Israel

   

Social Policies

#26
Key Findings
With significant concerns over equity, Israel falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 26) with respect to social policies. Its score in this area has declined by 0.1 point relative to 2014.

Greater funding and stronger performances are found in secular Hebrew-language schools than in Arab-language or ultra-Orthodox institutions. Overall spending on preschool and elementary school is low by OECD standards. Income inequality levels 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.

Healthcare provision is universal and generally of high quality, although quality shows very significant regional variation. Programs offer subsidies for childcare 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 succession of policies aimed at easing deportations to third countries have failed for a variety of reasons.

Education

#15

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 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 Jews), 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 the 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 6% 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. Three Israeli universities – the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Weitzman Institute of Technology – rank within the top 150 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 26.5. 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 subgroups 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.

An additional problem that Israel faces in the field of education is the amount of money invested in preschool and school programs compared to other OECD countries. According to an OECD report published in the last quarter of 2018, Israel is ranked lowest for government investment in preschool and daycare services, equivalent to $2,100 – $5,000 per child per year. The rest of the money comes from the parents themselves. Government spending on students in elementary school is also 20% lower than the OECD average, although government spending has increased over the last few years. The average salary of Israeli teachers is also low, with salaries for new teachers among the lowest in the OECD.

Citations:
“Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019,” Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2019.html

Average Class Size, OECD website, extracted 7 of November 2019:
https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=EDU_CLASS

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

“The OECD Education Report proves once again: The gap between Israel and developed countries is huge” Calcalist, 11.9.2018 (Hebrew):

https://www.calcalist.co.il/local/articles/0,7340,L-3745918,00.html

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

#41

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
Between 2018 and 2019, there were no new major social welfare initiatives in Israel. Consequently, poverty and inequality have remained high.
Israel still faces high inequality relative to other OECD countries. As of 2019, Israel ranked 12 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).

According to the annual poverty report of Israel’s National Insurance Institute for 2017, 1,780,500 Israelis, including 466,400 families and 814,000 children, some 21.2% of the population, live below the poverty line. These numbers show no change from the 2016 report. However, poverty is higher among the poorest groups in Israel, including Arab Israelis and ultra-Orthodox Jews. According to the report, the overall poverty rate was 18.4% in 2017, a decrease of 0.1% from 2016.

Israel’s government launched a five-year program (2016 – 2020), which aims to promote the economic and structural development of Israel’s Arab Israeli population. However, the program’s 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 projects related to housing, jurisdiction mapping, education, the representation of Arab Israelis in the public sector and the improvement in the quality of Arab Israeli local authority personnel. The percentage of Arab Israeli families living in poverty decreased from 49.2% in 2016 to 47.1% in 2017. However, between 2016 and 2017, the depth of poverty and the severity of poverty increased by 10% and 22%, respectively.

In 2017, the percentage of ultra-Orthodox Jews living in poverty decreased by 2 percentage points from 45.1% to 43.1%. As of 2017, ultra-Orthodox Jews comprise 15% of poor families in Israel.

Citations:
Weiss, Avi (Ed.), State of the Nation Report. Society, Economy and Policy 2019, Taub Center for Social Policies Studies in Israel, 2019, http://taubcenter.org.il/wp-content/files_mf/snr2019eng20.pdf

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 2017, Jerusalem, December 2018, https://www.btl.gov.il/Publications/oni_report/Documents/oni2017.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 a 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

#10

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. This is a universal and egalitarian law, allowing for broad access to subsidized primary care, medical specialists and medicines. A 2012 OECD survey identified the Israeli healthcare system as one of the best in the developed world, ranking fifth with a score of 8.5 out of 10. In 2019, Israel ranked 10 out of 56 countries in the Bloomberg Health-Efficiency Index.

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 northern and south, experience worse health and have high health-risk factors. In fact, the quality of healthcare services and facilities varies significantly by location. Facilities in peripheral regions often struggle to attract skilled personnel, as exemplified by the looming closure of the emergency rooms in Kiryat Shmona. In peripheral regions, there are about 20% fewer beds per capita and 40% fewer surgery rooms per capita.

Comparing healthcare in Israel’s peripheral regions with central parts of the country, the number of hospitals and medical staff per resident is low, medical staff on average are less skilled, waiting times for specialist care are longer, and medical facilities are poorly equipped. In addition, life expectancy in peripheral regions is 81, while in central regions it is 84. The difference between the number of doctors per person is also notable, with 2.3 doctors per 1,000 civilians in Israel’s northern and southern regions compared to 5.1 in Tel Aviv. This image was echoed by the 2018 State Comptroller’s report. According to the report, Israel lacks a long-term plan for addressing the shortage of hospital beds and medical staff, and a plan for a new hospital in southern Israel. However, the Israeli system is fairly equitable by international comparison, performing well across various health indices, such as life expectancy.

Citations:
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/

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

“Opening of wards and units in general hospitals report,” The State Comptroller’s Office, 6.5.2019 (Hebrew):
https://www.mevaker.gov.il/(X(1)S(gbs3dvies1fzxxx1tx3vvpoo))/sites/DigitalLibrary/Pages/Reports/1427-13.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Lee J Miller and Wei Lu, “These are the World’s Healthiest Nations” Bloomberg Website, 2.9.2019:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-24/spain-tops-italy-as-world-s-healthiest-nation-while-u-s-slips

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

“This is what the “boring” data on the huge gaps in health between center and periphery look like,” Globes, 19.10.2018 (Hebrew):
https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001256942

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 also supporting the integration of mothers into the labor force. 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 implemented to allow fathers to use an additional six days of paternity leave. The total number of weeks of maternity leave at full pay received by the average mother in Israel is similar to the average across 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.

The need for further subsidies for daycare and after-school activities has gained prominence as a middle-class issue, and a plan to subsidize care for children up to the age of five was announced. Compulsory education has been expanded, introducing free education for children aged three to four. However, reports claim that this program is still largely underfunded, and does not offer sustainable relief for working mothers and young families.

The share of women in Israel’s workforce has increased substantially over the past 30 years. Previously comprising just one third of the workforce, women currently make up 47% of employees. A 2016 study indicates that becoming a mother has almost no effect on the employment rate of women aged between 25 and 44. 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 working Jewish women, who have an employment rate nearly equal to that of Jewish men. In relation to the employment rate of Arab Israeli women, it seems that there is a steady increase in Arab Israeli women participating in the workforce. In 2015, the employment rate among Arab Israeli women was 31.5%. At the end of 2018, about 40% of all Arab Israeli women able to work were employed. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women also lag behind, although there has been a gradual closing of this gap. In fact, these two populations have been the focus of a general economic policy that aims to promote social inclusion and expand labor market participation.

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, their average monthly wage is lower than the average for men. The gender gap is smaller but still significant for hourly wages, with women earning an average hourly rate of 15.8% 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.

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/,

“The tax benefits for parents at Net Family will become permanent,” Ynet, 22.2.18 (Hebrew):
https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-5126144,00.html

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

#17

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 varying 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.

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.

Citations:
“Employment rate among Arab women in Israel approaches 40%,” Globes, 31.12.2018, (Hebrew)
https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001266958

“Israel ranks fourth in the OECD in the poverty rate of the elderly,” the marker 20.2.18 (Hebrew):
https://www.themarker.com/career/1.5829515

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

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/

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

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 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 Israel, we need to distinguish between two general types of immigration. There is immigration of non-Israeli Jews, called Aliya, which is legally recognized, and encourages the immigration and integration of non-Israeli Jews into Israeli society. Second, there is immigration of non-Jews, who migrate as refuges or as illegal immigrants.

Legal immigration is supported by the government, which promotes and calls for Jews from all over the world to migrate to Israel. As part of such attempts, the government provides “immigration support funding” to Jews who migrate to Israel. The support also extends to financial support to employers who employ Jewish immigrants.

When it comes to illegal immigration, 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 requiring 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 recent 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 that it had any agreement with Israel on the matter. Following this, Israel achieved a similar deportation agreement with the 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 would make laws on illegal immigration exempt from human rights-based judicial reviews. The proposal is currently stalled.

Citations:
Aid to financing immigrant wages, The Israeli Government Website, 2019 (Hebrew)
https://www.gov.il/he/departments/general/participation_in_salary

Immigration funding support, The Israeli Government, 2019 (Hebrew):
https://www.gov.il/he/departments/general/absorption_basket


Times of Israel, “Israel freezes deportations of asylum-seekers after a 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

#32

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
6
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).

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 (a more accurate indicator of safety in a country) is 1.8 per 100,000 inhabitants in contrast to 3.8 on average in OECD countries.

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 total expenditure on internal security. 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.

Media headlines often focus on the level of crime and violence in Arab Israeli communities, and associated concerns about internal security. In 2018, the government’s activities to reduce and prevent crime within the Arab Israeli population were widely criticized. According to the State Comptroller report from 2018, about 45% of all murders in Israel take place in Arab Israeli communities. In addition, the prevalence of firearms and other weapons is relatively high. According to the State Comptroller, there are few police stations and security cameras in Arab Israeli communities.

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

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

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/

State Comptroller: “Police do not reduce the gap between the number of crime cases and indictments in the Arab sector, Calcalist, 15.8.18 (Hebrew):
https://www.calcalist.co.il/local/articles/0,7340,L-3744371,00.html

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

Hermann, Tamar et al., A Conditional Partnership. Jews and Arabs. Israel 2017, Israel Democracy Institute, Jerusalem 2017, https://en.idi.org.il/media/11172/jews-and-arabs.pdf

Abu Ras, Thabet, and Be’eri Sulitzeanu, Amnon, Roots of Crime Wave in Arab Cities of Israel, Abraham Initiatives, 15.10.2019, https://abrahaminitiatives.org/roots-of-crime-wave-in-arab-cities-of-israel/

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. 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, 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 January 2019, Israel established a fund that aims to support environmental projects in developing countries. The fund is the responsibility of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economy, with the help of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Citations:
“Environmental, Finance, and Economy Ministries set up a fund to support environmental projects in developing countries” Ministry of Environment, 16.1.2019 (Hebrew)
http://www.sviva.gov.il/InfoServices/NewsAndEvents/MessageDoverAndNews/Pages/2019/01-Jan/new_fund_supporting_environmental_projects_developing_countries.aspx

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
Back to Top