As early as the 1960s, the struggle for equality and narrowing gaps in the education system has been one of the most widely discussed subjects in Israeli educational discourse. In recent years, the Ministry of Education has had to contend with issues that have had a direct or indirect impact on the realization of equality in education, and in all cases it has chosen to address them in ways that reflect a tendency to cancel, reduce or slow down equality-promoting policies that had been pursued in previous administrations. This chapter examines these developments and their consequences as test cases of the system’s willingness to actually invest in reducing educational gaps. The measures that will be reviewed in this chapter are: (1) the return to the weighted pupil formula in primary and lower secondary schools; (2) implementation of the Compulsory Education Law for Ages 3-4 and the decision to add a second assistant in the preschools for these children; (3) implementation of the government decision to reduce class size; (4) the toughening of budgetary policy towards the recognized but unofficial schools, as reflected in the conflict involving the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa and the Christian schools.
This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, State of the Nation Report 2015, Dov Chernichovsky and Avi Weiss (editors).