School Uniforms in Israel

According to former Education Minister Limor Livnat, about 1,400 Israeli public schools require pupils to wear uniforms.

School uniforms used to be the norm in the state's early days, but have since fallen out of favour. However, in recent years, the number of schools using school uniforms has been increasing once more. Many teachers, parents and students are in favour of returning the school uniform to common use to prevent the deepening of the gap between affluent children and those less well-off. Nowadays school uniforms are mainly associated with "national religious" schools within the Israeli system of education. Schools for Arab citizens of Israel also frequently require uniforms: for girls, it is often a pinafore to be worn over trousers and shirt.

In the Haredi or ultra-Orthodox school system, uniforms are compulsory in essentially all girls' schools. In the vast majority of these, the style adopted by the Beit Ya'akov network is used: a sky-blue, button-down, open-collar, loose-fitting blouse with an Oxford-blue, pleated skirt which comes to just below the knee and dark stockings. In cold weather, a Yale-blue sweater may be added. A small fraction of schools alter the color scheme to pink and burgundy, while otherwise retaining the same overall appearance. In boys' schools there is usually not an identifiable school uniform, distinct from what is considered acceptable for ordinary street wear. However, the standards of acceptable street wear for boys and men in Haredi communities are so precise and exacting that in almost all cases all of the boys in a particular school will be dressed identically.

In non-Haredi schools today, school uniforms in Israel consist only of a shirt with the school logo. In the summer, the uniform shirt is a simple T-shirt, while in the winter, the shirts worn are warm or hooded sweaters. Although the shirts are uniform, they usually come in various colours, and allow students to customise and express themselves even while wearing a uniform. The shirts sell for a very small amount of money, so that even the less well-off can acquire them.

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