For children who prefer vacation days to school days, Israel is one of the best places in the world to live; not so much for their parents. Students get seven times more days off than their parents do, according to data gathered by Channel Two.
The Israeli state school system provides students with 80 days off a year other than Shabbosos and Yamim Tovim – compared to the average 12 days of vacation for parents of those students, according to the Channel Two report, based on data culled from the Education Ministry, Labor Ministry and Central Bureau of Statistics. That means that children – from kindergarten age and up – are left to their own devices for 68 days a year. Or, if parents do not wish to leave them alone, with bills for camps, babysitters, vacation programs, and other activities to occupy them while their parents are at work.
Data from other countries indicate that Israel is near the top in the number of these “unattended” days. In Australia, for example, students get 57 days off a year, compared to 20 days off for parents – a total of 37 extra days. In the Czech Republic, there is a “gap”of 34 days, and in Denmark there are 30 days unaccounted for. The only country with a larger gap is Latvia, where students get 71 more days off than their parents.
The report quoted parents who said that they had a very difficult time finding ways to keep their children busy on those “gap days.” Many said they could not opt for babysitters or minders to stay with their children while they were at work, while others said that children without a framework of activities tended to get into trouble – either at home or outdoors.
Channel Two said that it had sought comments from the various ministries, but none have been forthcoming as yet. Reporters said they intended to follow up on the matter.