Prof. Rivka Lazovsky
Prof. Rivka Lazovsky Photo by Eli Dasa
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Ten days before the end of registration for state-subsidized day-care centers next year, the chair of the World WIZO Executive says parents are beating down the door to sign up their kids.

World WIZO Executive chairwoman Prof. Rivka Lazovsky says demand at WIZO day-care centers for children up to 3 years old is up significantly this year and only one in three applicants can be accepted.

"Parents are banging on the doors," Lazovsky said. "We're at the height of registration and we've never had so many people applying. The shortage of places is not only in Tel Aviv, it's throughout Israel."

Lazovsky says the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry's plan to build 600 new early-childhood centers within five years, with capacity for an additional 30,000 to 50,000 children, is simply insufficient. There are currently 120,000 children in state-supervised, government-subsidized day-care centers. Given that Israel today has 430,000 children who are 3 years old or younger, even the most optimistic figure of 170,000 places in subsidized day-care still leaves 260,000 who are cared for at home or in privately run centers.

Private day-care centers cost NIS 3,000 a month or more, compared to NIS 1,500 to NIS 2,000 at subsidized centers. "The solutions have to be more comprehensive and more immediate," Lazovsky said. "It is unacceptable to offer subsidized day-care to only part of the population. Families with income of more than NIS 5,500 per person per month do not meet the criteria for the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry's day-care facilities, and that hurts the middle class that justifiably has been going out onto the streets in protest," she said.

World WIZO operates around 180 day-care centers in Israel, as well as a number of schools and youth villages around the country. The philanthropic organization also has two shelters for battered women in Israel, and is active on several fronts to promote women's rights.