Israel Approves Funds for Free Early Childhood Education

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved changes to the 2012 budget, including funding to support free early childhood education and afternoon daycare.

The plan was approved by a vote of 21 to 8, according to a text message sent today by the prime minister’s office. It makes education free for children from the age of 3, instead of 5. “We are not breaking the budget framework,” Netanyahu said today in an earlier statement.

Netanyahu has been under pressure to increase spending for education and social welfare following demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of Israelis this summer against the high cost of living. The premier appointed a committee led by Manuel Trajtenberg that recommended trimming defense spending and increasing benefits for families with small children.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alisa Odenheimer in Jerusalem at aodenheimer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.