The Big Felafel

Guide to Childcare in Israel and 15 questions every parent should ask

If there is one thing harder than birth, we would say it is trying to register your child for day care. Unlike the birthing process, there’s no Lamaze class to teach you breathing techniques as you try to register your child for day care in Israel.

But lucky for our readers, you can learn through our mistakes and questions as we  navigate the childcare system in Israel. And let us say right off the bat, that we encourage and beg you to add info in the comments section in order to help the new parent community.

It is barely spring, but according to Israel you need to secure a place for your child for the fall. You must sign up before spaces fill up, and that means that even if you don’t know what part of town, or even what part of the country you are living in, well that’s too bad.

Check out our guide below that explains the different types of daycare options in Israel.

Public/Government Run Childcare:

Maon (Daycare)

Definition: This is large-scale daycare run by various organizations (usually women’s organizations).  The government supervises and dictates policy.  You must register for these and be accepted (registration starts April 27, 2011). Full-time working mothers have top priority.


  • 3-15 months: 1 adult for every 6 children, maximum 15 in a group.
  • 15 months – 2 years: 1:9 ratio,  maximum 23 in a group
  • 2-3 years: 1:11 ratio, maximum 27 in a group

Opening Hours:

  • Sunday-Thursday: 7:00am-4:00pm (though some go as late as 5:00pm)
  • Friday: 7:00 am-1:00pm
  • Holidays:  Government policy: three weeks in August (of which you pay a full month’s worth of tuition), a week before Pesach and the whole holiday, the other major Jewish holidays and the week of Sukkot.

Prices: NIS1550- NIS 2050, scale-based subsides payments based on household salaries and siblings

What is included: Food (and sometimes sheets)

What you need to bring: diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, (sheet for the bed)

Maons in Jerusalem:

Mishpachton (pre-nursery in someone’s home)

Definition: This is daycare that is run out of a private home.  The government supervises and dictates policy.  There can be a maximum of 5 children (without getting special permission for more)  and  no more than 2 children under the age of one.  If there are more children an additional caregiver must be present.

Hours and Holidays:

  • 6 Day a week Mishpachton: Sun-Thur 7:00am-4:00pm, Fri: 7:00am-12:00pm
  • 5 Day a week Mishpachton: Sun-Thur 7:00am-4:30pm or 7:30am-5:00pm (although some places are only until 4:00pm)
  • Holidays: They must abide by the government set holiday schedule.  This includes taking off three weeks in August (of which you pay a full month’s worth of tuition), a week before Pesach and the whole holiday, the other major Jewish holidays and the week of Sukkot.

Prices: More or less the same price as a Maon, approximately NIS 1550, scale-based subsides payments based on household salaries and siblings.

What is included: Food

What you need to bring: diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, sheet for the bed

Private Daycare:

Mishpachton (pre-nursery)

Definition: Private daycare. Generally smaller groups of babies ranging from three-months to one-and-a-half. There are anywhere from three to fourteen kids in these groups.  There is no government supervision and therefore no maximum ratio of children to adults.  Be sure to check what each one’s policy is.

Opening Hours:

  • 7:00am, 7:30am or 8am- 3:45pm, 4:00pm or 4:30pm, generally 5-days a week
  • Holidays: They work more or less under the same holiday time frame as public daycare, however they are allowed to make their own holiday schedule, so make sure they let you know in advance. This includes taking off three weeks in August (of which you pay a full month’s worth of tuition), a week before Pesach and the whole holiday, the other major Jewish holidays and the week of Sukkot).

Prices: Tend to be more expensive, ranging from NIS 1900 to NIS 2400

What is included: Food

What you need to bring: diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, sheet for the bed

Metapelet  (in-home babysitter):

Definition: This is someone you bring to your house to babysit full time.  You may also split the cost with a friend and then switch off days at each other’s houses.

Hours:  You make your own hours.

Holidays:  This depends on your metapelet, discuss the topic before hiring.

Price: Expensive..??????????NIS

What is included: Nothing.  Your metapelet may agree to prepare food  if you provide her with the ingredients


More Helpful Definitions:

  • Peuton (Nursery School) For kids ranging from age one to two-and-a-half.
  • Tzaharon (Afternoon Childcare) When a child is older, between the ages of five-12-years-old (separated by age), they will go to free day care called gan chova which is until 1:00pm. For additional payment, you can keep your child in daycare until 4:00pm.
  • Gan: 8-4:00; 3-5 years old; 813 shekels a month 2011; You can see the cut off dates on the Jerusalem municipal website. Prices can run anywhere from 70 NIS(Iriyah with all the discounts) to 800 NIS for private..
  • Gan Chova (compulsory kindergarten for 5 year olds) You can see the cut off dates on the Jerusalem municipal website.


15 Questions every parent should ask before enrolling their child in childcare:

  1. Did you go check out the place in person, at least once?
  2. Is there a contract?
  3. Does the daycare operate according to governmental law?
  4. What if the metapelet/ganenet is sick? Is there a replacement?
  5. What if your child is sick? Are you allowed to bring them?
  6. Food – breakfast, lunch, and snack, is it included or do you bring your own?
  7. Vacations / Holidays / Summer:  Are they around in August? Jewish holidays chol hamoed?
  8. What are the hours? If there are only morning hours, is there somewhere close by that they can go for afternoon hours?
  9. Price
  10. Child to Adult ratio
  11. What ages do they accept?
  12. What are payment options?
  13. What are the areas where babies play, including outdoors and where do they sleep?
  14. Ask the metapelet about her background?
  15. Ask for other parents’ phone numbers for recommendations

For Jerusalemites:

For questions and for a list of kindergartens, call the below phone numbers according to the area where you live in Jerusalem

Area 1: Neve Yaakov, Pisgat Ze’ev, Givat Shapira, Kiryat Yovel, Yafe Nof, Ramat Beit Hakerem, Ramot Eshkol, Malcha, Bayit Vegan, Ma’alot Dafna, Ramot, Ramat Shlomo
Tel: 02 629 6768
Fax: 026296599

Area 2: Ein Karem, Ir Ganim, Kiryat Menachem, Kiryat Sarah/Derech Hebron, Givat Mesua, Gilo, Homat Shmuel, Talpiot Havitikah, Baka, Talpiot Mizrach, Mekor Chaim
Tel: 026296767
Fax: 026295897

Area 3: Merkaz Ha’ir, Rehavia, Givat Mordechai, Nayot, Givat Havrodim, Katamonim, Pat, Gonen havitikah, Talpiot, Ramat Sharet, Kiryat Moshe,  Kiryat Wolfson, Nachlaot, Moshava Germanit, Harova Hayehudi, Har NOf, Givat Shaul, Arlozorov, Beit Shmuel, Ir David, Arnona
Tel: 026296769
Fax: 026296582

Here’s a list of Metapelets in Jerusalem that I found during my search:

Metapelet Location Contact info Info
Talia Emek Refaim 077-535-3104 Babies, private, NIS 2200
Yardana 4 Mekor Haim 054-697-4936 Private, 4 children from babies to 2-year-old (her son), English speaker, NIS 1300 part time
Evelyn Cohen 6 Rut St. 02-566-3823 7:30am-4pm, private, age range varies, NIS 1300 part time, no food
Odelyia 12 HaLamed Hay 054-336-6271 7:30am-4pm, 5 days, food included, NIS 2300 and NIS 500 registration fee, babies, private
Panina 4 Kline 02-561-2111 (secretary, pricing) 7:00am-4pm, private, by hour, day, weekly, expensive, ages range from 3months-3 years
Miriam HaRakevet 02-671-2775 Older children 2+, private
Levana 4 Ben Yafuna 077-767-1448 Older Children 2+, private
Sigal 9 Magal Yavnae 052-460-0490 Private, around 4 babies
Dafna 11 Nakdamon 054-637-8343 Babies to 1.5, around 14 kids, NIS 1900 7am-3:45pm 5 days, private
Sara H. 34 Efrata 02-672-2461 Namat, maon
Tamar Levy 17 Elazar HaModi 02-566-0461 Namat, maon
Sara H. (same) Yehuda 16 02-671-6848 Namat, maon
Shula 141 Rehavim 02-678-3808 Wizo, maon

Have a recommendation or advice, please post them here to help others!


Special Thanks to Elkie for all her help!!!

[photo credit: Anthony J on Flickr]


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Kelli Brown says:

    This is so helpful! I only wish I had it a couple years ago when we were searching…
    Thanks for spelling it all out in one post. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 12 years ago
  2. * anna says:

    Thank you for all the information.
    I am right now looking for a mishpachton in Katamon or Talpiot area and don’t know where I can get adresses and a free place in the middle of the year ?

    | Reply Posted 12 years ago
  3. * Yael says:

    Wow, Tel Aviv Metapelet is so much more expensive.
    Many times a metapelet does everything to do with the baby, meaning preparing the food and also the baby’s laundry, so best check that.
    When going to check the mihspachton/maon, always also check the bathroom and if you get a chance, lie on the floor, pretending to play and see how dusty it is.
    If it is important to you, ask about what the kids are being fed and what is the TV policy.
    Another thing – is there a fine to pay if you leave in the middle of the year.
    Since am doing my own checking now, will update if I find out anything else.

    | Reply Posted 12 years ago
  4. * Marion Rosen says:

    You’ve got a few errors.
    1. Middle group in maon can have up to 28 kids. Oldest group can have up to 32/33. Meonot can also get permission to have up to 19. Obviously they also have to take on extra staff.

    2. Your maon list is incomplete. There’s a Na’amat in Har Hotzvim (impossible to get into!). Also an Emuna just off Shai Agnon (San Simon). There’s a complete listing on the TAMAT website (the government office responsible for supervising the daycares). Yes, it’s in Hebrew.

    3. Maon is NOT closed the week before Pesach. Usually the work right up to erev chag (not inclusive), though this year and last they’ve taken off the day before as well, and maon has been open on 9 Av instead.

    4. Emunah meonot are off on 9 Av and make up the day afterwards.

    5. Chabad meonot, as well as “migzar hacharedi” have a different schedule entirely (they start before September 1st, don’t take a day off on Chanukah, DON’T work at all on chol hamoed Sukkot.

    6. Gan is NOT 8-4 (unless you’re referring to a private “gan”, meaning daycare). City gan opens at 7:30; kids need to arrive by 8:30, and pickup is 1:30. Tzaharon runs from 1:30-4:30 (official, TAMAT tzaharon). Private tzaharon may have different hours. TAMAT tzaharon also runs full days (8-4) during chol hamoed Sukkot, Chanukah, Isru Chag (all of them), lag b’omer…and the first week of the Pesach break.

    | Reply Posted 12 years ago
  5. * Jacob Cohen says:

    I want to bring my 7 month old on a vacation with my wife and I. We are interested in daycare for 3-4 days out of 9 day vacation (end of august). Do any of the day cares accept drop offs for the day?

    | Reply Posted 12 years ago
  6. * Marion Rosen says:

    Jacob Cohen (#5):
    There is NO daycare at the end of August. (And if there was, most places do NOT do drop offs.)

    | Reply Posted 12 years ago
  7. * Diana says:

    For those looking for an affordable Anglo (English spoken) daycare, please check out We are located in Ramat Gan in the Maron Neve area. This is a family daycare and it is located in my home. Please feel free to Contact me by phone at 052-669-5552 or my email at Best of luck!

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 7 months ago
  8. * Elisheva B says:

    It’s always good to ask if the staff has had infant/child CPR training. Most of the mishpactons that I talked to did not. The staff at the maon where we signed up our kids did have the training.

    It is a one evening class for 10NIS at Tipat Chalav. No reason all staff (and parents) shouldn’t take the class.

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 3 months ago
  9. * Jason says:

    When you give the prices, is that per week, per month or per year?

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
    • * Rebecca says:

      Prices are per month.

      | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago
  10. * Shari says:

    If you are looking for an english speaking Mishpachton in herzlia, Please contact me Shari

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 6 months ago
  11. * pushpam says:

    I am looking for a daycare for my 11 month daughter who can speak in english to her. Can anyone help me.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago
  12. * Shari says:

    English/Hebrew speaking daycare, for anyone interested in Herzlia. It is in a private home with a garden. Feel free to contact me by phone at 09-9559032. From 3 months.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 7 months ago
  13. * Ziva Hirsch says:

    English speaking mishpachton (daycare, preschool, gan, nursery) in Central Tel Aviv on Rothschild. We have spaces open for May 2014 if anyone needs childcare for kids 0 – 3.5 please contact us!
    Call us: 058-4638522

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 12 months ago
  14. * pushpam says:

    I live in kriyat hayovel, jerusalem and am a student in hebrew university. I am looking for a english speaking daycare for my daughter who is 2.8 yrs old.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 7 months ago

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