. The Matnassim are run as fiefdoms by patronage appointees, and in my eleven years here, elections to the former were scheduled once, but not held.