More than 240 children of migrant workers and asylum seekers will be able to stay in the new day care center of the municipality, which will open its doors at the beginning of January.


“We will be able to go to work with the feeling that our children are in good hands,” said Claudine from Eritrea. The cost of the establishment was 14 million shekel.

At the beginning of January, a municipal day care center will open its doors, destined for the children of work migrants and asylum seekers with the aim of putting an end finally to the phenomenon of the baby warehouses, where seven infants died in the past months. On Wednesday morning, the children, their parents and the carers as well as the team running the day care center met for the first time for a preparatory meeting.

The day care center opens in conformity with a government decision, initiated by the Tel Aviv municipality, to give a humanitarian response to the hundreds of children who spend the day in the baby warehouses – structures that are characterized by overcrowding and without suitable condition.

The project is estimated to cost 14 million shekels. The municipality is also looking for other buildings in which it can establish more day care centers. The day care center which will open its doors at the beginning of January is situated on HaGera Street, near Newe Shaanan Street and the new central bus station. There the plan is to accommodate more than 240 children, aged 3 months to 3 years, after which age they will be integrated into the regular municipal kindergarten system.

The day care center will be administered by the social action association “Unitaf”, which runs after school programs for those without status. In the center there will be eight classrooms. As the parents of the children are employed for long hours each day, the day care center will be open from 7 until 18.00 and on Fridays and the eve of holidays from 7 to 15.00.

Maharat Baruch-Ron, responsible for the social welfare portfolio in the Tel Aviv municipality, said in an interview with YNET that all the various departments in the municipality worked together in order to make sure that this unique day care center would open. “Today we have a situation of the Wild West, each one trying to survive in his or her own structure and each one does what he or she can. I hope we can indeed help all those in need… The decision to open these day care centers was taken by the government a year ago in response to the Social Welfare Commission in the municipality, after the death of seven babies in a short time. There was a need to find a solution. Quite naturally, when these children will be looked after in the municipal day care, the conditions in these warehouses will also improve until there will be no need anymore for these warehouses.”

Some in the municipality explained that finding the spaces was a challenge because of the careful precautions on the fire department and police but also because of the opposition of residents, however finally the plan was executed.

Claudine, who arrived in Israel from Eritrea four years ago, expects to place her son Sean, one and a half years old, in the day care center.

An article appeared on the YNET site. Read here
N.B. The article uses the word “kindergarten” but what is being established is a day care center for children under the age of 3 and it would be more appropriate to term this “day care”. In addition, the article states that five babies have died in the past few months however the number is seven.

It is important to note: The Church runs nine family units together with Unitaf, which welcome 59 babies daily. Together with other instances in the area, the Church has also been demanding that the authorities establish day care centers under the supervision of the municipality and now welcomes that establishment of a municipal day care. This is the first step in finding a solution for the thousands of infants, children of migrants, in south Tel Aviv.