Daycare budget discrimination in Arab localities
On 31.7.2019, ACRI appealed to the Minister of Social Affairs and the Prime Minister demanding the repeal of procedures and government decisions regarding allotting supervised and subsidized daycares. The existing procedures create an arbitrary and discriminatory allocation mechanism, and do not correct the severe and ongoing shortage of daycares among Arab communities.
In the appeal, Reut Sha'ar of ACRI's legal department presented data indicating the gaps. Accordingly, as of 2016, 92% of households whose children partake in supervised and subsidized day care are Jewish, and only 8% are Arab. In some large Arab communities, such as Fureidis, Sheikh Danon, Kafr Qasem, and Taybeh, there are no supervised daycares at all. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Social Affairs' practice currently allocates 75% of the budget to establish new daycares in Jewish localities, and only 25% among all Arab localities.
In the appeal, ACRI also objected to the Ministry of Social Affairs' procedures that establish a budget allocation mechanism based on the principle of "first come first served," which harms weaker authorities that have difficulty submitting applications that meet the Ministry's threshold conditions due to planning restrictions and other obstacles. We demanded that the allocation of budgets be carried out according to relevant criteria, which reflect the need for and shortage of daycares in each locality. We further claimed that priority given to "first precedence" in distributing the budget to the Gaza envelope and to three Jewish communities on the northern border should be annulled, as it was determined arbitrarily and unreasonably, irrespective of the shortage of daycares in these localities. We also addressed the impact of daycare shortages on poverty in Arab society for the children of working parents, and on women's ability to integrate into the labor market.
In response to our request, the appointee of the Ministry of Social Affairs claimed that significant and satisfactory efforts are being made to increase the supply of supervised daycares among Arab localities, and that the budget designated for the Arab population is not being utilized by the Arab authorities, who refrain from submitting requests for the construction of daycare facilities in their field, for undisclosed reasons. Regarding granting preference to localities surrounding Gaza and along the northern border – the appointee referred to the government decisions mentioned in the appeal and the rationale indicated.
ACRI appeal to the Ministry of Social Affairs (Hebrew), 31.7.2019
Ministry of Social Affairs' reply (Hebrew), 14.8.2019