Rights, Duties and Law

As follows from our commitment to human rights, the IZS investigates the obstacles seen in the day-to-day reality of minority groups in Israel, predominantly Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians who live under Israeli rule. Our reports typically give a comprehensive analysis of past and current developments of social, economic and law-enforcement issues from a national-liberal point of view. We point to policy barriers, analyze deep causes and offer practical recommendations to accomplishing a more just and democratic society. 

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…

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

By Recent, Rights, Duties and Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the full research…

From Oslo to Today: Human Rights Report

By Recent, Rights, Duties and Law

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

Employment of Palestinians in Israel

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

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

 

Receipt of Medical Treatment in Israel


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

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

 

Crossing Points between the Palestinian Authority and Israel

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

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

to the full research…

Law Enforcement In The Arab Sector

By Recent, Rights, Duties and Law

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 recommendations in three major areas: the treatment of Israeli Arabs as non hostile, 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 implemented 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. However, based on the data examined, it is hard to determine whether this is the result of discriminatory practices or the relatively high friction between the police and parts of the Arab population. 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.

Our research concludes that, in the 15 years since the issuance of the Orr Commission’s report, there have been minor improvements, however, there is still a lot to be done to amend the relationship between the Israeli police and the Arab sector. For this to happen, the Israeli government should take measures against police officers who use excessive force and continue to promote equal law enforcement. It is also critical that Arab leaders and elected officials work together with the Israeli police to encourage more Israeli Arabs to join the police.

To the full research…

Family Reunification through the Lens of the Nation State

By Rights, Duties and Law

Claims are periodically voiced against the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) that prohibits the entry into the Green Line of Palestinians in order to reunite with their Arab spouses living in Israel.  The law was legislated in 2003 and ahead of its (annual) renewal, there are those calling for its annulment due to its supposed discriminatory nature. This paper examines the justifications for preventing family reunification and demonstrates that unlike the approach of the Supreme Court which bases its support for the law solely on grounds of security, the demographic justification – preserving a stable Jewish majority – also bears not insignificant weight. This study presents the foundation of this justification – the legitimate existence of the nation state. The discussion of this illustrates the importance of the Nation State Law as providing validation for the various means of defending the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People, including, preventing family reunification.

To the full research…

The Interdependence of Righs and Duties

By Rights, Duties and Law

This study seeks a better perspective on the legitimacy of conditional civil rights in democratic nations.

To this end, we examined legal practices that pertain to pledging allegiance and prisoners’ voting rights in the 15 most liberal countries according to the Freedom House index. We also reviewed the conscription policy in  7 democratic nations that still uphold (needed) conscription and have an equal to or higher rate than Israel in the Freedom index.

Allegiance: Like Israel, 9 out of the 15 states require naturalized citizens to pledge allegiance to the state–Canada, Netherlands, Australia, New-Zealand, Uruguay, Denmark, Ireland, Austria, Belgium.

One state (Japan) upholds a similar procedure which involves a declaration to choose Japanese nationality by the naturalized citizen. Read More

Law Enforcement In Judea and Samaria

By Rights, Duties and Law

This study examined methods of law enforcement in Judea and Samaria in three case studies: enforcement of building laws, enforcement of water laws, and enforcement of traffic laws. The study’s objective is to present the reality on the ground, primarily according to findings in relevant State Comptroller reports, and to explain the problems involved in these issues and their broader context. The main findings are presented below:

  • In the field of building it seems that there is significant under-enforcement, leading to many illegally constructed buildings not being demolished. This state of affairs stems from coordination and policy failures at different stages of the demolition process. Furthermore, no criminal enforcement exists against those violating the building laws.
  • In the water field, the lack of coordination between all the relevant bodies results in almost unhindered water theft in Judea and Samaria. The authorities fail to efficiently seal the illegal boreholes and sever the pirate connections. Here too, the authorities fail to conduct criminal proceedings against violators of the law.
  • In the field of traffic, there are two legal systems in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians are tried before a military court while Israelis are tried by an Israeli court. A dispute regarding jurisdiction between the military prosecution and the Judea and Samaria Police has led to a situation whereby Palestinian drivers suspected of traffic offences are almost never brought to trial in the military courts.

Read More

The Expulsion Law

By Rights, Duties and Law No Comments
On July 20 2016, the Knesset passed the final approval of “The Expulsion Law” according to which, a serving Member of the Knesset may be removed from his position if three quarters of the Knesset Committee members determine that he has incited to racism or expressed support for an armed struggle against the State of Israel.[1] This law has aroused protests among many members of the Opposition and certain organizations such as Adalah (The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) that present themselves as being concerned for the rights of Israel’s minorities. According to them, the law constitutes a mortal blow to the values of democracy. They further claim that its sole purpose is to expel Arab Knesset members.

In order to attempt and resolve the issue, we have chosen to study the state of affairs in countries possessing characteristics and regimes similar to those of Israel i.e., democratic nation states. Accordingly, the study presented below examined limitations imposed on political parties and on members of parliament in twelve democratic states, members of the OECD. The study surveyed the existence and actual implementation of legal preventative measures that restrict the foundation or registration of political parties seeking to participate in elections, and also retroactive steps including disassembly or disqualification of a party after its foundation, and suspension or expulsion of a serving member of parliament.

This publication constitutes a complementary study to two relevant studies on the subject published by the Knesset Research and Information Center (hereinafter: RIC) that were conducted in 2006 and 2016 and that, among others, is based on their findings. Read More

Incentives for Service

By Israel Among Nations, Rights, Duties and Law No Comments

By Dr. Yoaz Hendel and Nicolas Touboul

For several years discussions have been held about different propositions for government resolutions and legislation to improve the benefits granted to citizens who have served in the army or the civilian national service. These proposals include exemption from taxes, preferences for acceptance to student dorms in institutes for higher education, and preferences or benefits relating to allocation of land for housing. In their essence, the proposals entail the basic proposition that it is proper and just-and non-discriminatory- to provide public benefits in return for past contributions to the society and State. The benefits would provide preference in hiring, in wages, and in various state services offered.

On the one hand, the supporters of these propositions feel that the current situation discriminates against those who have dedicated years of their lives to the State. The current level of remuneration shows disregard and demeans the service. It is also manifestly unfair and discriminatory to fail to compensate those who were mandated to serve while others were not. Critics of the proposals claim that rewarding army service and national service discriminates against the Arab and Chareidi populations who are exempt from service. Compensation for service should be made during service and not afterwards, they argue.

This comparative analysis establishes that post-service benefits are common in the Western world. Most of the democratic countries which were examined maintain some system of benefits for those who protect the country within an army framework. In terms of the types of benefits, differences could be found in the determination of who benefits (soldiers, veterans, their families) and in the form of benefit (employment, education, and various other benefits). Read More

Force-Feeding of Hunger-Striking Prisoners

By Rights, Duties and Law No Comments

Yael Baklor-Kahn and Adi Arbel

The proposed law to allow force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners was recently approved by the Knesset. Discussion of the topic led to public debate for and against the proposed law. The purpose of this paper is to present the topic in an organized fashion, to analyze the dilemmas it raises, and to present a considered opinion about the proposed law.

The issue of force-feeding hunger strikers is not a new one and represents an area of public disagreement in Israel and abroad. Until this new law, Israel’s legal position towards the issue was laid out in the law detailing the rights of the ill, a law which set conditions and standards for providing care to a person against his will.

The issue has also not yet been settled in international law. The World Medical Association stated in the Tokyo Declaration that a physician may not make his professional skills available for the purposes of interrogation; the Malta Declaration stated that forced feeding of prisoners is not ethical. On the other hand, in 2005 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that one may force-feed a prisoner who is in mortal danger. Read More

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