The Treasury is planning to cut as much as a billion shekels from the budget of Israel’s schools, Channel Ten reported Wednesday night – a cut that Education Minister Naftali Bennett declared would not take place. “Not one teacher will be fired because of budget cuts,” Bennett said. “This is a red line that I will not allow to be crossed.”
Bennett was joined in his indignation by Yossi Wasserman, chairman of the Israel Teachers Union. “Under no conditions will we accept these firings. The educational systems need to be supported, not hampered by cuts and dismissals.”
The Finance Ministry disagrees, according to the Channel Ten report. Half the proposed billion shekel cut will be made by eliminating one hour of class time across the board, in every grade and program. The other half will be made by the Education Ministry, in any way that it wishes. The reduction in hours could cost 3,000 teachers their jobs, said the report.
Especially hard hit by the plan will be youth programs in the periphery, and programs that affect school dropouts, Channel Ten said. The new edicts come after the Treasury had already announced a cut of NIS 100 million in funding for higher education.