34 Day Care Centers in Haifa – 0 for the Arab Population
One of the conditions set by the Ministry of Education for recognition of a daycare center and receipt of a certificate that permits tuition subsidization for parents, is that there is a permanent structure in which the daycare is run. In the city of Haifa there are currently 34 recognized day care centers certified for subsidized tuition, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and subsidized by the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs. At least 28 of them operate in government-owned structures or those allocated by the municipality – and all of them are operated in linguistic and cultural accordance with the Jewish population. To date, the municipality has not allocated a single building to operate as a recognized and subsidized daycare center for the Arab population in the city – utterly incongruent to the relative share of the Arab population in Haifa and despite the great need and public demand for this service: Arab society constitutes over 11.5% of Haifa's population, and approximately 18% of toddlers aged 0-3.
On February 10, 2022, we appealed to the Mayor of Haifa demanding the allocation of buildings, and that a request be submitted to the Ministry of Welfare for construction budgets toward toddler daycare centers for the city’s Arab population. Attorney Reut Shaer, Unit Director of ACRI’s Public Hotline, noted that the complete absence of supervised settings for Arab toddlers violates the fundamental rights of Arab parents and toddlers to equality and the equitable allocation of resources and budgets. On a practical level, the lack of access to recognized and subsidized daycare centers imposes additional hefty costs on Arab households, which are compelled to turn to expensive private day care centers, creating an obstacle for parents – especially mothers – engaged in the labor market. This further violates Arab toddlers’ right to an equal and high-quality education early in their lives, which is critical to their development.