One council, two camps, a NIS 500 difference: Parents in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevaseret Zion who registered their children for the local council’s camps recently found that a longer camp existed, meant for the religious public, and cheaper by hundreds of shekels.
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Parents of elementary school students were invited by the local council to register to for the camp "Colors,” which will begin on 1 July and end on the 21st of the month. They were required to pay NIS 1,500 ($412). Then they discovered the equivalent camp "Shades," also run by the council and intended for the religious public, costs only NIS 1,000 ($275) and lasts four days longer.
"Lately they were pressuring us to register for the camp, saying that otherwise there would not be space," said Liat, a mother of two children in the community. "Now we hear about Camp ‘Shades’ costs less. This is really absurd, the two camps are run by the council. They let the parents register their children in the expensive camp, and now they have a cheaper which will last more days. Both camps operate inside two schools which are side-by-side. This is discrimination, which is simply outrageous. I could save almost NIS 1,000 on a summer camp."
According to other parents who enrolled their children in the more expensive camp, the program of the two programs are the same. "Five hundred per child is a considerable amount, even if you go one less day to the pool or you do not visit an amusement park," said the mother of a child in the ‘Shalom’ school in Mevaseret. "They should have left us the alternative and not designated the cheaper camp as being only for the religious community."
According to the local education department, "Shades camp is organized yearly by council member Ronen Avraham and partly subsidized by the council. "This is a small part, I do not know what percentage is actually subsidized," said an employee.
The local council said that "next year we'll work to offer both the religious public and secular camps at varied expense levels. Even so, they claimed, this is an "existing discrimination that is being fixed and not a new creation.
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