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Miri Shalem

Collective Rights of Minorities in Democratic Countries – A Comparative Survey

By Israel Among Nations, Recent, Rights, Duties and Law

This study conducted a comparative survey on the collective rights awarded to national, ethnic or religious minorities in democratic nation states. Five minority groups were selected for the survey which aimed to examine the policy adopted regarding recognition of their rights as a collective group in the fields of language, education and religion. The survey also incorporated findings of a previous survey on this topic conducted by the Knesset Research and Information Center in 2017.

The objective of this paper is to enable a discussion of the collective rights enjoyed by the Israeli-Arab minority in the State of Israel that is based on empiric facts and figures. A broad understanding of the accepted practice in other countries around the world will allow us to conduct a more in-depth examination of this issue in Israel and to determine the degree to which the State of Israel conforms to international norms.

The main findings of the Institute for Zionist Strategies’ comparative survey and of the Knesset study on this topic are presented below in three categories: rights in the fields of language, education and religious:

Language Rights

  • 10 of the 12 countries surveyed maintain statutes that obligate the state to provide official documents, public services and access to the court system in the minority population’s language: Denmark (only the courts), Hungary, Greece (only the courts), Macedonia (partial rights), Norway, Spain (except the courts), Finland, and Canada; Belgium and the UK – only for the resident of Wallonia and Wales, respectively.
  • In 7 of the 12 countries surveyed, speakers of minority languages enjoy special rights in a district or region with a high concentration of minority populations, such as signs in the minority language, public services in their language and others: Italy, Hungary, Macedonia, Norway, and Finland; Belgium and the UK – only for the resident of Wallonia and Wales, respectively.
  • In 5 of the 12 countries surveyed, the minority population’s language has been declared an official local language in districts with a high concentration of minority populations: Italy, India, and Spain; Belgium and the UK – only for the resident of Wallonia and Wales, respectively.
  • In 6 of the 12 countries surveyed, the minority population’s language is an official state language without necessarily enjoying an equal legal status as that of the majority: Belgium, UK, Macedonia, Norway, Finland, and Canada.
  • In 2 of the 12 countries surveyed, a special committee has been established to promote the minority population’s language: UK and Norway.

 

Education Rights

  • Public education in the minority population’s language or bilingual education is officially guaranteed in all the countries surveyed.
  • In practice, in 10 of the 12 countries surveyed, the minority population makes widespread use of educational institutions in their own language or of bi-lingual education: Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Greece, Macedonia, Norway, Finland, Spain, Canada.
  • In 3 of the 12 countries surveyed, the minority population pupils are also legally obligated to learn the language of the majority together with their own language studied at the minority language schools: Italy, Macedonia, Finland.

Religious Rights

  • One of the two countries surveyed provide financial support for, and official recognition of, the minority population’s religion: Greece.
  • In 1 of the 2 countries surveyed, there is a secular public domain and a neutral official attitude: India.

Conclusions and Discussion Relating to the Arab Minority in Israel

Language Rights

  • In Israel, as in 10 of the 12 countries surveyed, the state is legally obligated to provide official documents, public services, and access to the court system in Arabic. This obligation was legislated during the British Mandate and has been subsequently expanded to include street and road signs.
  • In Israel, as in 5 of the 12 countries surveyed, Arabic speakers do not enjoy special rights in regional councils with a relatively large Arab population. Moreover, Arabic is not recognized as an official local language in those areas with a relatively large Arab population – a situation similar to that in 7 of the 12 countries surveyed.
  • Arabic was initially recognized as an official language in Israel, alongside Arabic and English, in keeping with Mandatory legislation. However, this status is no longer valid due to a number of court rulings and legislative acts. Although Arabic is not an official language, it has a special status and takes precedence over other minority languages in Israel.
  • No special committee for promoting Arabic has been established in Israel – a situation similar to that in 10 of the 12 countries surveyed.

 

Education Rights

  • As in all the other countries surveyed, public education in Arabic is guaranteed in Israel. Furthermore, as in 10 of the 12 countries surveyed, in practice, there is widespread use of Arabic educational institutions among the Arab population.
  • As in 3 of the 12 countries surveyed, all minority population pupils in Israel are obligated to learn Hebrew as well as Arabic (from Grade 3).

Religious Rights

  • The public domain in Israel is not entirely religiously neutral and features certain Jewish characteristics such as the cessation of public services on Shabbat and the official state emblems which are of a Jewish nature. At the same time however, there is official state financial support for and recognition of Islam.

The above findings reveal that the State of Israel meets international standards with regards to collective rights awarded to the Arab minority, especially in the fields of language and edication.  

To the full research

September 2019 Newsletter: 5779 Year End Summary

By Newsletters

CEO’s Word

In just a few days, we will sit around the holiday table with hopes and prayers for a good, blessed, sweet new year, a year in which, in the words of the traditional Rosh Hashanah blessing, we ask to be “as the head and not as the tail”. But what if everyone is at the head? How can we achieve anything with so many heads?
For us at the Institute for Zionist Strategies, this blessing means that each person should try and find the place where he/she can lead and be at the head – whether in the private or public domain, within the family circle or on the national stage. The meaning of being “as the head” is that, wherever we may be, we should all strive to make the world a better place, to take responsibility for our own individual surroundings, to look at the world from a birds-eye view and understand the whole picture rather than just the minor details. And this can be only be achieved out of a consciousness of being as a head and not a tail.

This then is our blessing for you – and for ourselves. We have proven this year that we are capable of leading and being at the head of our unique field as a rightwing-nationalist organization which understands that Jewish sovereignty entails an obligation and responsibility towards the minority populations in Israel. As we reported to you throughout the year, we have begun working with the Arab population in East Jerusalem, personally assisting hundreds of people. With this same sense of obligation and responsibility, we have successfully overcome many hurdles and gained the insight that peace agreements must begin between individuals, long before any signature ceremony on the lawns of the White House.

We hope to continue leading this field, to expand and widen our influence in additional neighborhoods, and to enhance the lives of yet more people. We have chosen a challenging mission and invite you to partner us in fulfilling it.

Shana Tova

May we all be at the head!

5779: a Summary


5779 was a particularly fruitful year for the IZS.

First, our decision to deal with the issues related to East Jerusalem were largely welcomed, both by the authorities and many residents. The demand for Hebrew courses as a tool for integration is such that while we opened the year with one class we are closing it with five, spread throughout the city.
We also gave bureaucratic support, responding to close to 400 requests. We helped translating and filling forms, connected residents to the relevant public services… In other words, we made sure the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem is expressed through taking responsability.
Second, the Institute has continued researching the fields of rights and duties, majority-minority relations, and National Liberal thought. Throughout the year we published 11 papers:

* Rights and Duties in Democratic Countries
* Overpopulation: a Threat to Israel’s Future?
* Family Reunification
* Law Enforcement in the Arab Sector
* The Status of Former Jewish Assets in Judea and Samaria
* Palestinian Laborers in the Israeli Construction Industry
* From Oslo until Today: Human Rights Report
* Internationalization of the Israeli Law
* Liberal Nationalism: an Anthology
* Tikkun Olam according to Jabotinsky
* Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox and Arab Sectors in the Israeli Academy

Third we pushed forward with the ‘Blue&White Human Rights’ programs at the crossings and through the pre-army Ethics course – Biglal Haruach.

At the crossings around Jerusalem we accompanied the massive infrastructure changes which allowed a drastic improve in the workers’ lines. We explained the meaning of these changes both to touring groups and the media.

We wish to thank our partners in the different programs, and welcome 5780 with the certainty of making it even better.

Students? Not too late to join our yearly internship!

 

IZS News

Meet our new research coordinator!

This month Amit Aizenman has joined the IZS team. Amit, a Jerusalem resident, was an intern at the Institute the past two years. He is the author of an international review of legal tools used in the war against terror; family reunion in the framework of the Nation State; the National Liberal Anthology.
Amit is a PHD student in a prestigious political science program at the Hebrew University. He holds a MA in political science and a BA in psychology and sociology, both from Bar Ilan University. His MA thesis dealt with conservative political thought.

He will replace Noa Lazimi, our research coordinator for the past two years. She accompanied the reserachers’ work with precision and passion, from topic framing to the various stages of writing, publication and beyond. Her work has contributed a lot to the Institute.

Wish them both good luck!

In the Media

* On the eve of the elections, IZS director Miri Shalem was invited by the Knesset Channel to talk about the possible outcomes.
* The Forward: groups like the IZS acting on the ground show the strength of the Israeli democracy.

The following articles were published by members of the Institute and contain references to a wide range of issues on the public agenda:

* Miri Shalem, CEO of the Institute, shows that behind the personal accusations, the two main parties are not so different politically. (The Jewish Journal)
* Israel Harel, founding president of the IZS, discusses Netanyahu’s options. (Haaretz)
* Nicolas Nissim Touboul, projects manager at the Institute, reveals the Hebron roots of Zionism. (The Jerusalem Post)

August 2019 Newsletter

By Newsletters

The CEO’s word


Shalom,

A new study published by the Institute this month assessed the success of government programs aimed at integrating Haredim and Arabs into mainstream education and the workforce. The study revealed an interesting finding whereby programs for Arab integration had a significantly higher success rate than those aimed at promoting Haredim integration.
This week, we heard MK Ayman Odeh’s declaration about his willingness to join a center-left coalition. After observing the low rate of Arab participation in the previous elections (49%) and in light of polls showing similar expectations in the upcoming elections, Odeh realized that the voters, primarily the younger ones, refrain from voting because they feel that their vote lacks any real influence, and because they have no interest in their elected representatives sitting in perpetual opposition. Their agenda is primarily civilian rather than political and focuses on the daily problems of the Arab sector.

Odeh’s demands include those that are easy to agree with such as the demand to curb the violence in the Arab sector, to collect weapons, for police action against crime organizations, and to establish an inter-departmental team to fight crime. Other demands cannot be agreed with such as revocation of the Nation State Law or halting the demolition of illegal buildings and the legalizing of illegal construction on privately-owned property.

If we ignore the demands for a moment and focus on the statement itself, we will find a clear correlation between our study and Odeh’s declaration: Israeli Arabs do indeed integrate well into Israeli society. They are bothered by their leaders’ incessant preoccupation with the Palestinian problem and prefer that they concentrate on improving the quality of life of Israel’s Arab population. The low voter turnout primarily indicates a lack of faith in their leadership. Odeh seemingly understands this however this may not suffice. The burden of proof is his – and ours. The political leadership and civilian society bear great responsibility towards Israeli Arabs. We at the Institute have begun implementing this responsibility in East Jerusalem. Our next step will be to do so in other Israeli-Arab towns and cities.

Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox and Arab Sectors in the Israeli Academy

We surveyed in depth the programs initiated between the years 2011-2016 by the Council for Higher Education that were aimed at integrating the Arab and Haredi populations into academia.

The program for integration of the Arab population in academia achieved relative success.

A 50% increase in the number of students in institutions of higher education. The representation of Arab students among all undergraduate students rose from approximately 11% to approximately 15%.
Diversification in study fields of fields of study: Between 2009-2010 and 2016-7, the ratio of Arab students in the engineering and architectural fields rose by 66%. During the same period, the Arab student representation in mathematics, computer science and exact sciences increased by 44%.
Dropout rate: No such success was achieved in this parameter. The dropout rate among Arab students remains very high compared to the non-Haredi Jewish sector.

In contrast, the program for integration of the Haredi population has been unsuccessful and failed to register significant achievements in any of the three parameters:

Number of students and in their representation in institutions of higher education: less than 80% of the set goal set was achieved ; the increase in the number of students, which was not one of the program’s goals, was because of the number of female students from the Haredi sector.
Diversification in study fields of fields of study: here too, the program’s goals remain unrealized. Between the academic years 2011-2 and 2014-5, a sharp increase of 80% was registered in the number of programs for Haredim, from 62 to 110. However, the overwhelming majority of the graduates choose to study education, a market with too few available jobs for the number of those seeking employment.
Dropout rate: the program’s achievements in this parameter are extremely worrying. According to the State Comptroller’s report, the rate of Haredi men dropping out of academic studies reaches about 46% while among female Haredim the dropout rate stands at approximately 28%

Click on the image for the interview of the author of the paper:

For the Complete Study

 

IZS News

Students in school year 5780? Join our interns program!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again we will open our doors to outstanding students willing to work with us on a variety of topics: research, East Jerusalem projects, video editing…
Contact us

Instructors for pre-army ethics course

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘For the Spirit’ classes will continue to thrive in highschools throughout Israel. Served in a fighting position in the IDF? Come join us!
Contact us

The IZS in the News


Why would a Zionist organization invest in East Jerusalem? The Jewish Chronicle has the answers.
The 5 Towns Jewish Times surveyed the changes in the crossings between Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria – and asked us about our activities there. (click on the picture for the video piece)

 

 

Publications by members of the Institute:

 

Miri Shalem, CEO of the IZS, wonders what Tlaib and Omar could have learned about the real Israeli civil society. (Yedioth Ahronoth)
Israel Harel, founder of the IZS, describes how those in charge of protecting the law bypass it. (Haaretz)
Noa Lazimi, our reseach coordinator, explains why developing East Jerusalem is an Israeli interest.

June 2019 Newsletter

By Newsletters

CEO’s Remarks

The Institute for Zionist Strategies is proud and delighted to present this anthology of essays, articles and contemplative expositions on “liberal nationalism”.
We tend today to regard the phrase “liberal nationalism” as a strange hybrid that amalgamates contradictory values. The concept of “liberal nationalism” is commonly attacked on three grounds. Firstly, nationalism is perceived as a value granting preference to one nation over another and therefore as being at odds with humane liberal values which emphasis the centrality of the individual. The very definition of nationalism occupies a central position in contemporary discussions of political philosophy. Secondly, the definition “liberalism” is vague and unclear while being bandied about daily and used to express a range of different, and even, conflicting views. The third argument is that the very connection between the concepts “nationalism” and “liberalism” is occasionally perceived as an oxymoron. Consequently, the nationalist-liberal theory is sometimes attacked as untrue, inconsistent and incomplete.

The Institute for Zionist Strategies seeks to promote a liberal-national outlook, advocating the belief that an inherent component of human rights supports every person’s right to national self-definition. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the theory of Roy Baumeister, this self-definition is the means to self-fulfillment while the right to a sense of belonging and identity is the realization of a basic psychological need.

The liberal-national view advocates that nationalism is intended to serve the individual, not to enslave him. Accordingly, there is no contradiction between Jabotinsky’s statements that: “In the beginning, God created the individual” and “In the beginning, God created the nation”. Jabotinsky claimed that humans gather together into a group, community or state in order to improve their standard of living and to increase the liberty of each of its members.

Jabotinsky supported the assumption that the nation is the desired vehicle for a person’s self-fulfillment. He viewed it as a natural entity for an individual to belong to – just as a person is born to a mother and father, so too he is born to his people and it is only within the broad national context of this framework, and through a bond to its unique culture, that a system of collective self-expression can be formed without one culture diminishing from or compelling another.

We invite you to peruse this anthology and to delve deeper with us into the liberal-national perception.

Liberal Nationalism: an Anthology

The etymology of the word “anthology” indicates its origins in ancient Greek and means “bouquet of flowers”. An anthology gathers the best literary works and presents them to the reader while coalescing them around a specific subject, common theme, or similar artistic motifs. In so doing, it enables the contemporary reader access to remote and concealed textual sources he may otherwise have lacked the inclination or time to pursue. Nevertheless, this anthology involves more demanding requirements. It does not merely offer its readers the opportunity to inhale and bask in the fragrance of ancient and contemporary political literature but rather, imposes upon them the obligation to ponder and contemplate.

One of the most common political concepts in our public discourse is “liberal nationalism”. Although many may claim to know of the origins of this ideological variation and its prominent proponents throughout history, its present-day meaning its somewhat vague. A heated argument rages between scholars, polemicists, and politicians as to the essence of national liberalism, and it is not this anthology’s intention to stymie this lively discussion. In practice, it may well be the nature of ideology to change form according to the manner it is understood in any specific place and time, such that any effort to arrive at a final and absolute definition is doomed to failure. We have therefore chosen to tread a different path here.

Naturally, when an editor is required to gather compositions and determine whether they are destined to be published or neglected, every choice or non-choice may potentially result in grievance on the part of participating scholars. Categorizing and classifying ideas is important however the analytical distinctions between similar contributions are, on occasion, too amorphous and do not necessarily further the intellectual discussion.
The political vision that the Institute of Zionist Strategies is attempting to formulate is located somewhere between the curves in the road, the peaks and the valleys that comprise the national-liberal landscape. We invite you to join us in exploring this anthology and to become our partners in the resultant ideological journey.
For the complete study

East Jerusalem


A single figure indicative of the tremendous deficiency in access to public institutions enjoyed by the residents of East Jerusalem.According to the 2018 report issued by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, the residents of the city’s Arab neighborhoods make up only 22% of those receiving a discount the city tax (arnona). This is while they comprise 38% of the city’s total population and the overwhelming majority of its poor.

Receiving an approval for reduction in arnona is subject to clear criteria and supposed to be granted upon request without need for personal consideration of a municipality official. The discrepancy in the number of recipients stems therefore from the residents’ lack of familiarity with the workings of the relevant municipal and state institutions.

Such unfamiliarity has a detrimental influence, not only on the local population’s trust in those same institutions, but also on the entire city economy. Ultimately, improving the standard of living in the Arab neighborhoods is therefore an interest of all parties.
Over recent months, we have assisted dozens of East Jerusalem residents to receive a reduction on their arnona, many of whom were not even aware that such an option existed, not to mention entertaining the possibility that they may be eligible for it.

IZS News


This summer, the Institute is opening its doors to a group of students from North America who are coming to specialize in our research division.

They will be asked to assist in studying the manners in which democratic countries contend with separatist groups and the radicalization processes of some in the U.S Democrat camp in their stance towards Israel.
For further details on volunteering, internship, research and Hebrew teaching possibilities, please contact: info@izs.org.il

The Institute in the media

Miri Shalem was the guest of the political talk show ‘Mishkan Halayla’ on the Knesset TV. There she dealt with the returning elections and the potential window of opportunity for women in politics.

 

The following articles were published by members of the Institute and contain references to a wide range of issues on the public agenda:

Miri Shalem, CEO of the Institute, reveals the true meaning of the potential political deal between Orly Levy and Alona Barkat.
Israel Harel, founding president of the IZS, explains how the Supreme Court ends up undermining equality of opportunity for Arabs. (Haaretz)
Aryeh Green, research fellow at the IZS, details Jabotinsky’s social thought. (Hashiloach)

July 2019 newsletter – Adopt an Intern

By Newsletters

Dear Readers-Partners,

In the previous newsletters we told you about the amazing work we have had the privilege of undertaking this year in East Jerusalem. We call it “amazing” because that’s what our partners call it. Senior officials in the Israel Police Force tell us how the Hebrew studies classrooms spread over several focal points in East Jerusalem are increasing the students’ sense of belonging, reducing their alienization and, thereby, also contributing to a lowering of terror activity.

Ramadan, the mukhtar of Zur Baher and Khaled, the director of the local community center, tell us of the good work being done by our volunteers in the civil rights’ center. They talk the residents’ language, understand their needs, provide them polite and efficient service, relate to them with respect and patience – even calling them in the evening to ensure that a problem was solved, and provide them access to all the services they need and any payments to which they are entitled.

Senior officials in the Jerusalem municipality tell us how important and meaningful our work is and of the significant impact it is having on the ground.


We want to expand this activity and are therefore inviting you to join us in supporting the “Adopt an Intern” Project.

The 130 hours service to the community provided by each of our interns costs us NIS 10000.

We invite you to adopt an intern by covering 50% of the cost of the scholarship – NIS 5000 – and we will match the other half.

This is your opportunity to have a real influence, to generate a genuine change in the lives of our Jerusalem neighbors, to repair the fabric of relations in the city and to connect its divided pieces.
Only NIS 5000 for one intern who has a name and a face and who can add light to the world and do good in your name.

The donation can be sent by check to “The Institute for Zionist Strategies” (with the details of the donor), by bank transfer or via PayPal.

The donation is recognized for tax purposes under Clause 46.

Help us double the number of our interns, to reach more and more neighborhoods, and to help

 

Tikkun Olam According to Jabotinsky and as Reflected in his Socio-Economic Creed

”The Lord has created this world such as it is, but Man should not agree to leave it ‘such as it is’. ‘Such as it is’ the world is full of defects. It is Man’s mission to improve it.”
Zeev Jabotinsky, ”The Social Philosophy of the Bible” (1932)

This month we invite you to delve deeper into the philosophy of the esteemed Zionist leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and familiarize yourselves with his view of the concept of ‘Tikkun Olam’ (lit. repair of the world). This study offers an in-depth analysis of Jabotinsky’s perception of a person’s role within the society in which he lives. Furthermore, the essay presents the manner in which the expressions of Jabotinsky’s view are reflected in his attitude towards socio-economic issues.
Jabotinsky, who is frequently accused of having adopted occasionally conflicting political persuasions, is revealed here as a liberty-seeking statesman who believed in the individual’s ability to enhance the world around him while still demonstrating sensitivity towards the weaker members of society.

This essay is presented as part of our “Kol Koreh” project publishing outstanding academic essays.

Click on the image for the interview of the author of the paper:

For the Complete Study

East Jerusalem


Every year, radical Islamic organizations take advantage of the vacuum created during the summer vacation to run activities for children that incite the youth in East Jerusalem against Israel.

This summer, the Institute has responded to a request from the Israel Police to offer an alternative. We are currently conducting two Hebrew classes for youngsters from the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood.
Even in such a complex place, there is no lack of residents looking to give their the children the necessary tools for their future in Israel. This is a critical and welcome trend that we are witnessing to some degree or other throughout East Jerusalem. After 52 years, it’s definitely time.

IZS News

Students in school year 5780? Join our interns program!


Once again we will open our doors to outstanding students willing to work with us on a variety of topics: research, East Jerusalem projects, video editing…
Contact us

 

 

Instructors for pre-army ethics course


‘For the Spirit’ classes will continue to thrive in highschools throughout Israel. Served in a fighting position in the IDF? Come join us!
Contact us

 

 

Call for outstanding academic papers


Once a semester we publish an academic paper dealing with a political-social issue relevant to the IZS activities.
Contact us

 

Pensioners? Volunteer with us a few hours a week!


We have several options for people willing to deal with education and bureaucratic counseling in East Jerusalem.
Contact us

 

 

The IZS in the News


Journalist and writer Yifat Erlich visited our activities in Sur Baher and reported how important it is in her Yediot Aharonot column.
From Tiberias to Ramat Gan the Shabbath wars are back in the news. Globes magazine based their report on this ongoing issue on our Shabbath and business activites researches.

Tikkun Olam According to Jabotinsky

By Recent, Rights, Duties and Law

This month we invite you to delve deeper into the philosophy of the esteemed Zionist leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and familiarize yourselves with his view of the concept of ‘Tikkun Olam’ (lit. repair of the world). This study offers an in-depth analysis of Jabotinsky’s perception of a person’s role within the society in which he lives. Furthermore, the essay presents the manner in which the expressions of Jabotinsky’s view are reflected in his attitude towards socio-economic issues. Jabotinsky, who is frequently accused of having adopted occasionally conflicting political persuasions, is revealed here as a liberty-seeking statesman who believed in the individual’s ability to enhance the world around him while still demonstrating sensitivity towards the weaker members of society.

This essay is presented as part of our “Kol Koreh” project publishing outstanding academic essays.

To the full research…

Getting To The Roots Of Liberal Nationalism

By Nation State, Recent

This month we invite you to get to the roots of liberal nationalism. In a time when the idea of a nation-state is too often portrayed as contradictory to personal liberties, it is important to remember that the evolution of national thinking went hand in hand with a liberal worldview. From Mazzini, Mill and Renan in Europe, to Jabotinsky and Wolzer in the Jewish discourse, the concept of liberal nationalism has been well-established and seems to carry a very relevant message to our modern society.

read more…

Internationalization of Israeli Law: European Support of NGOs Appeals to the Israeli Supreme Court (follow-up study)

By Recent, Rights, Duties and Law

This study details the manner in which human rights organizations receiving funding from European governments promote political objectives through systematic petitioning to Israeli courts. Our study focused on three case studies: forced feeding of prisoners on hunger strikes; illegal immigrants and asylum seekers; and the demolition of terrorists’ homes, and examined the main petitions submitted on these issues by the organizations or on their behalf. The study aimed to evaluate the different influences of the many petitions in each of these fields. The main findings are presented below:

With regard to the forced feeding of prisoners, the human rights organizations’ appeals focused international public attention on the policy of the Israeli government attempting to contend with security prisoners, and contributed to the continued excessive and extortive demands from the security prisoners. Nevertheless, in reality, the High Court of Justice approved the legality of the current arrangement of force feeding and it would appear that most of the damage in this area amounts to harm caused to the State of Israel’s image and in promotion of the Palestinian narrative depicting the prisoners as freedom fighters.

With regard to the Prevention of Infiltration Law and the government’s policy aimed at eradicating the phenomenon of illegal immigration to Israel, the petitions submitted by the human rights organizations have had an extremely inhibitive influence on legislative efforts and on attempts to promote policy measures to curb this phenomenon. Following these petitions, the High Court of Justice revoked the legislation during several rounds of legal proceedings, causing, according to government sources, marked damage to the state’s ability to fight the phenomenon of illegal immigration.

With regard to the issue of demolition of terrorists’ homes, it is apparent that despite the many petitions promoted or aided by the human rights organizations, there has been no fundamental change in government policy and the military commander still maintains a high level of discretion, subject to various reservations determined by the High Court of Justice. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that these petitions delayed demolitions, sometimes for many months, a reality that may have harmed the effectiveness of this deterrent in the war against terror.  

Moreover, it is apparent from the findings that the activity of these organizations significantly influences the public and juridical discourse in Israel – both at local and international levels – surrounding the decision-making process and, all the more so, with regard to the State of Israel’s foreign relations.

Several recommendations were formulated in light of the study. First, effort should be made to increase the transparency of these organizations’ activity, from both ends of the political spectrum (e.g. exposing funding sources of organizations petitioning the court or joining a petition as a “friend of the court – amicus curiae). In addition, it seems advisable to consider the option of reducing the right of standing in law to direct victims only, while limiting the incentive for powerful “return players” such as human rights organizations with large financial resources.

To the full research…

From Oslo to Today: Human Rights Report

By Recent, Rights, Duties and Law

This study conducted a broad survey of three human rights issues in Judea and Samaria: employment of Palestinians in Israel, treatment of Palestinian patients in Israeli hospitals, and the functioning of the crossing points. The study examined the Israeli policy for each of the three issues and the implementation of that policy since the Oslo Accords until today, 25 years after the agreements were signed. The main findings are presented below:

Employment of Palestinians in Israel

The general trend in Israeli policy since Oslo is one of increased employment and economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In the eyes of the Israeli government, as long as the security situation allows it, the economic cooperation expressed by an increase in the number of Palestinians employed in Israel leads to positive results, both from an economic and security perspective. Nevertheless, flaws were found in the manner of employment and in the protection of employees’ rights.

  • Since the Oslo Accords and until today, there has been a general trend of increased numbers of Palestinian employees in Israel, except for isolated exceptions, most of which occurred during sensitive periods from a security perspective. In 1996, the number of work permits stood at approximately 25,000, in 2011, this figure had risen to about 37,000, and by 2017 had reached 85,000.
  • Flaws were found in the current employment method which resulted in an infringement of the Palestinian workers’ rights to social benefits: improper employment contracts, a lack of provisions for retirement, and ineligibility for vacation and sick allowance.
  • In order to rectify the flaws, the government decided in 2016 on the implementation of a reform in the manner of Palestinian workers’ employment that included a placement program for Palestinian workers and the option of limited entry into Israel without the need for a request from an employer. A series of other steps aimed at guaranteeing the workers’ rights was also introduced.

 

Receipt of Medical Treatment in Israel


The area of medical treatment received by Palestinians in Israel has also been characterized by a trend of increased cooperation. This trend was due to diplomatic, security, economic, and moral reasons. At the same time, the congestion caused in certain departments because of treatment given to Palestinian patients, as well as the Palestinian Authority’s huge debt owed to Israeli hospitals, constitute a significant burden which requires immediate attention.

  • Between 2003-2017, there was a marked increase in the number of entry permits given to Palestinians in order to receive medical treatment in Israel. The number of permits rose from 19,488 in 2003 to 93,770 in 2017.
  • The hospital departments with the highest number of Palestinian patients are the pediatric departments. A study conducted by the Knesset Research and Information Center found that 51% of all Palestinian hospitalization days were in departments designated for children.
  • The Palestinian Authority refrains from transferring full payment for the treatments and has accumulated a huge debt to Israeli hospitals. A study conducted by the Knesset Research and Information Center revealed that in 2017 the Palestinian Authority’s outstanding debt to hospitals in Israel stood at approximately 40.36 million shekels.
  • In recent years, the proportion of permits for treatment in hospitals throughout Israel rose compared to that of the permits issued for treatment in East Jerusalem hospitals.

 

Crossing Points between the Palestinian Authority and Israel

Reports issued by the State Ombudsman and ongoing reports prepared by the Institute over recent years, have revealed findings regarding flaws at the crossing points from Judea and Samaria. The main finding requiring attention is related to the completion of the civilianization process (the replacement of soldiers with civilian staff in the management of the crossings). It seems that rectification of this shortcoming would result in better service and a high level of security for those using the crossings. Until then, specific congestion can be alleviated by opening additional crossings during peak hours, such as opening the Beitar Crossing for workers during morning hours, a step that would lessen the burden on the Rachel Crossing. Increasing personnel would also enable the opening of additional “sleeves” whenever the congestion increases.

  • Since the decision in 2005 regarding civilianization of the crossings, 13 of the 33 crossings have been fully civilianized. There are 16 more crossings in the Jerusalem periphery where only security is civilian and 4 IDF crossings that have yet to be civilianized.
  • Civilianization of the crossings has led to better and more efficient functioning and to a higher level of service provided to their users. According to the report of the Land Crossings Authority, the waiting time during peak hours does not exceed 20 minutes at any of the civilianized crossings. By contrast, at the crossings yet to be civilianized, an Institute report found waiting times of between 30-60 minutes.
  • In light of the increased use of the crossings over the years, infrastructures have been upgraded at the various crossings. The rate of these works is faster at civilianized crossings.  

to the full research…

An Examination of the Policy of Employing Palestinian Laborers in the Israeli Construction Industry

By Demographics, Recent

This article surveys the long-standing Israeli policy in the field of employing Palestinian laborers from Judea and Samaria in Israel and presents the changes that have occurred in this policy since the beginning of Israeli control over Judea and Samaria.

Impetus for conducting this study was rooted in the personal testimonies that have steadily accumulated over recent years regarding the infringements of the Palestinian laborers’ social benefits rights and of the flaws in the distribution of permits to Israeli employers which have a detrimental effect upon the efficiency of the Israeli construction sector.

In this study, we related to the shortcomings presented in the State Ombudsman’s Report for 2014. The report indicated the lack of a uniform and systemized policy for allocating permits to employers, a lack of supervision over the awarding of social benefits to Palestinian laborers, and to the existence of a restrictive arrangement which results in Palestinian laborers being obligated to work for a single Israeli employer without the option of transferring to another. One very negative consequence of this arrangement is the dependence of laborers in agents to ensure the continuity of their employment, a service which costs them a high percentage of their income.

In light of these shortcomings, we examined the effectiveness of the reform in this field authorized by the Ministry of Finance in October 2018. The study found that the reform solves most of the problems caused by the existing policy and can be primarily successful in negating the cartel and in increasing enforcement aimed at ensuring provision of social benefits for laborers in accordance with the terms of Israeli law.

Finally, the study recommends complementary measures to the reform, including ongoing guidance for Palestinian laborers regarding their social benefits and the imposition of financial penalties on contractors who were found to have used the services of agents. The study also highlights the importance of establishing the payments and clearing system with the Palestinian Authority as recommended by the reform. This system will serve to prevent cash payment to the laborers, payment that increases the risk of infringement of the laborers’ social benefits rights.

To the full research…

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