Israel

   

Social Policies

#25
Key Findings
With significant concerns over equity, Israel falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 25) with respect to social policies. Its score in this area is unchanged relative to 2014.

The education system is split, with greater funding and stronger performances within secular Hebrew-language schools than in Arab-language or ultra-Orthodox institutions. Income inequality is significant, and poverty rates are quite high, with poverty within the Arab minority and ultra-Orthodox community much more common than in the majority Jewish population.

Health care provision is universal and generally of high quality, although budget cuts and staff layoffs have called sustainability into question. Programs offer subsidies for child care up to the age of five, as well as free early childhood education between the ages of three and four. The share of women in the workforce is nearing that of men, but the gender wage gap is very large.

Recent pension reforms have lowered pension fees and made Israeli pensions mandatory for self-employed workers. Integration efforts are primarily directed toward ethnic-Jewish immigrants. A policy addressing illegal migration from Africa relies on detention centers and forced deportations. Internal security is tightly bound up with national defense.

Education

#11

To what extent does education policy deliver high-quality, equitable and efficient education and training?

10
 9

Education policy fully achieves the criteria.
 8
 7
 6


Education policy largely achieves the criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Education policy partially achieves the criteria.
 2
 1

Education policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Education Policy
7
Israel’s average education-attainment levels are high, and the value of education is well established in the community as a whole. The country has a heterogeneous education system. From primary to upper-secondary level, students are generally sorted into one of four primary school streams: three for the Hebrew-speaking community (secular, religious and ultra-orthodox), and one for the Arabic-speaking community (Arab, Druze and Bedouin minorities together). Nevertheless, the different streams are not equal in educational achievement or budget. According to 2018 UNICEF report on inner-country education gaps, Israel has one of the widest gaps between the highest and lowest achieving primary school students among OECD countries.

Surveys indicate that 50.9% of adults (aged 25 to 64) have achieved a tertiary level of education, above the OECD average of 36.9%. Israel spends a little more than 5.8% of its GDP (nearly 11% of the government budget) on education, again higher than the OECD average of 5.2% of GDP. However, expenditure on tertiary education is below the OECD average, at less than 1% of GDP. Two Israeli universities (the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities list produced by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Primary and secondary teachers’ salaries have increased significantly in recent years, and are now well above the national average salary.

However, while the average primary-school class size within the OECD as a whole is 21, the average primary-school class size in Israel is 26.7. This is a much-discussed aspect of the education system, leading to frequent expressions of frustration in the local media, although local research has failed to find significant effects of class size on student achievement. PISA results are also deemed problematic. In the 2015 PISA tests, Israel scored under the OECD average in all fields (science, mathematics and reading), mainly because of low scoring in the Arab-speaking sub-group. Teachers in Israel also score low. In the recent PIAAC (OECD adult skill tests), Israeli teachers’ average score was far below the OECD average. However, Israel is above the OECD average with regard to equity indicators in all fields (boys vs girls, social background, and immigrant students). Moreover, Israel has almost no gender gap in the completion rate of bachelors or equivalent programs.

Despite all the positive progress, Israel still shows gaps in educational performance among sub-groups of the student population. For example, average class sizes in the Hebrew-language school streams are lower than in the Arab stream, despite the 2007 policy reform designed to institute changes across all streams.

There is another significant gap between the ultra-orthodox minority group and the secular majority. In May 2017, the National Council of Higher Education signed a program aimed at extending access to tertiary education within the ultra-orthodox community, setting a goal of increasing the number of tertiary students drawn annually from within this group from 11,500 to 19,000. This program is currently paused as the Israeli Supreme Court examines multiple and conflicting appeals discussing the legality of gender-segregated classrooms, which the ultra-orthodox community requires for participation in the program. Despite this program’s positive goal, it sparked widespread opposition, especially regarding the decision to create gender-segregated tertiary programs in order to make it more accessible to ultra-orthodox men.

Citations:
“Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018,” Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2018.html

Dattel, Lior, “Arab Student Inequality has Decreased – and Achievements Increased,” The Marker, 30.8.17, https://www.themarker.com/news/education/1.4401423 (Hebrew)

Dattel, Lior, “For the First Time: Money will be Transferred from Strong High schools to Weaker Ones,” 26.7.17, https://www.themarker.com/news/education/1.3018236
(Hebrew)

“Education at a Glance 2018: OECD Indicators.” OECD website
https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-glance-2018_eag-2018-en

Isenberg Eli, “Teachers in Israel also fail in comparison to OECD,” Calcalist, 05.06.2018 (Hebrew):
https://www.calcalist.co.il/local/articles/0,7340,L-3739523,00.html

Keder-Ezaria, Shira, “UN: Israel one of the worst children education gaps in the western countries,” Haaretz,29.10.2018(Hebrew):
https://www.haaretz.co.il/news/education/.premium-1.6609119

Levi, Sarah, “‘Half of Israel’s kids getting a Third World education,’” Jerusalem Post, 16.08.2017, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Half-of-Israels-kids-getting-a-Third-World-education-502549

Reut Shafrir, Yossi Shavit and Carmel Blank, “Is Less Really More? On the Relationship between Class Size and Educational Achievement in Israel,” Taub Center for social policy studies in Israel website, 26.12.2016:
http://taubcenter.org.il/class-size-and-educational-achievement/

Taub Center, “The State Current Situation 2017” (Hebrew)
http://taubcenter.org.il/wp-content/files_mf/pon2017hebrew22.pdf

Taversky, David, “Education for the Rich,” Davar1, 27.9.2017,
http://www.davar1.co.il/87212/?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=yeladim2709&utm_campaign=d1

Zerachovitch, Omri, “Supreme Court to the Council for Higher Education: Why are the Ultra-orthodox academic studies gender-separated?,” Globes, 17/01/2018(Hebrew):
https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001220084

Social Inclusion

#39

To what extent does social policy prevent exclusion and decoupling from society?

10
 9

Policies very effectively enable societal inclusion and ensure equal opportunities.
 8
 7
 6


For the most part, policies enable societal inclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 5
 4
 3


For the most part, policies fail to prevent societal exclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 2
 1

Policies exacerbate unequal opportunities and exclusion from society.
Social Inclusion Policy
3
Israel still faces high inequality relative to other OECD countries. As of 2018, Israel ranked 9 out of 35 OECD countries on the basis of inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient. It also has the second-highest relative-income poverty rate within the OECD (18.6%). Additionally, Israel currently has one of the lowest rates of spending on social issues among the OECD countries (16.1% of GDP compared to an OECD average of 21%, 2018).

Israel’s social spending and tax policies create a dissonance between overall moderate growth rates on the one hand and ongoing social polarization on the other. This polarization is reflected in several dimensions, including a persistent gender-based pay gap, significant average wage differences between different sub-groups, and significant inequalities within the elderly population relative to their state before retirement. Differences on the basis of gender and ethnicity are narrowing somewhat, but remain prominent. For example, average income for Israeli-Ethiopians is about half the overall average, and the average income among the Arab population is about two-thirds of the overall average. The poverty rate within the Arab minority group is three times higher than in the Jewish majority group, with a similar rate evident in the ultra-orthodox Jewish group. Given this persistent polarization, it is difficult to identify significant social-policy successes in Israel in recent years.

According to the annual poverty report of Israel’s National Insurance Institute, 1,780,500 Israelis, including 466,400 families and 814,000 children, some 21.2% of the population, live below the poverty line. However, poverty is higher especially among the poorest minorities in Israel, including Arabs and ultra-orthodox Jews. According to the report, the overall poverty rate increased from 18.5% in 2016.
The proportion of families living in poverty decreased from 28.8% in 2016 to 28.4% in 2017, and the proportion of children living in poverty decreased from 31% in 2016 to 29.6% in 2017, but this remains tremendously high.

In recent years, Israel’s government launched a five-year comprehensive program aimed at economic and structural development within the Arab population. However, the original budget allocation of ILS 15.5 billion has been reduced to ILS 9.7 billion, excluding the education component. As of 2018, the program is progressing according to plan, with about one-third of the budget having been spent on various projects related to housing, jurisdiction mapping, education, the representation of Arabs in the public sector and the improvement in the quality of local Israeli-Arab authority personnel.

Citations:
Einhorn, Alon, “21.2% of Israeli population lives below the poverty line – new report,” Jerusalem Post, 31.12.2018, https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/212-percent-of-Israeli-population-lives-below-the-poverty-line-new-report-575883

Barkat, Amiram, Poverty, inequality decline in Israel, Globes, 31.12.2018, https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-poverty-inequality-decline-in-israel-1001267085

National Insurance Institute, Poverty and Social Gaps. Annual Report 2016, Jerusalem, December 2017, https://www.btl.gov.il/English%20Homepage/Publications/Poverty_Report/Documents/oni2016-e.pdf

Taub Center, “State of the Nation Report 2018. Society, Economy and Policy in Israel,” http://taubcenter.org.il/wp-content/files_mf/stateofthenation2018.pdf

Ben Solomon, Ariel, “Israeli government reaches historic budget deal for Arab sector after tough negotiations,” Jerusalem Post Online, 30/12/2015, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israeli-government-reaches-historic-budget-deal-for-Arab-sector-after-tough-negotiations-438889

Bleikh, Haim, “Poverty and Inequality in Israel: Trends and Decompositions,” Taub Center, 26.12.2016:
taubcenter.org.il/poverty-and-inequality-in-israel-trends-and-decompositions/

Dattel, L. & D. Maor, “Income inequality in Israel among highest in OECD,” Haaretz, 22.5.2015:
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.657611

Endeweld and co, “Poverty and Social Gaps in 2016, annual report,” The National Insurance Institute, December 2017:
https://www.btl.gov.il/English%20Homepage/Publications/Poverty_Report/Pages/oni-2016-e.aspx

Efraim, David, “The construction reform and five year plan in the arab municipalities: the good and the bad,” INSS, March 2018 (Hebrew):
http://www.inss.org.il/he/publication/%D7%AA%D7%9B%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%AA-%D7%94%D7%97%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%A9-922-%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%9E%D7%AA-%D7%94%D7%91%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%95%D7%99-%D7%91%D7%99%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%91%D7%99%D7%9D/

Elran, Meir and Muhammed Abu Nasra, Eran Yashiv, and Morsi Abu Moch, “Two Years into the Five-Year Plan for Economic Development of the Arabs in Israel,” INSS Insight No. 993, 22.11.2017, http://www.inss.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/No.-995.pdf

Endeweld, M., Heller, O., Barkali, N. and Gottlieb, D., “Poverty and Social Gaps Report – Poverty and Social Gaps in 2014, annual report,” National Insurance Institute (NII), Jerusalem, January 2016:
https://www.btl.gov.il/English%20Homepage/Publications/Poverty_Report/Documents/oni2014-e.pdf

Ilan, Shahar, “The Five Year Plan To The Arab Sector: You Cannot do anything with a List of Confessions ”Calcalist, 16.10.2016, http://www.calcalist.co.il/local/articles/0,7340,L-3699823,00.html

Jacobs, Harrison, “A walk through Israel’s poorest village made it very clear that one of the country’s biggest issues is one no one talks about,” Business Insider, 19.10.2018:
https://www.businessinsider.com/israel-news-biggest-problem-poor-economic-situation-arab-minority-2018-10

Swirsky, S., E. Konor-Atias and R. Zelinger, “Social status report 2015,” December 2015. (Hebrew): http://adva.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/social-2015-1.pdf

Health

#9

To what extent do health care policies provide high-quality, inclusive and cost-efficient health care?

10
 9

Health care policy achieves the criteria fully.
 8
 7
 6


Health care policy achieves the criteria largely.
 5
 4
 3


Health care policy achieves the criteria partly.
 2
 1

Health care policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Health Policy
8
Under the 1994 National Insurance Act, all citizens in Israel are entitled to medical attention through a health maintenance organization (HMO). This is a universal and egalitarian law, allowing for broad access to subsidized primary care, medical specialists and medicines. A 2012 OECD survey identified Israeli health care system as one of the best in the developed world, ranking fifth with a score of 8.5 out of 10. In 2018, Israel scored 6 out of 56 countries in the Bloomberg Health-Efficiency Index. Despite the general positive foundations of Israel’s health care, local experts warn that the continual erosion of the health care budget and personnel have put the system in a dire state, and that without an increase of about 2% of GDP (about ILS 26 billion) the public health system will not be able to sustain its current load.

Health professionals have publicly stated that the OECD survey was premature, as a deterioration in services produced by recent policy reforms has simply not yet become evident. Despite broad health coverage, inequalities in health outcomes and access to health services have persisted. Low-income families still have poor access to dental care and nursing services. Non-Jewish Israelis from poor socioeconomic groups, as well as those living in the north and south periphery regions, experience worse health and have high health-risk factors.

According to a 2018 Taub Center study, health care spending as a share of GDP has remained fairly stable over the past two decades, at about 7% of GDP compared to an average of 10% in other OECD countries. However, the share of public funding in the total national expenditure on health has declined, from about 70% to 61% (compared to about 77% share of public finding among the OECD countries). Consequently, private expenditure on health care has increased as a share of total household expenditure, from 4.5% in 2000 to 5.7% in 2015.

The quality of health services and facilities varies by geographical location, with periphery facilities often struggling to attract skilled personnel, and the looming closure of peripheral emergency rooms in Kiryat Shmona. In Israel’s peripheral regions, there are about 20% less beds per capita and 40% less surgery rooms per capita. Nevertheless, the Israeli system is fairly equitable in international comparison.

Citations:
OECD, “Health Policy in Israel,” OECD Health Policy Overview, April 2016, https://www.oecd.org/israel/Health-Policy-in-Israel-April-2016.pdf

Swirsky, S., E. Konor-Atias, “Social status report 2016,” January 2017. (Hebrew)
http://adva.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SocialReport2016.pdf

Chernichovsky, Dov, “Current Developments in the Health care System,” Policy Research, 21.12.2017,
http://taubcenter.org.il/current-developments-in-the-health care-system/

Lee J Miller and Wei Lu, “These Are the Economies With the Most (and Least) Efficient Health Care,” Bloomberg website, 19.09.2018:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-19/u-s-near-bottom-of-health-index-hong-kong-and-singapore-at-top

Families

#12

To what extent do family support policies enable women to combine parenting with participation in the labor market?

10
 9

Family support policies effectively enable women to combine parenting with employment.
 8
 7
 6


Family support policies provide some support for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 5
 4
 3


Family support policies provide only few opportunities for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 2
 1

Family support policies force most women to opt for either parenting or employment.
Family Policy
7
Israel has a mixed family policy that is pro-family while supporting the integration of mothers in the labor force. Its pro-family policy includes essentially free coverage of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures for women under the age of 45 and child allowances for all Israeli families with children under the age of 17 (without limitations based on income). Its integration policy includes parental leave arrangements, robust child care policies and protection of job and benefits during maternity leave.

In 2010 a law was introduced to extend maternity leave to 14 paid weeks, and 26 weeks in total. In 2016, a similar law was introduced to allow fathers to use an additional six days of paternity leave. The total weeks of leave at full pay received by the average woman over her lifetime in Israel is similar to the average level within the OECD. However, other OECD countries offer more flexibility in terms of using parental-leave benefits or returning to work on a part-time basis.

In recent years, the need for further subsidies for day care and after-school activities has gained prominence as a middle-class issue, and a plan to introduce subsidized care for children up to the age of five was launched. Compulsory education has been expanded, introducing free early childhood education between ages three and four. However, reports claim that this program is still largely underfunded and does not offer sustainable relief for working mothers and young families. Recently, Finance minister Moshe Kahlon announced a series of intended tax cuts called the “Net Family Plan.” The program includes benefits such as subsidies for after-school activities, extra tax points for men and women with children up to six years old, an expansion of work grants and reduced taxes on baby clothes, all with the aim of assisting families and working mothers.

The share of women in Israel’s workforce has increased substantially over the past 30 years. Once accounting for just a third of the workforce, women currently make up 47% of employees. A 2016 study indicates that employment rates are almost unaffected during for women aged between 25 and 44 who become mothers. The gap was even smaller for highly educated women, since education offers greater access to prestigious jobs and financial rewards for working mothers. This positive trend is more prevalent among Jewish working women, who have an employment rate nearly equal to that of Jewish men. However, in 2015, the employment rate among Arab women remained at only 31.5%, with ultra-orthodox Jewish women also lagging behind, although both populations have shown gradual improvement, and have been the focus of a general economic policy aiming to expand social inclusion in the labor market.

Wage gaps between men and women remain. Since many women work part-time or hold temporary jobs in order to sustain their traditional role as the main household caregivers, the average monthly wage for women in 2017 was between 32% to 47% lower than the average for men (depending on the method of calculation). The gender gap is smaller but still significant for hourly wages, with women earning an average hourly rate 15.1% lower than that of men. Taub Center’s research “Division of Labor: Wage Gaps between Women and Men in Israel” shows that the wage gap is mainly driven by the position and scope of women’s jobs, and differences in occupation, with a much smaller proportion of the gap attributable to direct discrimination.

In the beginning of 2017, the civil service commissioner issued a working regulation requiring all ministries to adopt a “family friendly” arrangement under which meetings would not be held in the afternoon twice a week in order to support workers who wished to dedicate more time to their families. Moreover, the commission’s strategic plan placed special emphasis on promoting a workplace ethic of gender equality.

Citations:
Central Bureau of Statistics, “Labour Force Survey Data, August 2017” http://www.cbs.gov.il/reader/newhodaot/hodaa_template_eng.html?hodaa=201720283

Karcher-Tzameret, H., Herzog, H., Hazan, N. “The gender index,” Shavot – the center for women advancement in the public sphere 2016 (Hebrew). http://genderindex.vanleer.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/%D7%A2%D7%99%D7%A7%D7%A8%D7%99-%D7%94%D7%9E%D7%9E%D7%A6%D7%90%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%9E%D7%93%D7%93-%D7%94%D7%9E%D7%92%D7%93%D7%A8-2016.pdf

“Life-work balance: regulation 2/2017,” Civil Service Commission (Hebrew):
http://www.csc.gov.il/DataBases/Hozrim/Pages/2-2017.aspx

Mizrachi-Simon, S. “Employment within Arab Woman in Israel,” Knesset Research and Information Center, 31.7.2016: https://www.knesset.gov.il/mmm/data/pdf/m03804.pdf

Swirsky, S., E. Konor-Atias, “Social status report 2016,” January 2017 (Hebrew): http://adva.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SocialReport2016.pdf

Taub Center Staff, “Work-life balance: parental leave policies in Israel” Taub Center Bulletin Articles, 27.7.2016,
http://taubcenter.org.il/work-life-balance-parental-leave-policies-in-israel/

Taub Center Staff, “Division of Labor: Wage Gaps between Women and Men in Israel” Taub Center Policy Research, 01.03.2017:
http://taubcenter.org.il/division-of-labor-wage-gaps-between-women-and-men-in-israel/,

Udasin, S & Hoffman, G. “Kahlon Announces Sweeping Tax Cut Program for Working Families,” The Jerusalem Post, 18.4.2017: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Kahlon-announces-sweeping-tax-cut-program-for-working-families-488250

Pensions

#15

To what extent does pension policy realize goals of poverty prevention, intergenerational equity and fiscal sustainability?

10
 9

Pension policy achieves the objectives fully.
 8
 7
 6


Pension policy achieves the objectives largely.
 5
 4
 3


Pension policy achieves the objectives partly.
 2
 1

Pension policy does not achieve the objectives at all.
Pension Policy
7
Over the past two decades, Israel initiated several reforms for pension policy, profoundly changing the system with respect to employer-based pensions and national insurance. The reforms introduced a new defined-benefit (DC) pension plan, with contributions invested in the market instead of government bonds. In so doing, it transformed an underfunded system driven by collective bargaining into a system of mainly defined-contribution individual accounts with varied levels of collective risk sharing. In the last years, Israel also increased the legal maximum for insurance contributions (including that for pension insurance), with the aim of improving fiscal stability and the system’s overall sustainability.

One of its main consequences was shifting more responsibility to individuals. This risk was partly resolved by an agreement that was struck between the New Histadrut trade union, the Coordination Office of the Economic Organizations and the government. Once approved by the government in 2008, it ensured a steady pension contribution for every salaried employee, with two-thirds of this stream financed by the employer. In 2016, the contribution was raised to a minimum of 18.5% of monthly salary. Thus, it is meant to secure the future of Israel’s moderately aging population. However, it also reduced available income for poor households, and does not supply the supplementary income that is critical for the extremely poor.

At the end of 2008, the Israeli government implemented a reform that introduced a requirement for life-cycle strategies in pension savings products. The reform initiated the establishment of different investment tracks with age-based investment profiles, serving as default options for savers who failed to make an investment choice by themselves. Since the new system is regulated rather than operated by the state, it is subject to the rules of the free market; even though every worker is legally entitled to a pension, private pension operators have discretion over client selection.

Israel’s pensions framework has been changing and evolving to accommodate current needs. In 2016, a new pension-system reform was introduced, aiming to help workers by lowering pension fees and increasing competition between pension funds. In addition, two “default” pension funds committed to charging lower management fees were created. In 2018, two additional “default” pension funds were approved under a new tender. While some actors within the finance sector appealed to the courts against the conditions of the new tender, the appeal was quickly withdrawn. Journalists have speculated that the purpose of launching the appeal was to prevent the conditions of the new tender being applied to management fees paid by pensioners, since these fees are a major source of revenue for the financial sector. As of 2017, not only employees (as was the case before the change), but also self-employed individuals are required to use Israeli-recognized pension plans.

Regarding the prevention of poverty among the elderly and the guarantee of equality, Israel’s pension policy has room for improvement. Recent research indicates that post-retirement income-level inequalities are due to the large gaps in pension saving in different socioeconomic groups.

Citations:
JPOST, “Pension Reform,” The Jerusalem Post, 8.2.2016, http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Pension-reform-463059

“Kahlon unveils pension plan for self-employed Israel,” Globes, 21.4.2016, http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-kahlon-unveils-pension-plan-for-self-employed-israelis-1001119587

Swirsky, S., E. Konor-Atias, “Social status report 2016,” January 2017. (Hebrew)
http://adva.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SocialReport2016.pdf

Zarhia, Zvi, “The Work and Welfare Committee Approved: Pension Savings for all Self-Employed,” 07.02.2016 https://www.themarker.com/news/1.3146099

Radomsky, Binyamin,”What Israel’s New Self-Employed Pension Plan Requirement Means for Freelancers,” 26.02.2017, http://aboulafia.co.il/self-employed-pension-plan-israel/

Integration

#33

How effectively do policies support the integration of migrants into society?

10
 9

Cultural, education and social policies effectively support the integration of migrants into society.
 8
 7
 6


Cultural, education and social policies seek to integrate migrants into society, but have failed to do so effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Cultural, education and social policies do not focus on integrating migrants into society.
 2
 1

Cultural, education and social policies segregate migrant communities from the majority society.
Integration Policy
4
The legal status of immigrants in Israel is based on the Law of Return (1950), the Law of Citizenship (1952) and the Law of Entrance to Israel (1952). These constitute strict conditions for gaining citizenship, allowing Jewish immigration to receive a permanent legal status as part of the Zionist vision. While still relevant, it is unable to offer a constructive framework for dealing with current global immigration challenges including Palestinian or African immigration to Israel. In the absence of a coherent framework for general immigration, immigration policy is de facto established by ad hoc decisions, harming the state and immigrants alike. For example, Israel’s Supreme Court recently issued an order to all employers of illegal immigrants to pay a retroactive 20% tax, imposing a serious financial burden for many small businesses.

In February 2016, the Knesset passed the government’s fourth policy in the last few years addressing African migrants who arrive in Israel illegally. The policy permits the placement of migrants in a combination of closed and open detention centers for up to 12 months. In May 2017, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the deportation of illegal immigrants to a third country, making further appeals against the practice unlikely to succeed despite its controversial nature.

There are approximately 40,000 illegal immigrants in Israel. In December 2017, the Knesset approved a program backed by the Netanyahu government, which would have paved the way for forced deportations to a third country to begin in April 2018. However, the program failed because the destination country denied any agreement with Israel on the matter. Following that, Israel achieved a similar deportation agreement with UNHCR. However, this agreement was also canceled because of internal coalition disputes based on a common perception that the UNHCR agreement was the result of pressure from left-wing organizations. In October 2018, a member of the coalition proposed an amendment to the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. The amendment proposes to exempt laws on illegal immigration from human rights-based judicial reviews. The proposal is currently halted.

Policies in recent years have mainly included tax breaks and subsidies. Individual committees have been formed to study the social aspects of immigration, with the aim of improving working methods. However, as noted by the Knesset’s Committee for “immigration, absorption and diaspora affairs,” a relatively small proportion of these committees’ recommendations is implemented.

Citations:
Times of Israel, “Israel freezes deportations of asylum-seekers after court challenge,” 15.03.2018: https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-freezes-deportations-of-asylum-seekers-after-court-challenge/

Bar-On, Guy, “The Only Country that Fines Refugees,” The Marker, 24.9.2017, https://www.themarker.com/opinion/1.4461484

Dressler, Tamar, “Going in and out: the broken dreams of the new Tzabars,” Maariv, 13/02/2018 (Hebrew):
https://www.maariv.co.il/news/israel/Article-623907

“Enlarged assistance to native Ethiopians,” The Ministry of Construction and Housing website (Hebrew)

“Foreigners who cannot be deported from Israel,” State comptroller, 2014 (Hebrew): http://www.mevaker.gov.il/he/Reports/Report_248/af07752c-7845-4f1d-ae97-23c45c702624/102-ver-5.pdf

Leshem, Elazar, “The Reform in the Absorption Policy”16.8.2007, http://taubcenter.org.il/wp-content/files_mf/h2007_immigrant_integration32.pdf

Lior, Ilan, “Israel Jails Hundreds of African Asylum-Seekers Without Trial Every Year,” Haaretz 24.9.2017,https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.813781

“Towards deportation of ”Illegals”: how many were approved asylum from the third world?,” “the day that was” department, Nana10 news, 04/01/2018 (Hebrew):
http://10tv.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=1279742

Rosenberg, David, “Israel prepares to deport African infiltrators, issues warnings,” 04.02.2018, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/241542

Kershner, Isabel, “Israel Moves to Expel Africans. Critics Say That’s Not Jewish“, 02.02.2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/world/middleeast/israel-migrants-african.html

Weiss, Uri, “Immigrants are on their way out of the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty,” Haaretz, 28.10.2018 (Hebrew):
https://www.haaretz.co.il/blogs/uriweiss/BLOG-1.6597244

Safe Living

#25

How effectively does internal security policy protect citizens against security risks?

10
 9

Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks very effectively.
 8
 7
 6


Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks more or less effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Internal security policy does not effectively protect citizens against security risks.
 2
 1

Internal security policy exacerbates the security risks.
Internal Security Policy
7
The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) manages the internal-security field in conjunction with the armed forces and other government agencies such as “Rachel” (emergency) and “Malal” (terrorism prevention). Following an alteration in its title (from the Ministry of the Police), the MPS has broadened its scope, and is now in charge of crime prevention, the prison system, gun control, prevention of terrorist acts and fire-prevention policies. Reforms have sought to integrate the country’s various agencies dealing with security issues, and in 2013 the MPS reported some accomplishments. For example, the Firearm Licensing Department (2011), the Israel Fire and Rescue Services (2011) and the Israel Anti-Drug Authority have all been successfully integrated into this ministry, improving coordination capabilities. In 2016, the government accepted the MPS suggestion to establish a national program to prevent cybercrime and internet violence against children. As of 2018, the Israel National Cyber Directorate is responsible for cybercrime security. However, the directorate has been criticized for being inefficient and uninterested in cyber-threats that are not related to terrorism (for more information, see G13.3 section).

Security networks in Israel connect the spheres of the military and private security, showing how closely connected and virtually inseparable they are.

Notwithstanding occasional acts of terrorism, Israelis still report that they feel generally secure. According to the most recent crime-victimization survey, 70% of people claim that they feel safe walking alone at night. Israel’s homicide rate (which is considered a better measure of safety in a country) is 1.7 per 100,000 inhabitants – about half of the OECD average.

Since Israel’s internal-security budget is divided between different agencies, and cannot be separated from the defense budget managed by the Ministry of Defense, it is hard to estimate the country’s overall internal-security expenditure. Although the Ministry of Public Security’s budget has increased in recent years, this is at least partly due to the expansion of the ministry’s responsibilities, and not due to increased investment or policy implementation.

Citations:
“A View on MPS 2016,” http://mops.gov.il/Documents/Publications/HofeshHamaida/summeryreport2016.pdf

Israel’s Crime Victimization Survey 2015, CBS,
http://www.cbs.gov.il/publications16/1653_bitachon_ishi_2015/pdf/intro_e.pdf

Kubovich, Y., “98% of sexual harassment victims in Israel don’t complain to police according to Gov’t poll,” 5.5.2015, Haaretz: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.654825

“National violence index 2014,” the Ministry of Public Security publication February 2014 (Hebrew).

“Safety: Better life index Israel,” OECD. http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/safety/

Ziv, Amitai, “Instead of cyber protection we got a 200 million NIS “puppet of the Shabak,”” The Marker, 29.08.2018 (Hebrew):
https://www.themarker.com/technation/.premium-1.6429216

Grassini, E., Between security and military identities: The case of Israeli security experts, Security Dialogue, 49(2018)1-2, 83-95: https://pure.uva.nl/ws/files/22149964/0967010617747202.pdf

Global Inequalities

#35

To what extent does the government demonstrate an active and coherent commitment to promoting equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries?

10
 9

The government actively and coherently engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. It frequently demonstrates initiative and responsibility, and acts as an agenda-setter.
 8
 7
 6


The government actively engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. However, some of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 5
 4
 3


The government shows limited engagement in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. Many of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute (and often undermines) efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries.
Global Social Policy
4
Israeli policy regarding global inequalities mainly consists of offering assistance in humanitarian, medical and financial aid to developing countries during emergencies. In recent decades, this aid has been expanded to technological and agricultural knowledge-sharing. For example, in 2016, the Ministry of Economy and the Israel National Cyber Bureau organized a workshop to teach and share the country’s cybersecurity expertise with developing countries (such as Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, India, Zambia, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Montenegro). The government’s Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV) oversees cooperation with other developed countries, and is responsible for launching emergency-assistance missions.

Although Israel has signed a number of international cooperation agreements with parties such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), it is not considered to be a leader or an agenda setter with regard to global fair-trade policies. However, it is improving its regulatory structure to reflect international trade agreements and WTO standards. In response to the 2011 social protests, it dismantled some import barriers and has begun to eliminate and reduce import duties on items such as electrical appliances, textiles and apparel, and recently, many food items.

Citations:
Hayut, Ilanit, “Israeli gov’t expands meat imports to spur competition” Globes, 24.03.2016, http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-israeli-govt-expands-meat-imports-to-spur-competition-1001112370

“Israel and World Bank Group sign agreement to share innovative best practices in water,” The World Bank website 17.6.2015: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2015/06/17/israel-world-bank-group-agreement-innovative-best-practices-water

“Israel shares cybersecurity expertise with World Bank client countries,” The World Bank Website, 22.6.2016: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/06/22/israel-shares-cybersecurity-expertise-with-world-bank-client-countries
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