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Miri Shalem

May 2019 Newsletter: Violence in the Israeli Arab Community: Survey and Analysis

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The COVID-19 has not frozen everything. Early police reports for this spring report a change in criminality, and a surge in specific forms of crimes, such as violence inside the family. The Israeli Arab community traditionnally is a hotspot of endemic crime, and arguments over the resons for it have long been used and misused for political blame games on all sides. This month we offer a deeper analysis of this plague, based on most recent data.

Violence in the Israeli Arab Community: Survey and Analysis
The violence in Israel’s Arab community has, for the last two decades, been a real problem requiring attention and resolution. During the last year, the situation has reached an unprecedented new low: 92 murder victims that account for more than 60% of the country’s total murder cases, and this, while the Arab sector constitutes approximately 20% of the general population. This study sought to undertake a comprehensive examination of the issue.
We pondered whether it would be possible, after comparing the data and standardizing it to the size of Israel’s Arab population, to identify a clear trend and provide a rationale for the various figures. It is possible, we believe, that the changes in the number of murder cases in the Arab community over recent years are too minor to accord them excessive significance. Nevertheless, even if we cannot identify a deterioration in the situation, the problem should be addressed using the state tools at the government’s disposal.
The police has adopted a two-faced policy in addressing this problem. The establishment of the Israel Police Force’s Arab Sector Administration was intended to strengthen its connection with the Arab community, both by opening police stations in Arab towns and cities and by adding jobs specifically for Muslim police officers. Another measure adopted was the “City Without Violence” Model of urban policing for contending with the different forms of violence, especially among young people. We then presented the State Comptroller’s Report for 2018 which examined police activity and its efforts to reduce violence and the use of weapons in the Arab community.
The degree of sympathy and support received by the police from Arab citizens necessarily influences its effectiveness and success, all the more so when it may testify to its failure as an organization operating with, and alongside, citizens and communities. Indeed, we found that public trust in the police force influences the degree of police efficiency which, in turn, re-influences public trust in the police. The Israel Police Force has yet to successfully extricate itself from this vicious circle, a fact that only serves to illustrate the problematic nature of its position.
According to our understanding, this violence should be viewed as stemming both from internal-cultural causes and from external-establishment factors. The internal causes include deep-rooted cultural norms, a traditional social structure, and culture handed down from one generation to the next, while among the external factors are the Israeli government attitude towards Arab society, the physical resources invested in solving its problems, and the infrastructures that facilitate the spread of violence.

The Arab community itself would seem to be responsible for addressing the problem’s internal-cultural causes. This is a slow and painful process that the Arab community must engage in with itself. As any social process related to changing traditional social norms, this process too must also take place bottom-up whereby the community itself seeks to change its own lifestyle. Such a process, even if seemingly taken for granted and understood, could take many years with only a limited ability to exert any external influence on it.

Regarding the external-establishment factors – the government plans that were aimed at addressing the Arab neighborhoods, the Arab education system, and the employment options open to this sector are those that will make a positive contribution to the wider circles of the struggle against violence in the Arab society. Furthermore, in addition to bolstering the police ranks with members of the Arab community, action should also be taken to enhance the police training programs. Studies at the National Police Academy should also include courses that deal with policing in a multi-ethnic society. This should include learning Arabic and the police’s sensitive role in the conflict with the State of Israel’s Arab community. In order to improve police operation in Israeli Arab society, a supervised body should be established to routinely assess police conduct, assist in identifying shortcomings, and help address them. Its conclusions will be transparent and available to the public and members will also include representatives from the Israeli Arab community.

For the Complete Study


With the gradual reopening of the Israeli society and the end of the Ramadan period, we are glad to announce our field activity is back to normal. After over two months of distance learning, and together with the education system, we are now operating our Hebrew courses in East Jerusalem in regular classes, while keeping the Health Ministry’s safety measures.

April 2020 newsletter: The Rise of the Radical Right and Anti-Semitism: Three European Case Studies

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A day after Yom Ha’atzmaut it is good to remember that although Israel has given Jews a haven from antisemitism, this phenomenon remains an all too accute issue today. Our monthly paper focuses on the political contexts behind contemporary European antisemitism. Throughout the 20th century it was tightly connected to nationalist movements throughout the continent. Hence, their comeback in the past years has raised concerns among local Jewish communities. In this research we measured the strength of this connection in the 21st century in three countries hosting most of the European Jewry: France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The Rise of the Radical Right and Anti-Semitism: Three European Case Studies

This study is published with the support of the World Zionist Oranization. It examines the connection between the rise of the radical right and antisemitism in three West European countries. Throughout the previous century, populistic nationalist movements were typified by a link to antisemitic views and dissemination of those views in the public domain. It is no wonder therefore that the resurgence of extreme right-wing parties and their re-appearance on the center of the political stage is arousing grave concern of increased antisemitism among many Jews.
In recent years, claims have been voiced linking radical right parties and antisemitism and the current study therefore proposes to examine the correlation between these two phenomena in order to determine the radical right parties’ degree of responsibility for the deteriorating security of the local Jewish communities. In order to ascertain the answer, we examined the three countries with the largest Jewish communities in Western Europe: France, Britain and Germany.
The study opens with a survey including an ideological analysis of the radical right, and subsequently designates the time period used to examine the correlation between the growth and strengthening of the radical right-wing party in teach country and the level of antisemitism. To this end, the study uses several indices of antisemitism: antisemitic incidents and violent attacks, and the prevalence of antisemitic stereotypes in civil society.
Since the re-emergence of the National Rally Party (formerly: The National Front) in its new form, led since 2011 by Marine Le Pen, there has been no general rise in the number of antisemitic incidents or in the level of identification with antisemitic statements.
A quantitative scrutiny of the violent outbursts that occurred in certain months and reports of victims of antisemitism indicates a higher prevalence of attacks with an anti-Israel and Islamic background than those related to nationalist radical right factors.

Statistical analysis of the antisemitism figures within the designated time period reveals no connection between the growth of the UKIP Party and the increase in the number of antisemitic incidents.
The rise in antisemitism in particular and in hate crimes in general appears to have occurred around the time of the debate on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and extended beyond the limits of the radical right’s influence.
The rise in power of the Alternative for Germany Party does not correspond with the increase in the number of antisemitic incidents during the time period analyzed.
According to the data in our possession, the radical right does play a role in the phenomenon of antisemitism however this is significantly less than that published by the German authorities in 2018.
In our opinion, the radical right is not the main motive for antisemitism in Western Europe today, and the changes in the degree of antisemitism – should they exist – are not specifically related to its political strength.



For the Complete Study

The Best of Zionist thought – now on your bookshelf


Get ready for Jerusalem Day! Our ‘HaZman’ series, booklets of Zionist thought centered on the Jewish calendar’ are up for sale. So far we have published five issues:

– מה עניין שמיטה אצל הציונות?
– תקומה וחורבן: בין זיכרון לשיכחה
– מהודו ועד כוש – ציונות מזרחית-ספרדית: יש דברים כאלה
– נשים בציונות: לוקחות גורלן בידיהן
– 3000 שנים של ירושלים בהגות ובשיר


Each booklet is available for 50NIS, the whole collection for 220NIS. Details and orders: +972-2-581-7196

The IZS in the News

In addition to the Jerusalem Post piece, our reasearch on contemporary Europan antisemitism was featured on the German website Die Achse des Guten, and a critique of it was published by the Forward.

March 2020 Newsletter: Meet our Students – Adapting our work to COVID-19

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CEO’s Word

Shalom Miri_3
We are in the midst of a difficult period – the Corona period. This year, when we sit around the Pesach Seder table and ask: “Why is this night different from all other nights”, there will be no shortage of answers because much has changed.
For me personally, a great deal is different. My dear father and teacher, Prof. Ma’aravi Peretz, a renowned scholar of bible studies and medieval bible commentary, passed away a month ago. This week, on the 8th of Nisan, he would have celebrated his 80th birthday.

Aside from my private sorrow and grief, we are confronted with many other questions:

How is it that in the season when nature appears in all its beauty, with its blossoming flowers, spring atmosphere and a sense of renewal that all call on us to leave our winter hibernation and take in the beauty outside, we must now each confine ourselves to our own homes?

How is it that on the Seder night, the night when we all sit together around the same table, when we are specifically commanded to tell our children the story of the Jewish People, we will this year sit alone in our own homes, our family atmosphere divided into separate units, and not together as one “tribe”?

How is it that the holiday born out of haste, when the Children of Israel were in such a hurry to leave Egypt that their dough didn’t rise in time, we are now sitting at home, not hurrying anywhere? The pace of our lives has slowed dramatically, and our Pesach preparations are being done at a leisurely pace.

Here at the Institute we are also asking what has changed this year – and a great deal has changed.

Last Pesach, we had one Hebrew studies class in East Jerusalem and a single civil rights center in a one East Jerusalem neighborhood.

This year on Pesach, we have 10 Hebrew studies classes and 2 civil rights centers in 7 East Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Although we too have reduced the scope of our activity due to the Corona crisis, we are still trying to continue with the help of technology. We are helping people exercise their rights as part of the crisis, teaching Hebrew online, and preparing for the period after the crisis. We invite you to read further details about our activities in this newsletter.

Chag Sameach – Happy Pesach and wishes for better times.
Miri Shalem

Meet our Students!

This year’s internship program enables us to continue leveraging the Institute’s activity. Our students accompany us throughout the academic year, each in his own field of expertise. They come from different academic institutions (The Hebrew University, Shalem College, Haifa University, Herzog College and others). Most of them are presented here – we wish to express our gratitude for their valuable work in research, at the security crossings, and in education of IDF values, civil rights and Hebrew courses.


___________11We would also like to take this opportunity to share with you tour map of this year’s field-activity as part of our East Jerusalem ‘OptimEAST – Sovereignty with Responsibility’ projects. Our interns conduct 10 Hebrew studies classes in Tzur Baher, Silwan, The Mount of Olives, Issawiya, Shuafat, and Bayt Hanina. They also help to provide a response for bureaucratic issues and connect the local population to relevant government bodies in Tzur Baher and Abu Tor. And finally, as in previous years, we are continuing our activity at the security crossings on the outskirts of Jerusalem (Rachel/300 and Kalandia).


IZS Activities under the Cloud of the COVID-19 Virus

Like the rest of the economy, we are currently contending with the ramifications of the Corona epidemic. If researchers and scholars are relatively immune to the restrictions on movement and social gatherings, we have made great effort to limit the damage to the scope of our field activities by transferring as much as possible to online platforms. Zoom, WhatsApp and Google Drive have proven their efficiency in assisting effective remote learning.


There is another aspect to the Corona crisis. Effective governance difficulties are heightened during periods of emergency. There are already reports indicating that East Jerusalem may be one of the epicenters of the outbreak due to the combination of suspicion towards the authorities and a lack of awareness.

___________11We view the present crisis as a classic challenge of “sovereignty with responsibility” and are therefore also taking part in efforts to raise awareness among the local residents. Among others, we helped a ‘Magen David Adom’ team to translate and edit an explanatory video clip about the drive-in Corona testing stations.


In the News

* CBN News on the importance of our Hebrew courses
* Ritual immersion and Corona: The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel and Israel Hayom surveyed the debate over the halakhic opinion that recommends women to refrain from immersing in most of the mikvaot in Israel due to fears of infection. The ruling was based on, and quotes, our 2015 study that surveys the deficiencies in sanitary supervision of the mikvaot in Israel.

February 2020 Newsletter: Emigration from Israel – Problem or Opportunity?

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Shalom טובי

Emigration from Israel is an issue which has fed existential fears since before the independance of the State of Israel. However, throughout the decades, the nature, characteristics and scope of emigratiom have changed a lot. In this month’s research we dived into the figures behind the fantasies and tried to make sense of the phenomenon in 2020.

Also in the newsletter: the best of Zionsit thought, and important media coverage of the IZS activities.

Emigration from Israel: Problem or Opportunity?
What are the factors behind ‘yerida’ – emigation from Israel? What have been its main characteristics throughout time? This study examined the phenomenon of emigration from Israel over recent decades and the emigrant communities in the main countries of destination.

Uri Altman describes the change in Israeli society’s attitude towards the emigrants – from a critical view deploring their abandonment of the Zionist vision to an understanding, almost admiring attitude hoping for their return in the near future.
The main reason for emigration from Israel over recent decades is the desire for a better standard of living. Despite Israel’s complex security reality, this consideration was of only minor importance in the decision to leave. In reality, emigrants from Israel are not unlike other emigrants worldwide who seek new professional and economic opportunities in richer, more developed countries, while maintaining a connection with family and society in their country of origin, a task made simpler with the widespread use of the internet
The data for the last decade reveals that emigration from Israel has slowed markedly and stands at a level comparable to parallel global figures. Both the rate of those emigrating and of the overall immigration balance (the difference between the number of Israelis emigrating and the number of returning Israelis) are in constant and significant decline.

Furthermore, a significant proportion of the emigrants are themselves new immigrants to Israel such that the fluctuation in the number of emigrants can often be attributed to trends of immigration to Israel during those same years. A high rate of emigration was found among Israelis who are graduates of higher education and whose professional advancement almost inevitably involves a tenure of several years at foreign universities. Action must be taken by policy makers to redress this situation and to enable a smooth return for those leaving Israel in general, and particularly for those from the academic sphere.
The prominent communities of Israelis around the world today are in the United States, Germany, and England. The majority of emigrants from Israel move to the US and the Israeli community in America has in recent years become an organized community and even one wielding political power. The community organizations attempt to contend with the weakening Israeli and Jewish identity of the second generation of emigrant Israelis who tend to assimilate fully into the American environment in which they are raised.
The Israelis in Germany differ from other Israeli emigrants: they are considered as more secular and as possessing views more critical of Israel. While most emigrants from Israel express pride in their Israeliness and frequently ponder returning, a significant segment of the Israelis in Germany left Israel with a negative feeling for the country and do not see themselves returning in the future. Despite the media attention gained by Israelis in Germany, especially those in Berlin, studies conducted in recent years estimate the number of Israelis currently living in Germany at approximately 25 thousand, only about 4% of all Israelis living in the Diaspora.

In contrast to the Israelis living in Germany, those in England express positive sentiments towards Israel and many even consider the option of returning. The relative geographical proximity between the two countries in contrast to other English-speaking countries, has made England a relatively comfortable emigration destination. The Israeli community in England is also in the process of economic and political organization, a result of the lack of connection between themselves and the local Jewish community, a common phenomenon in most emigration countries.
Following more than 70 years during which the State of Israel has been transformed from an impoverished refugee-absorbing country into an economic and military power, there is every reason for strong Israeli self-confidence, even vis-à-vis those Israelis living in the Diaspora. The State of Israel should not regard these emigrants as a threat to its internal strength but rather, build, together with them, a bridge that will reinforce their Israeli identity, especially among the second generation who tend to assimilate into the familiar local environment, thereby enabling them an inviting route back that will increase the chances of their future return to Israel.

For the Complete Study

The Best of Zionist thought – now on your bookshelf


We are proud to announce our ‘HaZman’ series, booklets of Zionist thought centered on the Jewish calendar’ are now up for sale. So far we have published five issues:



– מה עניין שמיטה אצל הציונות?
– תקומה וחורבן: בין זיכרון לשיכחה
– מהודו ועד כוש – ציונות מזרחית-ספרדית: יש דברים כאלה
– נשים בציונות: לוקחות גורלן בידיהן
– 3000 שנים של ירושלים ב בהגות ובשיר

Each booklet is available for 50NIS, the whole collection for 220NIS. Details and orders: +972-2-581-7196


The IZS team is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Prof. Maaravi Peretz, father of our CEO Miri Shalem. Peretz, born in Tunisia and educated in England, was a professor of biblical studies at Bar-Ilan University. His field of research was medieval Sephardic commentaries on the Torah. He died at the age of 79.


The IZS in the News

* The Washington Post: Israel aims to unite Jerusalem with better city services. Arabs want political change.

* The Jerusalem Post: Rise of far Right not the main source of antisemitism in Europe – IZS study shows.

* Nicolas Nissim Touboul, projects manager at the IZS, shows how BDS supporters misused a tragedy in Jerusalem for Israel bashing, and what story this tragedy actually tells (JTA).

*IZS researcher Nadav Lawrence explains how Israel could handle the radicalization processes in the Democratic Party (Arutz7).

January 2020 Newsletter: The Radicalization of the Democratic Party

By Newsletters

The 2020 US presidential election is alreday raising interest among the Israeli public. Talks about the growing distance between the Jewish State and parts of the Democratic Party are becoming widespread. In our monthly research we have tried to measure this phenomenon and analyze its sources.

The Radicalization of the Democratic Party

Our paper this month charts the changing attitudes towards Israel within the American Democratic Party. The paper surveys the historically close relationship between the party and American Jewry which endured throughout the 20th century, as well as almost universal support in the party for the special bond between the US and Israel.

The paper then moves to consider the context in which that universal support has begun to crumble and to investigate the change in rhetoric by prominent Democrats. This section looks at the cooling of relations between the US and Israel during Barak Obama’s presidency, as well as anti-Israel rhetoric which is voiced by several prominent figures in the party such as Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
The next section of the paper investigates the changing attitudes towards Israel within the Democratic grassroots, with opinions being divided between the ‘moderate’ mainstream of the party and the more ‘liberal’ wing, which is where the bulk of anti-Israel sentiment is coming from.

The next chapter looks at the historic support of American Jewry for the Democratic Party and asks what impact, if any, changing attitudes towards Israel will have on the Jewish vote.

At this point the paper turns to examine the causes for the change in attitudes towards liberal democrats. The paper focuses on how radical left-wing ideology frames the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the impact that this has on shaping negative views about Israel. Changing demographics within American society are also assessed for their impact on discourse about Israel within society as a whole and the Democratic Party in particular.
In concluding, the paper offers suggestions for how negative attitudes towards Israel and narratives often put forward by radical liberals can be challenged and how Israel and its advocates can reshape discourse about the country among the American left.

For the complete research


Meanwhile, on the ground

Israel beyond the wall. This month we have gladely accepted the Israeli police request to provide bureaucratic assistance to residents of the Shuafat camp, a Jerusalem area beyond the separation fence. It is good to see the security establishment understands better public services make for a steadier, safer city.
Meanwhile, we have met several groups of American students (George Mason, Penn, Austin), eager to hear about a national liberal vision for Israel they are ususally not exposed to.

In the Media

The Jerusalem Post: If Israel and its supporters are to begin challenging negative attitudes toward the country on the Left, they must begin to speak the language of the Left.
Knesset Channel hosted IZS CEO Miri Shalem on the latest political devlopments
Veteran Israeli journalist Eliezer Yaari on our Jerusalem projects.

October 2019 Newsletter: Collective Rights of Minorities in Democratic Countries

By Newsletters, Recent

CEO’s Word


Holidays are a great time for thoughts, reflection, introspection, and recalculation – especially holidays like this year’s that are filled with “Yom Tov”. Between the pots and pans of the numerous holiday meals, I found myself asking questions about our work at the Institute.
We are a small team that works ceaselessly and that believes strongly in what we do, in the liberal spirit of national Zionism, and in the focus that we have now adopted – promoting fieldwork with, and research on, the minorities living in Israel. We engage in this field out of a specifically Zionist, pro-Israeli outlook that strives for the true integration of minority populations in general and of Israeli Arabs in particular as a Zionist obligation and a right. We do this out of an understanding that by concentrating on interpersonal relationships and communication, we can generate a larger change in society at large and that only action at a grassroots level will enable us to generate this change – both within Israel’s Jewish society and among the minorities living here together with us.

And yet … the road to achieving this goal is difficult and winding and can only be sustained with a deep-rooted faith in the path we have chosen. The world we live in tends towards dichotomy – black or white; right-wing or left-wing. Each side is enclosed within a pre-determined set of values so that if a right-winger wants to work with Arabs and help them realize their civil rights, he is immediately challenged by his colleagues on the right as a “lefty”; at the same time he suspected by left-wingers as having ulterior motives. No-one really listens and hardly any effort is made to act in a more complex manner that rises above these shallow distinctions.

Fundraising is another world in which it’s hard to convey complex messages. We are asked about the very legitimacy of our request for support, and about our claim that we are doing something important on a national level. We are scrutinized as to what camp we belong to. Do we support the 2-state solution or annexation? Attempts are made to place us in one of the only two camps that exist – the national camp or the peace camp. Our attempt to express a different voice whereby we are not engaged in a political solution but rather action that alters the fabric of relations tends to generally fall on deaf ears.

If however, we proclaim our desire to benefit both sides living here – the Arabs who will increasingly feel part of the country rather than like foreigners and thereby desire to contribute more; and right-wingers who will understand that the Arabs are here to stay, thereby necessitating the building of bridges and connections with them – our message, lacking a single-party flag, becomes easier to criticize.

We are proud to be a brave and complex voice bearing many banners. We view ourselves as pioneers in this field of National-Zionist organizations that will eventually understand that it is by specifically working with minorities, and not by alienating them, that the hope for co-existence may prevail. It is difficult being a pioneer, outlining and adhering to a path despite the opposition from all sides, positioning our activity at the top of national priorities.

We therefore need you as our partners, as someone who understands the issues and their complexity, to join us in seeing beyond the horizon, to generate a genuine change in the fabric of relations between the two peoples living on this small piece of land of ours, and to provide hope. Together with you, we can prove that our activity does indeed positively influence society, that our approach is indeed pioneering Zionist activism and not just hopeful dreams.

Collective Rights of Minorities in Democratic Countries – A Comparative Survey

The debates on collective rights awarded to national, ethnic or religious minorities are shared by many democratic nation states. What is the right scope of autonomy in fields such as language, education and religion?

This month we survey the ways these issues were dealt with for five minority groups. We hope to contribute to the deepening of the debate on these questions in Israel by comparing their fate to Israeli Arabs’.
Coupling these five cases with processed data from the Knessset research department on other countries we can give this broader picture:


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.

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.

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.

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.

In 2 of the 12 countries surveyed, a special committee has been established to promote the minority population’s language.




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.
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.

For the Complete Study


Blue&White Human Rights

___________11Standing with the Syrian Kurds

In the midst of the Turkish operation in Kurdish-held areas of Syria, we joined together with several other Jewish NGOs to call for humanitarian support for the Kurds.

At the initiative of the International Legal Forum, we reminded Jews and Kurds share a long history, values, interests and a special relationship.

You can still take part and share the word. (Link enclosed in the picture)

In the Media

* Hashiloach magazine had an interesting review of the National-Liberal anthology we published last July.
* Arutz7 read our latest reasearch first hand and reported its central conclusions
* The Jerusalem Post on our campaign for the Kurds.

Migration and Policy: A Comparative Analysis

By Immigration, Recent

The vociferous debate over the expulsion of illegal immigrants from Israel is characterized by many myths and few facts. Opponents of expulsion voice incessant claims about a discriminatory and inhumane immigration policy and contend that Israel fails to comply with international standards, especially concerning its obligations towards the UN Refugee Convention to which it is a signatory.

In order to verify these facts, we examined the treatment of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers in four western countries that, like Israel, are contending with the phenomenon of large-scale illegal immigration: The United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Our study presents a comprehensive description of the policy regarding illegal immigration as expressed in legislation, government resolutions, and other various programs in the respective countries, while distinguishing between the many concepts that tend to become “scrambled” in the public debate: illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.

We gathered the illegal immigration figures for each country (the immigrants’ identity, the circumstances of their arrival etc.) and surveyed the measures adopted by each country during recent years in order to curb illegal immigration. We also examined the policy towards asylum seekers – the ratio of approved refugee status requests, the process of determining their status, resettlement etc.

The main findings are presented below:

Without exception, each of the countries surveyed invests significant resources in attempting to reduce the phenomenon of illegal immigration, occasionally adopting harsh measures, in accordance with the extent of the threat posed by the wave of immigration:

  • Australia combats human smuggling in boats with a “Sovereign Borders” campaign to bolster border enforcement and has restricted immigration to Australia via the establishment of an “Offshore Processing” policy whereby illegal immigrants are dealt with outside the country’s borders until their status is finalized.
  • The United States has invested huge sums in securing its border with Mexico, from “Operation Gatekeeper” in the Clinton era to the construction of a security fence under the Bush administration. President Trump has continued this trend by leading a legal battle to cancel immigration programs that had been implemented under the Obama administration and through the extension of security forces’ authority to detain foreigners.
  • The United Kingdom has focused on limiting negative socio-economic consequences for its citizens that stem from the increased immigration of cheap labor into Britain. For example, the UK passed legislative reforms that penalize companies which choose to employ illegal immigrants and impose restrictions on service provided to immigrants by public institutions.
  • Canada, a country with a proven positive attitude towards immigration, has recently adopted a non-compromising policy towards illegal immigration. During the ten-year term of the previous Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Canada reinforced its borders and adopted harsher punishments against human smuggling. This policy was relaxed markedly when Prime Minster Trudeau entered office in 2015. Despite the change and following an increasing trend of mass immigration from the US, Canada has recently begun signaling a lack of tolerance towards this phenomenon.


Even more significant differences between the different countries were found when examining treatment of asylum seekers and refugees:


  • Australia refuses the entry of immigrants attempting to breach its borders by boat (regardless of their reasons for immigrating), and transfers them to detention facilities, mainly in Papua New Guinea or Nauru, where they await a decision in their case by the Australian Ministry of Immigration. In general, even if they are eventually recognized as refugees, Australia usually attempts to resettle them in other countries.
  • In comparison to the other countries surveyed, Canada demonstrates an extremely friendly attitude towards asylum seekers, with an especially high ratio of approved asylum requests – close to 70% as of 2017 (an increase of approximately 44% from 2013).
  • The UK has registered a fairly constant ratio of refugee recognition in recent years. Our study reveals that Britain’s relative share of approved refugee requests is tiny compared to the other E.U. countries. The current government has a clear policy according to which every possible effort should be made to restrict the entry of asylum seekers into Britain. In practice, this is achieved by transferring large-scale financial aid to other countries willing to accept refugees and by returning those denied asylum to their country of origin.
  • The US adopted a relatively friendly attitude towards asylum seekers until the beginning of the Trump era. The Obama administration set extremely high refugee quotas that positioned the country as a leader in the resettlement of refugees within its own borders. However, President Trump has striven to reduce these quotas and toughen the conditions for receiving political asylum in the United States.


Regarding the treatment of illegal immigrants, our study found that the holding of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants in detention centers is a common phenomenon. Israel is no different to Australia, Great Britain and the United States in its use of this means, perceived as a central means of deterrent in dealing with illegal immigration. Conditions in these facilities vary from country to country but cannot be described as comfortable in any of them. The underlying assumption of this approach is that a more generous policy will constitute an incentive for future would-be infiltrators.

Ultimately, Israel’s policy towards illegal immigrants is consistent with that of other leading western democracies. An analysis of the situation in Israel reveals an even more complex picture of the immigrant population and it is reasonable to assume that most of them are indeed not refugees. Nevertheless, the survey indicates the absence of formal policy that is expressed by the failure to determine a legally based refugee quota and the inadequate treatment of requests for political asylum.

We believe that the State of Israel must initiate primary legislation that determines the desired refugee quota while weighing up demographic, social, as well as humanitarian considerations. Furthermore, it would, in our opinion, be fitting were the State of Israel to adopt a more comprehensive immigration policy that distinguishes between refugees who are persecuted in their country of origin and fled its horrors and migrant workers seeking better living conditions. Resources and personnel must be allocated to a more thorough clarification of their identity and to enable the relevant authorities to offer quicker and more individual treatment of each request.

The State of Israel must acknowledge the new reality of global immigration and adjust its immigration policy that for years has primarily been directed at the absorption of Jewish immigrants. A more efficient system will assist in the eradication of illegal immigration while at the same time lead to an improvement in the human rights of illegal immigrants until final clarification of their status.


To the full research


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


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.

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