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October 2019 Newsletter: Collective Rights of Minorities in Democratic Countries

By Newsletters, Recent

CEO’s Word


Shalom

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:

Language

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.

___________11

 

Education

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

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…

May 2019 Newsletter: Internationalization of Israeli Law

By Newsletters, Recent

CEO’s remarks

Shalom,

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:
___________11
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.
___________11
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: info@izs.org.il

 

 

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).

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…

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

By Newsletters, Recent

CEO’s remarks


Shalom

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:
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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.
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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 info@izs.org.il.

Publications

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)

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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