Israel's social protest leaders renewed their battle for free education in Israel from the age of three, calling for the implementation of legislation dating back to 1984, which has been stalled despite Trajtenberg Committee's
recommendations published in September.
In a letter written by four Israeli Nobel Prize laureates, four Israel
Prize in Education recipients, eight former education ministers, one former president and the housing protest leaders, they demand of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
to finally step up and carry through on a long lost recommendation.
"Today Israel ranks very low as far as investment in education compared with other OECD
countries, and this is mostly because this law, which is suppose to promise equal opportunity to every child, was overlooked," the social leaders wrote.
Shechtman receives award from Swedish King (Photo: AP)
The letter was signed by Nobel Prize
laureate in Chemistry for 2011 Dan Shechtman,
and by previous winners of the coveted award: Professor Aaron Ciechanover, Prof. Avram Hershko and Prof. Daniel Kahneman. All of Israel's former education ministers who are still living also joined the initiative, excluding the current education minister. Former President Yitzhak Navon and Israel Prize laureate for Education Dov Lautman.
The housing protest leaders, Daphni Leef, Stav Shafir and Itzik Shmuli signed the letter as well.
The law was legislated in 1984 but was piled under the Arrangements Bill from 1985 until 2008 on the pretext of a lack of financial sources to fund it. Since 2009, it is partially implemented as only 30% of students enjoy it today, mainly in the periphery. In addition, the committee will recommend gradually implementing a long school day.
"We call on you to do justice by the most delayed law in the history of the Knesset, which has been put off and deferred time and time again due to the Arrangements Bill," they wrote to Netanyahu.
"Only a few of the committee's recommendation have been adopted so far, and far worse – the government has yet to make a decision regarding one of the most critical recommendation in the report – free education
from the age of three."