After a long battle to make the work conditions and benefits of teachers' assistants (who are overwhelmingly female) in the Haredi education system equal to those of teachers' assistants working in the public system, Itach-Maaki received a precedent-setting decision in the Jerusalem labor court last week, as follows:
The teachers' assistants employed via "Agudat Yisrael" (an association operating educational institutions in the Haredi community and funded by the Ministry of Education) have the right to conditions equal to those employed in standard public schools. This decision is significant for two reasons:
· This decision has the potential to bring about a change for thousands of teachers' assistants employed by associations by making their employment conditions equal to those employed directly by the regional/municipal authorities.
· The decision promotes the definition of teachers' assistants as "education employees" by rejecting Agudat Yisrael's claim that only teachers are "education employees."
Furthermore, the decision is very significant for the teachers' assistants who were claimants in the case, not only because it recognizes their right to receive salaries year-round, like other education employees (instead of being paid only for the time that school is in session), but also for the legitimacy it gives to their battle for rights. One of the leaders of the battle, an ultrra-Orthodox teaching assistant named Rivka, paid a significant price for her activism on this issue--she was fired from her job. Itach-Maaki reports that upon learning of the court decision, she described a feeling of victory and legitimacy.
The following is a link to an article on the decision in the daily Haaretz newspaper (in Hebrew): http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/education/.premium-1.2029446