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The right to education in Israel is based on a statutory enactment.  Israel does not have a single-document constitution.  In accordance with the Harari Proposal, a Knesset (Israeli Parliament) resolution adopted on June 13, 1950, Israel’s Constitution is made up of chapters, each of which constitutes a separate basic law, and all the chapters together constitute the Constitution of the state.[1]

Twelve basic laws have been adopted since the passage of the Harari Proposal.[2]  The list of basic laws adopted so far does not include a special basic law on education.

One of the earliest adopted laws following the independence of the state, however, was the Compulsory Education Law, 5709-1949.[3]  According to the Law every “child and youth” from age three to seventeen is subject to compulsory education.[4]  Compulsory education is provided over the course of fifteen school years, three of which are at preschool for children between the ages of three and five, and the remainder for children in grades one to twelve.[5]

The state is responsible for the provision of free compulsory education under the conditions enumerated by the Law.[6]  The majority of funding for education expenditures comes from the national government and local authorities.[7]  Additional funding is provided by contributions of nonprofit organizations and private entities.[8]

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Prepared by Ruth Levush
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
May 2016


[1] The Constitution: Harari Proposal, The Knesset, http://knesset.gov.il/description/eng/eng_mimshal_hoka.htm#4 (last visited May 13, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/3JRL-NGAC.

[2] See Basic Laws, The Knesset, http://knesset.gov.il/description/eng/eng_mimshal_yesod.htm (last visited May 13, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/M44X-HBCS.

[3] Compulsory Education Law, 5709-1949, Sefer Ha-Hukim 5709 No. 26 p. 287, as amended, up-to-date text available in the Nevo Legal Database, at http://www.nevo.co.il (by subscription), archived at https://perma.cc/ 823U-VXN5.

[4] Id. §§ 1, 2 (definition of “youth” and “child,” respectively).

[5] Id. § 1 (definition of “mandatory education”).

[6] Id. § 7.

[7] In 2011, 78% of the total expenditure on education was provided by public sources, including the central government, local authorities, and nonprofit governmental organizations. Eti Vaissblai, The Education System in Israel – Central Issues Discussed in the Committee for Education, Culture and Sport 15 (Knesset Information and Research Center, Apr. 21, 2013), http://www.knesset.gov.il/mmm/data/pdf/m03160.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/4W7U-6YE3.

[8] Id.