Israel’s after school programming, that is a service provided to children from daycare until 2nd grade was under threat of not taking place next year due to the renewal of Israeli elections. The programming, which is heavily subsidized by the government across the country, had not yet had their yearly budget passed before the second round of national elections were called. Thus, the Treasury had declared that they were not willing to allow the interim government to pass the budget for this programming as it did not have sufficient authority to do so.
The Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said clearly that the interim government does have enough legal precedent to pass this budget as it was a program that already existed in previous years. However, there was a discrepancy with regards to the size of the budget needed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Treasury Minister Moshe Kahlon took to Twitter on Wednesday and announced that they had found a source for the money in question and that they have thus solved the crisis. “We have good news for Israeli parents,” began Netanyahu in a video published by the two together. “The Treasury Minister and I have found a solution to the problem of subsidizing the after school programming for Israeli children. At the beginning of the school year in September, there will be after school programming.”
Kahlon added: “This was indeed a challenge, but we found a source for the additional finances needed. There will be after school programming this coming year and in the years to come. We will continue to care for the children of Israel according to their needs.”
Kahlon is expected to bring before the government on Sunday a financial package to be ratified that would include financing for the after school programming as well as a plan to deal with the increasing deficit in the Israeli budget.
The subsidies provided by the government follow a rising scale. In towns that are listed as more financially sound the government gives less of a subsidy for after school programming (around 150 nis per child per month). In cities less financially stable the government offers larger subsidy (close to 600 nis per child per month). These subsidies are in place to offset the cost of the after school programming which can otherwise b prohibitive for some parents.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)