Chareidi chinuch in Jerusalem is continuing in its status as
the clear majority of Jewish education in the city for the
coming school year, kein yirbu. All in all, this
forthcoming school year (5762), 77,814 students will study in
the chareidi school system compared to 65,265 students in the
Jewish part of the general school system. There are 32,736 in
East Jerusalem's system. The total number of students in the
entire city is 175,000.
At a press conference held this past Monday (8 Elul) in the
Jerusalem municipality, the following information was
presented: This year, 16,212 children will attend chareidi
kindergartens -- 593 more than last year. 40,200 students will
study in chareidi elementary schools -- 1,982 more last year.
20,245 students will study in chareidi high schools -- 1,228
more than the previous year, and 1,157 in chareidi special
education schools -- 58 more than last year.
All in all, this year 3888 more children have joined the ranks
of the chareidi education system. The general system dropped
from 66,481 to 65,265. At the same time, there was an increase
of 600 students in the Arab sector. Today, the chareidi sector
comprises 47 percent of the entire educational system.
During the past five years the chareidi school system has
increased by 10,000 students, a tremendous growth which
reflects the revolution taking place in the city during the
past few years, alongside the decrease of the amount of
students in the secular system and the closing of secular
As a result of this increase, this year the municipality will
allot larger sums, totaling NIS 24 million, for physical
improvements in the chareidi educational system, as follows:
NIS 4 million for mobile structures, NIS 2.5 million for
preparing structures to serve as schools, NIS 3.5 million for
equipping new classrooms, NIS 8.5 million for renovations, NIS
6 million for the elimination of safety problems.
At the press conference, Mayor Olmert said: "Even though 1200
classrooms are lacking in chareidi institutions in Jerusalem,
the municipality is making tremendous efforts to solve many
problems. I made a tour a few days ago in a number of the
buildings, and I determined that there truly is a shortage of
1200 classrooms. We won't stop until we have solved the
problem. There is no way to justify the fact that tens of
thousands of students in the chareidi system study in mobile
structures and buildings which were not intended to serve as
schools, while the students in the other sectors learn in
regular educational buildings."
Olmert added that for many years no schools were built for the
chareidi sector, and many of its schools are situated in unfit
structures. "The municipality is responsible for these
problems, and the government doesn't help in this area, nor in
the area of the transportation of students to distant
neighborhoods which is very costly for the municipality. Some
schools opened a number of days ago, and others will begin in
a few more days. I hope that we will solve as many problems as
possible by then."
Many boys' chadorim have been open for two weeks,
though the girls and the entire general system are scheduled
to open on September 2.
Mayor Olmert cited the example of a school for girls with 1300
students, who are studying in 25 double-sized mobile units.
"During recent years, the system and the parents paid the rent
for the structures, while that amount could have been used to
build a new school. This is just one example of the
difficulties with which we are forced to contend," he said.
"However, this past year four new schools were built for the
chareidi sector, containing dozens of classrooms."
Olmert praised the efforts of the Chareidi Education
Department in the municipality, headed by Rabbi Moshe
Mordechai Cohen and Rabbi Binyamin Cohen and noted that the
chareidi educational system in Jerusalem is larger than the
entire educational system of Tel Aviv, yet the municipal
department in Jerusalem functions far more efficiently and
with fewer employees.
An information leaflet distributed at the press conference,
notes that due the increase in the awareness of the need for
special education in the chareidi sector, the result of the
efforts of the Chareidi Education Department, 200 students
were placed in special schools this year and the acceptance of
50 other children into such schools is under consideration.
This year, the Chareidi Education Department will launch a
special road safety program. Olmert in his remarks related to
that problem and said: "If we would build schools to suit the
needs of the chareidi sector, the students wouldn't have to
travel long distances, and accidents would be prevented. Such
a situation doesn't exist in other educational systems. In
Ramot alone, every day 9000 students must be transported to
schools in distant neighborhoods. Due to the geographic
scattering of the students and the institutions in the city,
the Chareidi Educational Department received NIS 1.6 million,
the municipality's share in subsidizing 50 percent of the cost
of the bus tickets of students from families in need of such
help. These tickets will be transferred to parents through the