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Expat Exchange - Educational System in Israel
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Educational System in Israel

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: The one tip that you hear expats living in Israel repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Israel. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Israel is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Israel.

Living in Israel - Educational System in Israel

Israel's education system is known for its high standards and commitment to fostering intellectual curiosity and innovation. The system is divided into several stages, each designed to cater to the unique developmental needs of students at different ages. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive understanding of the Israeli education system, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language requirements, availability of bilingual schools, types of private schools, costs, and alternatives such as homeschooling and online schooling.

What are the main stages of education in Israel?

The Israeli education system is divided into four main stages: Pre-primary education (ages 3-5), primary education (grades 1-6), middle school (grades 7-9), and high school (grades 10-12). Each stage focuses on different areas of learning and development, ensuring a well-rounded education for all students.

Pre-primary Education

Pre-primary education in Israel is for children aged 3-5. It focuses on the child's overall development, including social, emotional, cognitive, and physical aspects. The curriculum includes activities that promote creativity, curiosity, and a love for learning. Attendance at this stage is not mandatory but highly recommended.

Primary Education

Primary education in Israel spans grades 1-6, typically for children aged 6-12. The curriculum includes subjects like Hebrew, mathematics, science, social studies, English, arts, and physical education. The focus is on building a strong foundation in these core subjects.

Middle School

Middle school in Israel covers grades 7-9, typically for students aged 12-15. The curriculum expands on the subjects taught in primary school, with an increased focus on critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

High School

High school in Israel spans grades 10-12, typically for students aged 15-18. Students can choose from a variety of academic and vocational tracks based on their interests and career goals. The final years of high school are crucial as students prepare for the Bagrut, the national matriculation exam.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

Newcomers can enroll their children in Israeli schools by contacting the local municipality or the Ministry of Education. They will need to provide documents such as the child's birth certificate, passport, and proof of residence. It's recommended to start the process as early as possible due to high demand in some areas.

Can children still learning Hebrew enroll in a public school?

Yes, children who are still learning Hebrew can enroll in public schools in Israel. Many schools offer Hebrew as a Second Language (HSL) programs to help non-native speakers catch up with their peers.

Are there public bilingual schools in Israel?

Yes, there are several public bilingual schools in Israel where instruction is given in both Hebrew and Arabic. These schools aim to promote coexistence and mutual understanding between Jewish and Arab citizens. Admission procedures vary by school, so it's best to contact the school directly for information.

What types of private schools are common in Israel?

Private schools in Israel include religious schools, international schools, and bilingual schools. Religious schools cater to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim students, while international schools follow various curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the American curriculum. Bilingual schools offer instruction in both Hebrew and another language, often English.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Expats in Israel choose between public and private schools based on their personal preferences, financial situation, and the specific needs of their children. Some prefer private schools for their smaller class sizes and international curricula, while others choose public schools for their affordability and immersion in Israeli culture.

How expensive are Private schools in Israel?

The cost of private schools in Israel varies widely depending on the school and the specific program. Tuition can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of shekels per year. It's best to contact the school directly for accurate information.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Israel?

Yes, homeschooling is legal in Israel, but it requires approval from the Ministry of Education. Parents must demonstrate that they can provide a suitable learning environment and curriculum for their child.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Israel?

Yes, online schooling is an option in Israel, especially in light of the recent global shift towards remote learning. However, it's important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the curriculum meets the requirements of the Israeli education system.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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