May 2019 Newsletter: Internationalization of Israeli Law

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CEO’s remarks


As the last few weeks have proven, there is never a dull moment in Israel and the Institute for Zionist Strategies is no exception.
Petitions submitted repeatedly by human rights organizations, supposedly in order to protect human rights are in practice actually impinging on the right of Israeli citizens to protection from terror. By focusing world attention on issues of forced feeding of hunger striking security prisoners and the demolition of terrorists’ homes in Israel, these organizations are significantly harming the image of the State of Israel and promoting a Palestinian narrative that portrays the security prisoners and terrorists as freedom fighters.

The aura of an ideological and national struggle which accompanies the security prisoners gains them respect and admiration. The incitement in the Palestinian education system, social networks, and the media create a society that sanctifies terrorists and murderers of Jews and transforms them into role models. The Palestinian Authority supports and embraces the prisoners and their families. Furthermore, the security prisoners benefit from fraternity and an organized supportive community framework in prison with a spokesman and committees responsible for different fields such as: communication with family, contact with wives, liaison with prison authorities etc. Above all, the security prisoners know that they have an excellent chance of being released as part of a future prisoner exchange deal.

In June, the Minister of Internal Security, Gilad Erdan, established a committee to examine the conditions of imprisoned terrorists. In light of the committee’s findings, he decided in January to restrict their conditions to the minimum required by international law. Among his decisions were: to put an end to the separation between Hamas affiliated prisoners and belonging to Fatah, to cancel the position of “prisoner spokesman” in its current form, to restrict the funds deposited in prison for the terrorists by their families, and more.

Despite Erdan’s findings, figures were published last week according to which the security prisoners enjoy holiday meals, receive frequent visits (every six weeks on average), have access to television with a wide selection of channels, games during leisure time, and fitness apparatus. It turns out that security prisoners in Israel benefit not only from a halo of admiration but also from enhanced imprisonment conditions.

Israel’s attempts to diminish the admiration for the terrorists and security prisoners in order to prevent terror, are frequently thwarted or challenged by petitions submitted by human rights organizations. For example, petitions are submitted against forced feeding with the claim that it constitutes a real danger to the terrorist’s health and an infringement of his autonomy over his body; and against requests to demolish the homes of terrorists’ families, with the claim that the state is using people as a deterrent and violating the families’ rights to a home and to live in dignity. These petitions serve as a tool to encourage terror rather than eradicate it.

The large number of petitions submitted is made possible by the assistance of European countries and possesses a distinctly political and worrying nature. The Institute of Zionist Strategies recently initiated a study examining petitions submitted by human rights organizations in cases related to the forced feeding of security prisoners, illegal immigration, and the demolition of terrorists’ homes, all of which significantly harm the State of Israel and its residents.

Internationalization of Israeli Law: European Support of NGOs Appeals to the Israeli Supreme Court

This study details the manner in which human rights organizations receiving funding from foreign 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 did not examine private petitions submitted. 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, as are detained in different countries, 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 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) and 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.
In conclusion, in order to guarantee the continued welcome activity of these organizations in the field of human rights and to bolster their legitimacy in the eyes of Israeli citizens, we advocate acting to increase transparency, further to legislating the Transparency Law and imposing restrictions on the right of standing.

For the complete study

Blue&White Human Rights

We celebrated Jerusalem Day at the Rachel crossing, in a special tour open to the public.

Jerusalem is the center of life for dozens of thousands of PA residents. The conflict raises several challenges to this reality in terms of economic interests, security and freedom of movement.
In the light of the engoing changes at the crossings around Jerusalem, and in order to both deepen the understanding and challenge some stereotypes, Blue&White activists on the ground all year long presented the meanings of this new reality.

IZS News

Outstanding student?

The Institute will again this semester publish an academic paper on a political-social relevant to its activity.

Want to publish the findings of your research? Contact us at:



IZS In The Media

* Arutz7 covered our lawsuits abuses research: ”a new research by the Institute for Zionist Strategies shows how ‘human rights’ organizations and European countries interfer with security issues and policy making.”
* Ohad Chemo of Channel 12 News has followed developments at the crossings in the Jerusalem area for years and has unhesitatingly voiced his harsh criticism of the continued crowding prevalent there during the early morning hours. This time however, he too understands that reality has changed dramatically… thanks to right-wing organizations.
* The Protestant news channel GODTV surveyed the Institute’s activity in East Jerusalem, describing it as a “unique initiative” that demonstrates “an understanding that complete Israeli sovereignty over the capital entails investing in all the city’s neighborhoods.”

The following articles were published by members of the Institute and contain references to a wide range of issues on the public agenda:
* Institute CEO, Miri Shalem, criticizes the decidedly comfortable imprisonment conditions enjoyed by the security prisoners (Yediot Aharonot).
* Founding Chairman of the Institute, Yisrael Harel, asks where the new national-religious political faction is headed (Ha’aretz).

April 2019 Newsletter: Human Rights Report, East Jerusalem and a word from our CEO

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CEO’s remarks


At this time of the year, between the Pesach Holiday of Freedom and Yom Ha’atzmaut, between the memory of slavery in Egypt and that of the Shoah, it is also incumbent upon us to remember that human rights are a Jewish value shared by all sections of the political spectrum, and that preserving these rights is both our obligation and an interest that serves to strengthen Israeli sovereignty.
The ‘Blue and White Human Rights’ movement has maintained a presence at the crossing points in the Jerusalem area over recent years, supervising the general conduct at the crossings and providing medical aid to the Palestinians passing through them daily. The movement was founded by the Institute’s outgoing chairman, Dr.Yoaz Hendel.

A year ago, we decided to further expand our activity and after several brainstorming sessions, East Jerusalem was chosen as the location for a new project: the establishment of a human rights center for the local residents in Zur Baher and a Hebrew studies classroom for women from the neighborhood and surrounding area. Additional classrooms for Hebrew lessons were opened last month for the residents of Isawiya.

The program for the coming year was planned together with Dr. Ramadan Dabash, Chairman of the Zur Baher Community Council (and a candidate for the Jerusalem City Council at the last elections). Our activity in East Jerusalem and at the crossings is undertaken by Arabic-speaking students who each receive a scholarship.

We are very excited about this new project for several reasons. Firstly, because it expands on the existing activity which is based on the ‘Blue and White Human Right’s philosophy whereby striving for human rights and the enhancement of Palestinians’ quality of life are not endeavors exclusive to the left-wing of the political spectrum, and do not contradict a centrist or right-wing outlook that also regards activity in these fields as both legitimate and necessary.

Secondly, because we see how our work on the ground, as a small non-governmental organization, is generating huge change and reducing the alienation that the 300,000 residents of East Jerusalem feel towards the State of Israel, an achievement thus far unmatched by others.

Thirdly, because we believe that this is the embodiment of Zionism today: the concern for the human rights of the Palestinians living alongside us.

And finally, because sovereignty must be accompanied by responsibility. Although the discussion on the future status of Jerusalem has been on the table for many years, questions continue to be raised: will it be divided? Will it become an international city? If we wish to ensure that Jerusalem remain united, we must act as a sovereign concerned for the welfare of all the city’s residents and provide them due services and rights. This is precisely the reason that we have taken on the task to enhance the daily living conditions of the residents of East Jerusalem.

We welcome your thoughts and ideas in this field and would naturally be grateful for any support and cooperation in this important project.

Wishing you a pleasant and healthy spring,

Miri Shalem

From Oslo until Today: Human Rights Situation Report

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.
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.

For the complete study

East Jerusalem

In the framework of our activities in East Jerusalem, we are glad to announce the opening of two new Hebrew classes for residents of the Isawyia neighborhood, closeby Mount Scopus. Isawyia is a particularly negected neighborhood, which has benefited little improvement in the last decade compared to other areas of the city. The strong demand for Hebrew courses shows the will to integrate exists. With or without a ”deal of the century” everyone understands Israel is here to stay.

IZS News

Outsdanding student?

This semester again we will publish an academic work dealing with a relevant social or political issue.

If you want to share your analysis and conclusions, or receive complementary information, please be in touch at


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

Institute CEO Miri Shalem explains that in the post-election reality, with the Trump deal coming, right wingers will need more than the usual left-bashing to prove theselves as such. (Times of Israel)
IZS co-founder Israel Harel met a not-so-bitter kind of left, which prefers national unity over ideological feuds. (Haaretz)
Nicolas Nissim Touboul, projects manager at the Institute, analyzes the elections’ results in an Arab sector slowly but surely swinging towards the maintsream parties. (Mida)

March 2019 Newsletter: Palestinian Laborers in the Israeli Construction Industry

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The Institute usually deals with issues related to Palestinian entries into Israel through the lens of its field activity at the crossings. Over the past few months we have been looking at the socio economic factors from a research point of view. More specifically, we wanted to evaluate the implementation of the reforms advocated in the 2014 State Comptroller report on this topic. Here are the main findings.

Also in this month’s newsletter: paratroopers in Kiryat Gat, Hebrew U students and law and order in the downfall of the political left.

Have a nice read!

מדיניות העסקת פלסטינים בענף הבנייה בישראל

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

For the complete study


Blue & White Human Rights


Students at the ORT Kiryat Gat technological high school had a very meaningful day cloturing their Biglal Haruach program. The whole school came together to hear the participants’ conclusions and summary. Then Platoon Alef of the 890 paratroopers’ battalion shared their moral and tactical experience serving at the Gaza border in the midst of the so-called ‘Return march’ riots. Finally we held an intergenerational debate with veterans from the local community.
At the Institute we believe the people’s army is not an empty slogan. We believe in the mutual need for reprensentation of the different components of the Israeli society in meaningful positions in the IDF. We act to narrow the gap and help all face the complexity of balancing the different values emanating from the society and making the IDF what it is.

Institute News


Thanks to our new parternship with the Hebrew University, BA students can now volunteer with us and receive academic credits in exchange.

You too can join us through two main channels:
East Jerusalem (teaching Hebrew and working in our information center)
Research assistant on political and social topics

More details on the Hebrew U app TRIBU or by email


Past and present staff members joined to thank Dr Yoaz Hendel for his 7 years as the head of the Institute. Stepping down to contend for a Knesset seat in the coming elections, Hendel underlined the need for a rich and dynamic extra-parliamentary work, pushing forward ideas on the public stage and having an impact on the public agenda.



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

Founding Chairman of the Institute Israel Harel blames Netanyahu for repeatedly mishandling the situation on the Temple Mount. (Haaretz).
Institute CEO Miri Shalem argues Livni’s fall symbolizes the end of a certain kind of political left (Yediot Aharonot).

February 2019 Newsletter: The Status of Former Jewish Assets in Judea and Samaria

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This month we explore the status of the former Jewish properties in Judea and Samaria that were seized by Jordan in 1948. Contrary to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Valero case (2011), this paper concludes that Israel legally can, and should, return the property to its former owners.

IZS Chairman Dr. Yoaz Hendel takes it to the political level and we wish him luck in his run for a Knesset seat.

Former Jewish Assets in Judea and Samaria

We are proud to open a new research section, in which we will give a stage to excellent student academic papers.
In this first research, Russel A. Shalev examines the High Court Valero ruling, according to which a property’s transfer to Jordanian custodianship eliminated any ties between the previous owners and the property pending the cancellation of such a transfer as part of a peace agreement.

Left, the interview of the researcher, Russel Shalev.

At the time of the armistice agreement between the State of Israel and the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan in 1949, approximately forty square kilometers of land and several hundred buildings previously owned by Jews in Judea and Samaria lay in Jordanian hands. 1 Subsequently, the Jordanian government, applying Mandatory ordinances, seized the former Jewish assets, declaring them enemy property and vesting them in the Enemy Property Custodianship.

When Israel conquered Judea and Samaria following the 1967 Six Day War, many of the former owners expected to regain control of their property which had been seized from them by the Jordanian government. Despite this expectation however, the Israeli government has not released the property, instead continuing to hold the assets as Jordanian national property. The Israeli Supreme Court has argued that the Jordanian seizure of the assets as enemy properties essentially extinguishes the ties between the property and its original Jewish owners.
This paper will argue that the Jordanian seizure was illegal, was the result of Jordanian aggression and unrecognized annexation of the territory, and thus should be seen as invalid. Recognizing confiscated Jewish assets as Jordanian state property would be a violation of the principle of ex injuria jus non oritur, unjust acts cannot create law.
After having established that Jordan’s illegal actions cannot grant them legal rights, we will examine the claim that Jewish properties cannot be returned to their original owners barring comprehensive treatment of parallel Arab claims on Israel. We will argue that Jewish properties in Judea and Samaria are sui generis, ie. a unique historical and legal phenomenon, and that they are much straightforward legally than Arab properties in Israel. Conditioning their return on parallel Arab claims would erase the distinction between aggressor and victim. We will see from Israel’s experience in Jerusalem that such parallelism is unnecessary and that the return of Jewish properties will not open the gates to a flood The Status of Former Jewish Assets in Judea and Samaria 8 of Arab claims. Finally, we will argue that Israel has a unique historical obligation to restore the seized Jewish properties.

For the complete study

Blue and White Human Rights

After a year and a half under construction, the new facility at the Qalandia crossing opened on February 20th. It includes six personal and belongings screening spots and twenty automatic documentation checking monitors. Workers show their magnetic card and can go through within seconds.

Nadav and Shmuel, our volunteers at the crossings around Jerusalem, sum up: ”The new crossing is a considerable change in all the way the place works. The maximum waiting time has dropped to five minutes. We see a lot of workers who used to cross earlier. Everybody we have been talking to is very satisfied with this change, to the extent people from Beit Lehem drive all the way to cross from here.”

For those who missed it, last month’s Tablet coverage of our activities in Qalandia can be found here.

Institute News

Congratulations to our chairman Yoaz Hendel for being #2 of Moshe Yaalon’s Telem movement and running together with Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Bue and White party.

Yoaz’s dedication to Zionism, the state and national liberal values are important assets for Israel in general and the Knesset in particular.


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

IZS Chairman Dr. Yoaz Hendel bids farewell to readers after years of holding his weekly column (Yediot Aharonot).
Founding Chairman of the Institute Israel Harel laments the Jewish Home’s shift toward sectarianism (Haaretz).
Institute CEO Miri Shalem argues Livni’s fall symbolizes the end of a certain kind of political left (Yediot Aharonot).
Head of Blue&White Human Rights Nave Dromi explains why the left’s personal attacks won’t end the day after Netanyahu (Haaretz).
Progects’ manager Nicolas Nissim Touboul shows how France’s way to deal with antisemitism is flawed (Ynet).

January 2019 Newsletter: Law Enforcement In The Arab Sector

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15 years after the Wadi Ara riots we decided to check what has changed in the relations between the Arab-Israel community and the police. Between over-policing and lack of law enforcement, and between confidence-building measures and the community’s representation among police officers, the Orr commission recomendations are implemented only slowly.

This month we lost Pr. Moshe Arens zal, head of the IZS’ advising committee.

Law Enforcement In The Arab Sector

Three years following the October 2000 events, the Or Commission published its recommendations for the improvement of the relations between the Israeli police and the Arab society.

The commission’s report made recommendartios in three major areas: the treatment of Israeli Arabs as nonhostile, the promotion of dialogue and cooperation between the police and the Arab society and equal enforcement of the law in the Arab sector.


This paper examined the degree to which these recommendations have been implementated in the 15 years since the issuance of the Orr Commission’s report.
With regards to the treatment of Arabs by the police, we found that the Israeli police uses excessive force towards the Arab society compared to the Jewish society. In addition, the Arab sector is, to some extent, subject to over-policing. In recent years, the percentage of arrests that didn’t result in pressing charges among Israeli Arabs was significantly higher than its equivalent in the Jewish sector. These issues have probably accounted for the decline in the level of trust in the police among Israeli Arabs since 2003.
With regards to strengthening the dialogue between the police and the Arab sector, we found that government decisions aimed at expanding the Civil Guard apparatus in the Arab sector have been partially implemented. Moreover, Arab volunteers in the police make up a small part in proportion to their share in the population.
With regards to equal law enforcement in the Arab sector, we found that major Arab cities are still lacking in police stations. This is in part the result of objections by some of the Arab municipalities to allocate lands for the purpose of establishing new police stations. In addition, Arabs’ participation rate in the police force is much lower than their share in the population. Efforts to tackle these problems have been made as part of the implementation of government decision No. 922.

For the complete study


East Jerusalem

___________11We are proud to help strengthen municipal services! At the occasion of the new civil year, our information center in Zur Baher has started an important cooperation with the Jerusalem municipality. From now on residents will be able to register their children in the school system or appeal local tax or tickets from our offices, without having to go to the city hall. Jerusalem’s new mayor Moshe Leon praised the initiative on his Arabic Facebook page.

We have opened a Facebook page for our Zur Baher project – share and help us inform Arabic speakers!

Religion and State

___________11Institute CEO Miri Shalem took part in an important panel on social lobbying for religion and State related issues. The panel took place at the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Knesset, at Center for Jewish and Democratic Law – Bar Ilan University. Other central participants were head of the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Woman Adv. Keren Horowitz, and head of the People, Religion and State Center at the Israel Deomocracy Institute Prof. Shouky Fridman.

Institute News

Early January passed away professor Moshe Arens, who played a central role in the founding years of the IZS. Arens, a two-times Defence minister, was also the head of our advising committee and participated to the strategic forum’s discussions.

יהי זכרו ברוך.


The Institute in the Media

Tablet magazine published an extensive coverage of Blue&White’s activities at the Qalandia crossing.
The sex-corruption scandal in the justice system was the occasion for The Marker to publish the main conclusions of our comparative research on judges nomination throughout the world.



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

IZS Chairman Dr. Yoaz Hendel warns liberals: the Palestinian state they call for won’t be Human Rughts friendly whatsoever (Yediot Aharonot).
Founding Chairman of the Institute, Israel Harel analyzes the current elections campaign and the dire straits of some of Israel’s historical parties (Haaretz)
Nave Dromi, the head of Blue&White Human Rights thinks part of the progressive US Jewry is responsible for most of the crisis with Israel.

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