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UNITED
NATIONS

E/1990/5/Add.39 part 2
28 November 1997

E/1990/5/Add.39 part 2:

(ii) Poverty

410. Poverty data in Israel have been systematically collected and published since the early 1970s by the National Insurance Institute (NII). The annual report on poverty submitted to the Government receives wide coverage by the media, raising the major issues on the public agenda as well as helping the Government reassess its policy to reduce poverty.

411. The definition of poverty adopted by the NII is a relative one, by which a family is considered poor when its standard of living falls considerably below the average. Although a family's standard of living is a multidimensional concept, expressed through various aspects (income, housing, health, education, etc.) the poverty measure is based on income data only, which are available on an ongoing basis. The poverty line in Israel is defined as 50 per cent of the net median income, adjusted to family size.

412. According to the NII 1993 report, 16 per cent of all families have net incomes below the poverty lines, with the average net income of a poor family being 75 per cent of the poverty line. Transfer payments, especially NII benefits, play a crucial role in reducing poverty and income disparities. In the absence of transfer payments (mainly NII benefits), 34 per cent of all families would be classified as poor, implying that transfers have reduced the poverty incidence by more than one half. Although transfer payments, mainly to low-income groups, contribute significantly to the reduction of poverty among the elderly, the non-employed and large families, poverty is still more frequent among these groups: almost one fifth of the elderly, one third of the large families and one half of the non-employed are poor. Poverty is also relatively high among non-Jewish families – more than one third are poor.

413. These data should be read in conjunction with the following tables, presenting the resources and their use, including GNP, GDP, per capita GNP and GDP, private consumption expenditure over the years as well as GNP by deciles.

414. One of the factors contributing to the extent of poverty in Israel is the wide variation in family size. A significant percentage of the Israeli population has four or more children and a large percentage of these children grow up in these families. This means that with a given inequality in the wage structure, more poverty and inequality are generated because of the differences in family size. Family size differences are highly correlated with ethnic background. Large families are much more widespread in the Arab population and among certain sub_groups within the Jewish population. This serves to exacerbate inequalities among ethnic groups and the relative concentration of poverty within these groups.

415. Poverty among children and women is of special concern to policy makers: 20 per cent of all children in Israel live in families whose income is below the poverty line. Poverty among families headed by women is more frequent than among families headed by men. Almost one third of the families with children headed by women are poor, compared with 15 per cent of families with children headed by men.
E/1990/5/Add.39
page 115


(iii) Physical quality of life index

416. Israel still does not have a physical quality of life index. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs plans to create one, with the help of the National Council for Diminishing Social Gaps and War on Poverty (described below).

The right to adequate food

417. The right to adequate food is fully recognized by governmental and non-governmental organizations in Israel. Food provision for indigent people is part of the social assistance offered by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the National Insurance Institute, the municipalities and various voluntary organizations (e.g. ESHEL - The Association for Planning and Developing Services for the Aged in Israel). This right is implemented in two ways: indirectly, by securing a sufficient basic income, and directly, by either supplying food or food_related services.

Income Maintenance

418. Income for subsistence is provided by the various social security schemes under the National Insurance Law - described in this report under article 9 - supplemented by the Assurance of Income Law 1980.

419. The Income Maintenance Law, 1980 basically provides a “safety net”: whoever lacks the defined minimal income, taking into account income from most social security branches, has the right to receive from the NII a monthly allowance up to the allowed minimum. It may be said that anyone in vital need is entitled under the law, except for a person capable of working who refuses to do so (i.e. refusal of a suitable occupation proposed via the Employment Service). The full text of the law is attached in annex A to this report.

420. The Assurance of Income Law does not apply to new immigrants, income maintenance for whom is provided by the Immigration and Absorption Ministry according to the Absorption Basket Law 1994 and the Ministry's detailed administrative directives.

421. The Welfare Services Law 1958 defines the State's duty, together with the municipalities, to provide assistance to residents in need. Regulations issued under this law define the term “in need” for this purpose to include all sorts of personal needs. As to the content of this duty, the law basically refers to the rules issued by the director general of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. These rules cover all personal social services. Mention should be made here of the “special needs programme”. Under this programme, social workers in local welfare services may grant assistance needed for provision of particular vital items like clothes, blankets, heaters and similar basic supplies. This discretionary power is used until reaching the limit of the budget set for this purpose.

Nutrition services

422. Special assistance is provided to those in need of special dietary food due to medical conditions (metabolic disorders, celiac disease, etc.). This assistance is provided by Department of Nutrition in the Ministry of Health in the form of subsidies.

423. Young children and babies are tracked by the Family Health Centers stationed in every neighbourhood throughout the country. Public health nurses, all trained in nutrition, run these centres. In each region and district there are Public Health Services Headquarters, where public health dietitians are part of the team. They are involved in almost all the nutritional aspects of the population, including senior citizens and the very old.

424. Special efforts are aimed at developing health promotion nutrition projects, tailored for the special needs of each community and in consideration of the local characteristics (culture, age, background, needs, etc.).

425. The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has conducted several surveys concentrating on the living conditions in Israel. Some of these provide valuable information on nutrition or have implications for nutrition policy:
The Food Balance Sheet
CALORIES AND NUTRIENTS PER CAPITA PER DAY
1996
1995
1990
1980
1970
1960
1950
Calories (Kcal)
TOTAL
3,471
3,433
3,089
2,979
2,988
2,772
2,610
Cereals and cereal products
1,031
1,030
986
1048
1,067
1,157
1,260
Potatoes and starches
86
91
66
89
79
77
98
Sugar and honey
446
424
381
323
376
311
184
Chocolate, sweets and jam
131
119
101
90
84
68
82
Miscellaneous grains and nuts
207
198
152
114
96
85
62
Vegetables
124
122
103
69
77
67
65
Fruit and melons
195
212
169
150
164
147
105
Oils and fats
573
539
486
496
452
406
343
Meat
336
352
317
284
264
143
95
Eggs
60
63
72
77
89
73
61
Fish
25
27
18
12
16
18
58
Milk and dairy products
257
256
238
227
224
220
197
Protein (grams)
TOTAL
105.0
106.2
97.4
92.2
91.5
85.1
83.9
Thereof: animal
52.5
54.1
49.9
45.4
44.3
34.0
32.2
Cereals and cereal products
32.9
32.9
31.7
34.1
34.6
39.7
41.4
Potatoes and starches
1.8
1.9
1.4
1.9
1.8
1.7
2.2
Chocolate, sweets and jam
0.6
0.5
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.1
0.2
Miscellaneous grains and nuts
8.9
8.6
6.8
5.0
4.5
4.0
3.2
Vegetables
5.7
5.4
5.1
3.5
3.7
3.5
2.9
Fruit and melons
2.6
2.8
2.0
1.9
2.3
2.1
1.8
Meat
27.1
28.5
25.6
22.5
20.8
11.8
7.4
Eggs
4.6
4.8
5.5
5.9
6.8
5.5
4.6
Fish
4.4
4.6
3.4
2.4
2.7
3.0
7.1
Milk and dairy products
16.4
16.2
15.4
14.6
14.0
13.7
13.1
Fat (grams)
TOTAL
133.7
130.3
117.6
111.5
104.3
86.7
73.9
Thereof: animal
45.9
45.7
42.6
38.7
38.3
27.9
23.9
Cereals and cereal products
4.3
4.3
4.1
4.3
4.4
4.8
5.4
Potatoes and starches
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
Chocolate, sweets and jam
2.4
1.8
2.2
2.0
1.8
0.8
1.3
Miscellaneous grains and nuts
13.5
13.1
9.2
7.0
5.5
5.0
2.9
Vegetables
1.2
1.0
1.0
0.6
0.7
0.4
0.2
Fruit and melons
2.8
3.1
3.2
2.5
2.0
1.4
1.1
Oils and fats
65.0
31.2
55.3
56.3
51.5
46.3
39.0
Meat
24.3
25.3
22.9
20.7
19.3
10.3
6.9
Eggs
4.3
4.6
5.2
5.6
6.4
5.2
4.4
Fish
0.6
0.8
0.4
0.3
0.4
0.6
3.3
Milk and dairy products
15.2
15.0
14.0
12.1
12.2
11.8
9.3
VITAMINS AND MINERALS PER CAPITA PER DAY
Milligrams, unless otherwise stated
Commodity
Iron
(Fe)
Calcium
(Ca)
Ascorbic acid
(Vit. C)
Niacin
Riboflavine
Thiamin
(Vitamin B)
Vitamin A
intm. units
1950
TOTAL
15.0
850
125
13.4
1.79
1.92
3,195
Cereals and cereal products
8.5
272
-
6.9
0.81
1.32
-
Potatoes and starches
0.7
9
10
1.6
0.04
0.10
-
Chocolate, sweets and jam
0.1
6
1
-
0.01
-
2
Miscellaneous grains and nuts
0.9
38
-
0.7
0.02
0.09
9
Vegetables
1.5
60
61
0.8
0.10
0.11
1,372
Fruit and melons
1.2
51
52
0.5
0.06
0.12
416
Oils and fats
-
-
-
-
-
-
584
Meat
0.7
4
-
1.8
0.07
0.03
51
Eggs
0.9
19
-
-
0.12
0.04
371
Fish
0.3
13
-
0.8
0.05
0.02
18
Milk and dairy products
0.2
378
2
0.3
0.51
0.09
372
1970
TOTAL
16.3
722
130
16.8
1.42
1.68
4,212
Cereals and cereal products
7.1
103
-
5.2
0.29
0.92
-
Potatoes and starches
0.6
7
8
1.2
0.03
0.08
-
Chocolate, sweets and jam
0.2
7
-
-
0.01
-
2
Miscellaneous grains and nuts
1.3
60
-
1.0
0.03
0.12
16
Vegetables
1.8
59
65
1.4
0.13
0.16
1,594
Fruit and melons
1.4
55
55
1.0
0.11
0.15
827
Oils and fats
-
-
-
-
-
-
483
Meat
2.0
13
-
6.2
0.15
0.10
249
Eggs
1.4
27
-
0.1
0.17
0.06
548
Fish
0.1
5
-
0.4
0.01
0.01
2
Milk and dairy products
0.4
386
2
0.3
0.49
0.08
491
1990
TOTAL
17.1
747
145
19.0
1.45
1.68
4,417
Cereals and cereal products
6.4
65
-
4.7
0.19
0.85
-
Potatoes and starches
0.5
6
6
1.0
0.02
0.06
-
Chocolate, sweets and jam
0.4
10
-
0.1
0.02
-
3
Miscellaneous grains and nuts
1.9
104
1
1.5
0.06
0.18
24
Vegetables
2.3
76
92
1.9
0.20
0.23
1,818
Fruit and melons
1.4
51
44
0.9
0.12
0.12
1,038
Oils and fats
-
-
-
-
-
-
162
Meat
2.6
17
-
8.1
0.18
0.12
399
Eggs
1.1
22
-
-
-
0.04
444
Fish
0.1
5
-
0.5
0.02
-
1
Milk and dairy products
0.4
391
2
0.3
0.51
0.08
528
1996
TOTAL
18.5
813
200
20.9
1.48
1.83
4,822
Cereals and cereal products
6.6
67
-
5.0
0.19
0.88
-
Potatoes and starches
0.6
7
8
1.3
0.03
0.08
-
Chocolate, sweets and jam
0.5
11
1
0.1
0.02
-
4
Miscellaneous grains and nuts
2.7
134
-
1.8
0.08
0.23
23
Vegetables
2.6
83
110
2.2
0.22
0.26
2,287
Fruit and melons
1.4
70
79
1.1
0.12
0.14
1015
Oils and fats
-
-
-
-
-
-
89
Meat
2.7
19
-
8.6
0.19
0.12
442
Eggs
0.9
18
-
-
0.11
0.04
368
Fish
0.1
7
-
0.6
0.02
0.01
1
Milk and dairy products
0.4
397
2
0.2
0.50
0.07
593

FOOD BALANCE SHEET, 1996
Annual quantities, tons
Per capita supplies
Available supply
Commodity
Fat
Protein
Calories
Food (net)
Food
Other supply
Change
grams per day
grams per day
(Kcal) per day
Grams per day
Kg. per year
(net)
and waste
Total
Imports
Exports
of stocks
Production
GRAND TOTAL
133.7
105.0
3,471
CEREALS AND CEREAL PRODUCTS - TOTAL
4.3
32.9
1,031
Wheat
4.0
30.8
922
263.6
96.2
548,400
387,100
935,500
854,600
125,800
-21,700
185,000
Rice, milled
0.2
1.8
99
27.4
10.0
56,900
-
56,900
87,800
339,000
-3,000
-
Other cereals
0.1
0.3
10
2.8
1.0
5,100
-
5,100
3,800
-
-
1,300
POTATOES AND STARCHES - TOTAL
0.1
1.8
86
Potatoes and potatoes flour
0.1
1.8
75
102.7
37.5
213,700
46,400
26,100
12,700
95,000
400
342,800
Conflour
-
-
11
3.0
1.1
6,200
14,500
20,700
200
100
300
20,900
SUGAR AND HONEY - TOTAL
-
-
446
Sugar
-
-
443
114.5
41.8
238,400
44,900
283,300
411,900
128,600
-
-
Honey
-
-
3
1.1
0.4
2,500
-
2,500
300
200
100
2,500
CHOCOLATE, SWEETS AND JAM
2.4
0.6
131
35.3
12.9
73,100
-
73,100
35,500
16,000
12,600
66,200
MISCELLANEOUS GRAINS AND NUTS - TOTAL
13.5
8.9
207
Pulses, edible, dry
0.3
3.4
56
15.9
5.8
33,696
1,400
35,096
25,172
5,606
-9,000
6,530
Sesame, groundnuts and sunflower
8.9
4.3
106
24.2
8.8
50,140
510
50,650
42,600
25,200
-500
32,750
Nuts
4.3
1.2
45
7.4
2.7
15,300
-
15,300
13,500
1,300
-1,000
2,100
VEGETABLES
1.2
5.7
124
523.0
190.9
1,088,197
94,260
1,182,457
78,612
167,283
-
1,271,128
FRUIT AND MELONS - TOTAL
2.8
2.6
195
Citrus fruit
0.2
1.0
57
205.2
74.9
426,924
4,401
431,325
18,635
520,050
-
932,740
Fresh fruit, excl. citrus
2.5
1.3
119
195.8
71.4
406,170
63,440
469,610
16,448
97,865
24,984
576,011
Watermelons and sugar melons
0.1
0.3
12
90.4
33.0
188,636
6,941
195,577
47
33,650
-
229,180
Dried fruit
-
-
7
2.9
1.1
6,113
-
6,113
4,163
11
-1,650
400
OILS AND FATS - TOTAL
65.0
0.0
573
Vegetable oils, refined, edible
48.5
-
429
38.8
14.2
10,100
28,800
129,900
38,000
10,800
40,000
142,700
Margarine
15.0
-
130
18.1
6.6
37,400
800
38,200
4,100
600
-
34,700
Butter
1.5
-
14
1.9
0.7
4,200
3,000
7,200
100
300
-500
6,900
MEAT - TOTAL
24.3
27.1
336
Beef, fresh and frozen, carcass weight
7.9
6.9
101
46.6
17.0
96,800
-
96,800
50,400
1,200
-3,600
44,000
Beef, Offal and other edible parts
0.5
1.0
9
6.3
2.3
13,300
-
13,300
1,900
-
-3,600
7,800
Sheep and goats, carcass weight
0.3
0.3
4
3.3
1.2
6,640
-
6,640
500
260
-
6,400
Other meat
1.9
0.5
20
5.2
1.9
11,000
-
11,000
-
-
-
11,000
Poultry (dressed, not drawn)
13.7
18.4
202
145.5
53.1
303,100
-
303,100
-
11,700
-
314,800
EGGS
4.3
4.6
60
41.4
15.1
85,900
-
85,900
-
1,300
3,000
90,200
FISH
0.6
4.4
25
35.3
12.9
72,750
-
72,750
46,500
100
-1,350
25,000
MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS - TOTAL
15.2
16.4
257
Cow's milk
4.8
5.6
102
169.9
62.0
353,200
794,500
1,147,700
-
13,400
-
1,161,100
Sheep and goats' milk
0.5
0.5
7
9.1
3.3
18,800
12,400
31,200
-
-
-
31,200
Milk, dried
-
0.3
3
0.8
0.3
2,100
11,000
13,100
2,700
3,500
-1,100
12,800
Cheese
5.8
7.9
85
46.6
17.0
96,850
-
96,850
1,000
3,900
-1,050
98,700
Sour milk, etc.
4.1
2.1
60
58.6
21.4
122,800
-
122,800
100
12,700
-
135,400

E/1990/5/Add.39
page 123


426. Review of the food balance sheets collected annually from 1947-1996 reveals an increase in per capita consumption of calories from 2,610 to 3,471 kcal/day, an increase of 33 per cent. Interesting to note are a marked increase in the consumption of fat from 343 to 573 kcal/day, an increase of 67 per cent; the increase in the consumption of vegetables from 65 to 124 kcal/day, an increase of 90 per cent; the increase of consumption of fruits from 105 to 195 kcal/day, an increase of 85 per cent and the increase of consumption of meat from 95 to 336 kcal/day, an increase of 253 per cent.

427. The main data from the latest household expenditure survey were produced above. These surveys, collected every four or five years, have provided data needed for the establishment of nutrition policy: food subsidies and price control, nutrition education and promotion programmes, etc. Six special surveys were done in the past, and six more are ongoing. These surveys are either cross-sectional, small-scaled, or targeted to suspected vulnerable groups. Additionally, there is an ample number of surveys done by academia in different parts of the country, or in diverse sub_groups of the population. These surveys used different methodologies, conducted at different times, and provide non_generalizable information. Therefore, they cannot be directly compared, or lead to a sound national nutrition policy.

428. It is necessary to look beyond the overall per capita aggregate in order to determine how the nutritionally vulnerable groups fare. In order to overcome the lack of data regarding geographical areas, sub-populations etc., a first National Nutrition Survey (NNS) is planned. The NNS will furnish information on food and nutrition intakes, dietary practices, physical activity, smoking habits, anthropometric data, socio-economic status, health status, and nutrition knowledge and attitudes of a representative sample of 4,500 Israelis, aged 12 to 75. The project is the largest and most comprehensive food and nutrition survey of Israel's population ever undertaken. Preparations started in 1997 and data collection will take place continuously from April 1998 to May 1999. This survey will provide information regarding indigent populations and vulnerable groups, and a database for public health policy decisions.

429. On the basis of the available data only the following comments as to potential areas of concern can be made:


430. The Ministry of Agriculture deals with planning of the production of the various categories of agricultural produce and its supply to the population. The Ministry deals with agricultural development and economic consolidation of rural settlements, as well as the development and allocation of the State's water resources, and responsibility for its lands. The following is a brief survey of the Ministry's activities relevant to the present report.

431. The Authority for Settlement, Agriculture and Rural Planning and Development deals with the gamut of problems of agriculture planning in the short and long term, making forecasts of requirements and strategic market research; allocation of growing and production quotas in the various branches; preparation of multi-year programmes, development programmes for agricultural infrastructure, regional plants and settlement patterns; conducting of research in agricultural and rural fields; referral of international projects in the sphere of agriculture and development of weak areas. This sphere of activity also includes contact with international institutions abroad and referral of the agricultural produce of neighbouring areas.

432. The Division for Land Preservation and Drainage is in charge of the development of regional and national economic plans for the utilization of waste water and preservation of the land resources, run-off water and natural vegetation, as well as for drainage and protection from flash floods of agricultural and built-up areas. To this end, the Division collects and analyses the natural data and determines the means for implementing the programmes. The Division is responsible for 42 drainage authorities and eight pasture authorities, which implement the regional and national plans and, through land preservation cells in the districts, instructs and guides farming settlements in the implementation of plans for local drainage and reservoirs. The Division undertakes land and pasturing surveys, land preservation planning research on regional and local drainage, reservoirs and pastures, and applied research (carried out at erosion research stations). The basis for every land preservation and pasturing programme is the land survey and the vegetation survey.

433. The Agricultural Research Administration coordinates the activity of research institutes and agricultural farms throughout the country, and deals with a wide range of subjects, from promotion of new products to the adjustment of mechanization and agricultural technology. The Administration deals also with development of products that can withstand disease and pests and development of innovative storage suitable for today's produce.


434. The Instruction and Professional Service helps farmers with instruction, planning and development of rural settlements. Advice and growing directives are given for the utilization of production elements according to each region’s climatic and agricultural character. The Service coordinates the range of actions in the fields of instruction, development and professional promotion in all branches and activities of the agricultural settlement. The professional units of the Service advise the senior echelons of the Ministry in policy formulation, and direct and guide the instruction units in the districts, at the regional instruction offices and in the field services. Ten instruction units in the districts and the offices deal with agricultural instruction and advice, arrange field days and demonstrations, study days, short courses and, of course and primarily, instruction for the farmer at his farm. In conjunction with the other units of the Ministry, special emphasis can be placed on activities to promote exports, replace imports and offer instruction to young settlements in accordance with the trends and work aims of the Ministry.

435. The Agricultural Investments Administration encourages capital investments in agriculture, promotes exports of agricultural produce and works for utilization of the natural conditions and experience latent in the agricultural sector. The administration was set up in order to operate the Encouragement of Capital Investment in Agriculture Law, 1980. The Government appoints the director of the Administration (at the recommendation of the Minister of Agriculture) and members of the Administration are appointed by the Ministers of Agriculture and Finance. The administration approves plans in accordance with the planning principles that the Ministry of Agriculture formulates for each budget year, after a branch, economic and professional examination. The law works to encourage investments in two ways: (a) a grant of 40 per cent of the investment; (b) income tax concessions for all the approved programmes - expressed by accelerated depreciation and an income tax ceiling of up to 30 per cent for companies and for an individual who is not a company who keeps separate two-sided books of account for the enterprise; 15 per cent for recipients of dividends from the companies. The concessions are given for the first five profitable years of the project but for not later than the twelfth year from the date on which approval was given for the programme. Farmers with land, water and a production quota are eligible to submit an application for approval of a programme.

436. The Division for Protection of Flora prevents the penetration of new diseases through control over imports and quarantining plants. It issues certificates of health for agricultural produce according to the requirements of the importing countries. It monitors diseases and their incidence and prepares lists of where they are found in the country. It locates and destroys new diseases that have entered the country before they become established here, and fights diseases that have entered and prevents their spread and consolidation. It also licenses and registers the supervision over pesticides for agricultural use and the examination of pesticide remnants; manages a computerized information centre in conjunction with the Agricultural Investments Administration; supervises plant reproductive material and seeds being traded; approves improved seeds; marks and registers mother trees and plants; supervises agricultural produce for export (fruit, vegetables and flowers); supervises and licenses fodder and additives to animal fodder; provides services for farmers for testing for diseases and their prevention and testing of pesticide preparations and fodder testing; and conducts applied research on subjects associated with the foregoing activities.

437. The Veterinary Services see to the health of livestock and other animals. The Veterinary Institute is responsible for health supervision and prevention of diseases and their spread.

The right to adequate housing


438. Throughout its 50_year history, Israel has maintained a steadfast commitment to the goal of a decent home in a suitable living environment. Although no comprehensive legislation mandates this objective, such as is the case in other countries, all the coalitions that have formed the Government since the establishment of the State have consistently sought to achieve this goal through various administrative programmes.

439. The well-founded objective of adequate housing for all citizens has been expressed differently during the last five decades – both because of the changing scope of housing need and because the variable conditions have led to modified definitions of need and to various forms of government involvement in housing provision.

The “hands on - hands off” policies of government involvement

440. A historical overview of housing policy in Israel indicates a steady decline in government involvement and an increasing reliance on the private sector. This trend has been disrupted from time to time, especially during periods of increased immigration that markedly affected the housing cycle, or when greater emphasis was placed on achieving other national objectives such as population dispersal to peripheral regions.

441. During the first 20 years after independence (1948-1967), national housing policy was implemented by what may be characterized as the State's “mighty hand”. During this period, more than two thirds of all dwelling units built were contracted by the Government, as opposed to private developers. Government agencies under the aegis of the Ministry of Construction and Housing (hereinafter “MCH”) were mandated with taking charge of the completed units and renting them to eligible families, primarily new immigrants from Europe and North Africa.

442. Over the subsequent 20 years, when the State exerted what may be termed a “guiding hand”, about one third of all new construction was government contracted, with the housing market being influenced by means of various government-initiated supply and demand mechanisms. The supply of government_owned units was still increasing and the eligible population groups for public rental units was expanded to include non-immigrant families living in substandard or overcrowded conditions.

443. Beginning in the mid-1980s, government housing policy was characterized by what may be termed a “disappearing hand” – striving to achieve Adam Smith's “invisible hand” – as the State increasingly relied on market forces and operated within the framework of a privatization policy. Concomitant with this policy, the national Government undertook a campaign to sell publicly owned rental units to the tenants. The outcome of this policy was a reduction of publicly owned stock by almost 30 per cent.


444. In the first half of the 1990's, a surge of immigrants from the former Soviet Union resulted in a population increase of approximately 12 per cent and a fourfold rise in annual housing demand. The privatized orientation experienced difficulties in meeting the housing demands of these new arrivals, especially since the immigrants represented a “needy” population group and thus a less profitable sector of the market. As a result, greater governmental incentives were required to stimulate the market to achieve the needed levels of construction. Significantly, these units were built to be sold and, at least initially, were not designated to be rented to individuals or families eligible for public housing.

445. This brief period may be termed the “outstretched hand” by those who justify the intensified involvement, or the “meddling hand” by those who disdain the form of government intervention that was adopted, and the concomitant effects on the housing market.

Housing situation in Israel

446. The first and foremost source of data relevant to this part of the present report is based on a Family Expenditure Survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 1992/93.

447. The existing data do not always distinguish between different population sub_groups. It is expected that more detailed information on housing conditions of various groups will be available in 1998, when the decennial census results are published.

448. It should be stressed that the MCH conducts periodic surveys of housing needs for different groups. These studies, conducted over the years, have focused on a variety of potentially vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, Arabs, single parents, immigrants, young couples, discharged soldiers, families living in development towns or in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, low-income households, physically challenged persons, etc. The results serve as the basis for calibrating the various parameters and adjusting eligibility criteria for all MCH housing assistance programmes. Since these groups may include both needy and resourceful households, the MCH programmes integrate the socio-economic characteristics of these groups without necessarily formulating a specific programme exclusively for a particular population sub_group.

449. The following is a short summary of the main findings of the Family Expenditure Survey, supplemented by additional data, when available.

(i) Tenure

450. The majority of Israel's households own their own home. In 1991 almost 72 per cent of all households were owner-occupiers. Almost one quarter (23.9 per cent) were renters, while the remaining 4 per cent lived in a variety of arrangements, especially where housing was provided within the context of work. Among the renter households, 2.1 per cent were classified as “protected” tenants under rent control legislation. Renter households may also be classified according to the type owner: 6.7 per cent of the rental households are rented from publicly owned units and 13.9 per cent from privately owned units. A breakdown of these data by deciles is included in the table shown below.


451. Through financial assistance programmes (described further below) 65 per cent of all new households purchase their own apartment within the first three years after marriage, and 91 per cent within 10 years of marriage. Thus young couples (married during the period 1982-1993) achieved the following ownership rates:


Length of marriage (years)
Ownership rate (%)
1-3
64.9
3-5
72.0
5-7
82.4
9-11
90.9
11-13
91.9


452. Of the new immigrants who arrived in Israel between 1989 and 1994 from the former Soviet Union, nearly 70 per cent own their housing today:


Year of immigration
Ownership rate (%)
No. of immigrants
1989
90.5
24 050
1990
84.4
199 516
1991
76.0
176 100
1992
.3
77 057
1993
68.7
76 805
1994
59.2
79 844
1995
47.1
76 362


(ii) Affordability

453. The data based on the family expenditure survey of 1992/93 indicate that the expenditure for housing for the average household was 19.48 per cent of overall consumption expenditures. The average outlay for the lowest two income deciles was 17.41 per cent, compared with 21.15 per cent for the two highest deciles. See a further breakdown in the following two tables.



SELECTED DATA ON HOUSING, BY DECILES OF
NET INCOME PER HOUSEHOLD
Deciles
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
Total
Households in population (thousands)
127.7
127.7
127.8
127.5
127.9
127.5
127.6
127.7
127.8
127.5
1 276.7
Persons in household
4.30
4.37
4.10
3.93
3.93
3.64
3.43
3.00
2.41
1.63
3.47
Standard persons in household
3.32
3.35
3.20
3.08
3.09
2.90
2.80
2.54
2.19
1.68
2.81
Earners in household
2.07
1.89
1.72
1.44
1.34
1.19
0.99
0.69
0.51
0.22
1.21
HOUSEHOLDS _ TOTAL (PERCENTAGES)
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Thereof:
Households with owned dwelling
92.5
87.9
86.1
78.6
76.9
72.5
66.5
64.2
50.1
36.1
71.2
Households with rented dwelling
5.3
9.0
11.0
16.2
17.9
23.7
28.4
29.0
42.2
56.3
23.9
AVERAGE ROOMS PER DWELLING
All households
4.30
4.01
3.55
3.45
3.24
3.17
2.94
2.84
2.50
2.17
3.22
Owned dwelling
4.34
4.04
3.60
3.54
3.32
3.29
3.02
3.01
2.72
2.48
3.45
Rented dwelling
3.67
3.85
3.28
3.15
3.01
2.81
2.82
2.58
2.31
1.97
2.62
HOUSING DENSITY (PERSONS PER ROOM)
All households
1.00
1.09
1.15
1.14
1.21
1.15
1.17
1.06
0.96
0.75
1.08
Owned dwelling
1.00
1.08
1.16
1.14
1.23
1.13
1.12
0.99
0.84
0.68
1.07
Rented dwelling
0.97
1.16
1.15
1.11
1.13
1.24
1.29
1.22
1.14
0.83
1.12
AVERAGE VALUE OF OWNED DWELLING (thousands NIS)
540.2
420.3
354.4
301.9
277.4
261.4
228.6
216.9
209.2
163.0
318.9
EXPENDITURE ON HOUSING AND
MAINTENANCE OF DWELLING
Imputed housing expenditure
per owned dwelling
1 764
1 386
1 162
997
914
866
757
710
691
529
1 048
Arnona tax per owned dwelling
182
155
129
1 220
106
101
92
81
67
46
116
Insurance of owned dwelling
69
41
35
35
19
13
10
12
8
4
28
Maintenance of owned dwelling
899
699
587
518
454
402
392
357
306
207
522
Maintenance of rented dwelling
685
678
630
463
358
294
267
226
201
138
284
Rent per rented dwelling
1 134
1 393
1 077
900
949
816
640
610
504
307
651
NET INCOME PER HOUSEHOLD
All households
12 196
8 171
6 659
5 578
4 741
4 075
3 384
2 748
2 117
1 246
5 092
Owned dwelling
12 080
8 184
6 665
5 589
4 737
4 082
3 388
2 758
2 118
1 339
5 714
Rented dwelling
13 986
8 039
6 617
5 522
4 764
4 066
3 382
2 725
2 118
1 177
3 434
E/1990/5/Add.39

page 147


SELECTED DATA ON HOUSING, BY STATUS AT WORK AND
CONTINENT OF BIRTH OF HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD
Continent of birth
Status at work
Non-Jews
Israel
Asia - Africa
Europe - America
Jews - total
Not
working
Self
employed
Employee
Total
Households in population (thousands)
126.9
413.6
290.1
445.3
1 148.9
435.7
145.8
695.1
1 276.7
Persons in household
5.43
3.51
3.67
2.75
3.26
2.70
4.08
3.83
3.47
Standard persons in household
3.86
2.86
2.93
2.40
2.70
2.34
3.17
3.04
2.81
Earners in household
1.32
1.42
1.24
0.96
1.19
0.37
1.70
1.63
1.21
HOUSEHOLDS - TOTAL (percentages)
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Thereof:
Households with owned dwelling
93.0
68.3
75.4
65.0
68.8
66.4
79.2
72.5
71.2
Households with rented dwelling
3.0
24.2
20.2
32.0
26.2
27.3
15.1
23.6
23.9
AVERAGE ROOMS PER DWELLING
All households
3.41
3.29
3.34
3.02
3.20
2.87
3.62
3.35
3.22
Owned dwelling
3.47
3.59
3.50
3.29
3.45
3.06
3.78
3.61
3.45
Rented dwelling
2.16
2.59
2.92
2.52
2.62
2.50
2.93
2.66
2.62
HOUSING DENSITY (PERSONS PER ROOM)
All households
1.59
1.07
1.10
0.91
1.02
0.94
1.13
1.14
1.08
Owned dwelling
1.60
1.08
1.09
0.82
0.99
0.91
1.13
1.14
1.07
Rented dwelling
1.46
1.03
1.13
1.17
1.11
1.04
1.14
1.17
1.12
AVERAGE VALUE OF OWNED DWELLING
(thousands NIS)
184.6
368.0
310.4
332.3
339.0
294.9
385.1
318.0
318.9
EXPENDITURE ON HOUSING AND
MAINTENANCE OF DWELLING
Imputed housing expenditure per owned dwelling
612
1 212
1 023
1 086
1 114
970
1 256
1 046
1 048
Arnona tax per owned dwelling
110
131
108
111
117
84
145
128
116
Insurance of owned dwelling
5
35
21
37
32
24
25
32
28
Maintenance of owned dwelling
512
602
451
502
524
411
635
560
522
Maintenance of rented dwelling
161
327
297
252
286
237
460
295
284
Rent per rented dwelling
283
720
331
744
656
497
983
719
651
NET INCOME PER HOUSEHOLD
All households
4 170
5 844
4 945
4 758
5 196
3 510
6 615
5 765
5 092
Owned dwelling
4 241
6 635
5 530
5 560
5 936
3 986
6 898
6 435
5 713
Rented dwelling
2 330
3 944
3 006
3 284
3 450
2 526
5 121
3 868
3 434


(iii) Sanitation facilities

454. The level of facilities in dwelling units is an important component of household living conditions. About 71 per cent of all households lived in dwelling units equipped with one toilet, while 28 per cent lived in units with two toilets or more. Similarly 75 per cent of all households lived in units with a bath while almost 25 per cent lived in dwelling units equipped with a shower only. These data refer to a survey of all recognized cities and townships, but did not include “illegal settlements” (dealt with further below). More comprehensive information covering these sites will be available next year, following the processing of the most recent decennial census information.

(iv) Density

455. Housing density, as measured by the number of persons per room, has declined over the years as the size of households has decreased and the average dwelling unit increased. The 1992/93 survey reveals an average of 1.1 persons per room (kitchen and bathroom not included). At the upper end of the density scale 12 per cent of all households live with between 1.5 and 1.99 persons per room, while an additional 11 per cent of households have more than two persons per room.

456. According to recent data for the year 1996 the average number of persons per room is under 1 per cent for Jews and stands at 1.62 per cent for non_Jews:

HOUSEHOLDS, BY HOUSING DENSITY, SIZE OF HOUSEHOLD
AND POPULATION GROUP
1996

Persons per room
Persons in household
Average per
Total
household
7 +
6
5
4
3
2
1
%000
    JEWS - TOTAL
3.32
4.3
6.8
14.6
18.4
15.5
22.9
17.5
100.0 1 340.0
    Up to 0.49
1.16
-
-
-
(0.2)
(1.1)
13.1
85.5
100.0145.7
    0.5
1.51
-
-
-
(0.4)
3.5
42.5
53.6
100.0114.9
    0.51 - 0.99
2.70
(0.1)
1.1
5.9
14.8
23.0
49.3
5.8
100.0346.2
    1.00
3.25
(0.4)
2.5
13.5
25.9
30.1
18.5
9.1
100.0296.7
    1.01 - 1.49
4.59
5.1
8.7
35.9
42.3
5.1
3.0
-
100.0225.9
    1.50 - 1.99
5.27
13.8
29.0
35.6
7.3
14.4
-
-
100.0125.2
    2.00
5.14
15.0
37.8
9.0
21.1
5.4
10.3
(1.4)
100.052.5
    2.01 - 2.49
7.58
81.7
(18.4)
-
-
-
-
-
100.010.6
    2.50 - 2.99
6.88
48.7
-
37.3
(14.0)
-
-
-
100.011.0
    3.00 +
7.87
59.8
20.6
(6.9)
(1.7)
(10.1)
(0.8)
-
100.010.2
    ARABS AND
    OTHERS -
5.06
24.3
15.7
16.8
16.6
11.2
10.0
5.4
100.0200.8
    TOTAL
    Up to 0.99
2.21
(0.2)
(1.4)
(2.1)
(6.9)
21.1
41.3
27.0
100.026.9
    1.00
3.00
-
(0.8)
7.2
28.2
30.3
22.4
11.2
100.028.5
    1.01 - 1.49
4.56
7.8
(6.2)
31.2
45.2
(5.8)
(3.8)
-
100.032.5
    1.50 - 1.99
5.39
16.8
29.4
33.6
6.0
14.3
-
-
100.039.6
    2.00
5.62
20.5
45.1
8.4
18.9
(1.0)
(4.6)
(1.6)
100.028.1
    2.01 - 2.49
7.39
91.2
(8.8)
-
-
-
-
-
100.012.5
    2.50 - 2.99
7.36
65.5
-
32.3
(2.3)
-
-
-
100.014.3
    3.00 +
8.39
71.2
18.9
(3.8)
(4.5)
(1.6)
-
-
100.018.4
Average no. of persons per room
    Jews
1.87
1.44
1.22
1.06
0.89
0.65
0.41
100.00.97
    Arabs and others
2.41
1.77
1.55
1.28
1.02
0.76
0.53
100.01.62

Source: CBS Statistical Abstract of Israel 1997.


(v) Public housing eligibility

457. Approximately 120,000 housing units (7.5 per cent of total households in Israel) are administered by public housing companies. Two such companies maintain units in numerous cities and towns throughout the country, while the remaining are primarily jointly owned national-municipal companies. Eligibility for publicly owned rental units is set by criteria described below. The most recent official figures indicate that approximately 2,000 families are on waiting lists for public housing.


(vi) Homelessness

458. Out of a population of over 5.8 million only about 3,000 persons are estimated to be “homeless”. Social service agencies at the national level under the aegis of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, working in conjunction with the local municipalities, have provided assistance to approximately 1,200 homeless persons since 1990. The Ministry's annual budgetary appropriations for addressing the needs of homeless persons amounts to NIS 4.5 million ($1.3 million). Moreover, the various assistance programmes, described further in this chapter, typically render homelessness in Israel a temporary situation.

459. The special situation of two particularly vulnerable sub-groups need further elaboration: new immigrants from Ethiopia and Bedouins living in illegal settlements.

460. New immigrants from Ethiopia. There are today in Israel a total of about 57,000 Ethiopian Jews, who immigrated in two major waves in the mid_1980s and in 1991. They have large families and about 60 per cent of them are under age 18. There is a high percentage of single-parent families (about 25 per cent), about three times the national rate. Their integration into Israeli society has raised some major challenges.

461. The immigrants who came in the 1980s were settled directly into local communities in which they, for the most part, established permanent residence based on the provision of public housing. By the time the 1991 wave arrived, the public housing stock in the central cities had been used up. It should be taken into account that at that time there were already some 300,000 new immigrants from the CIS in the country. The newcomers from Ethiopia were at first housed in hotels and various absorption centres. Later, they were provided with caravans in 22 mobile home sites. Some 6,930 households from the CIS and 4,920 households from Ethiopia were housed in caravan sites. Efforts to provide these immigrants with permanent housing have proven effective, as shown in the following table:


The situation in September 1992
The situation in April 1996
Families
Singles
Families
Singles
Caravan sites
3 720
1 200
450
910
Absorption centres
1 460
500
250
320
Hotels
157
_
_
_
Other
_
_
_
200
Total
5 337
1 700
700
1 340


462. A contributing factor of change was the initiation in 1992 by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption of an unprecedented mortgage programme (described below).

463. Occupants of illegal settlements (mostly Bedouins). The right to decent housing is recognized in Israel within the legal framework of town planning and local government organization. However, this does not mean having the right to live anyplace one chooses. There exist in Israel about 53,000 people, mostly Bedouins, living in settlements of all sizes, which do not fit in the urban and rural planning schemes designed by the relevant authorities under Israeli law. Such settlers consistently refuse governmental aid proposals for resettling in appropriate locations. The following is a detailed account of the legal and factual situation regarding illegal settlements in Israel.

464. The Bedouins started settling in the land of Israel in the fifth century A.D. This process continued, most notably during the time of the Ottoman Administration over the region, and throughout the period of the British Mandate, preceding the establishment of the State of Israel. This gradual process has continued up to contemporary times.

465. A great deal of the lands which the Bedouins claim are of the legal type named muwat, i.e. land that is not privately owned or possessed. The relevant laws regarding muwat lands were implemented in 1858, in accordance with paragraph 6 of the Ottoman statute over this area. Paragraph 103 of the same law determines that the possession of the muwat land which is not privately owned, is conditioned by an initial permit.

466. During the British Mandate similar laws were enacted. Thus, the Land Ordinance (Mewat) 1921 states:

467. As for cultivating land without a formal permit before the publishing of this Ordinance, it was possible to formalize a legal right to the land by filling out a request with the Land Clerk within two months of the Ordinance's publication. Following the publication of the Ordinance, the Bedouins did not register the lands they were inhabiting. A great many have no written documents proving their rights. Nevertheless, both the Ottoman Administration and the British Mandate officials decided not to evacuate the Bedouin inhabitants from the lands they effectively were inhabiting.

468. Indeed, traditional Bedouin law is significantly different from that implemented by the Ottoman Administration, including different ways of proof with no need to issue formal written documents. However, Israel's law of land rights does require written documents for any land transaction.


469. Nevertheless, the Government finds it hard to meet the basic needs of the people, being obliged to provide services, such as water, electricity, roads, health care, and sanitary and educational facilities, without prior and proper planning.

470. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, a national plan for handling the Bedouin illegal settlement problem in the south had been formed. According to the plan, seven urban towns were to be established for the entire Bedouin population in the south. The Bedouins willing to settle there were to be compensated properly and to be transferred to the towns. Today, around 40,000 people who accepted the national plan reside in those towns. Unfortunately, more than 50 per cent of the Bedouin population still live in illegal settlement locations. Their main demand is to be permitted to form rural settlements, where they could practise traditional habitation.

471. Currently, a Planning and Building Law (Reformation - Demolishing Orders) Bill is being debated in the Knesset. The main goal of this proposed legislation is a total ban on the implementation of any demolishing order in any illegal settlement until a proper solution has been found for the inhabitants.

472. Israel acknowledges that it cannot impose upon the entire Bedouin population an urban solution which would be contrary to its wish and traditional way of life. Hence, in 1995, the Minister of Housing instructed that the existing policy be changed. The Minister developed a new strategy aimed at promoting a better quality of life for the entire Bedouin population while maintaining the traditional Bedouin way of life. Investments in the Bedouin sector have increased from NIS 50 million in 1989, to NIS 138 million in 1993-1995. New guidelines issued by the Housing Minister directed that investments in infrastructure should be on a level comparable to that in Jewish settlements.

473. According to the new guidelines:

(a) The Ministries of Interior and Housing are to plan two or three new urban towns for 20,000 people. Their living would be earned from agriculture and sheep;

(b) Agricultural settlements - two to three new agricultural settlements are to be established, each accommodating 600 families;

(c) Ten agricultural farms are to be planned for around 5,000 people;

(d) Five to seven shepherds' settlements for around 100 families are to be planned.


474. In 1996 a special Knesset commission examined this issue. One of its recommendations was to find a compromise; whereas on the one hand some of the illegal settlements would be recognized, on the other hand, proper compensation for concession of the land would be granted. The commission also agreed that aside from providing compensation, the towns where the Bedouins would reside should meet their needs and characteristics. Resources for additional settlements will be allocated and the number, location and distribution of their inhabitants stipulated. Furthermore, it also recommended that arbitrators be appointed for rapid processing of Bedouin claims, and that Bedouin settlements be connected to electricity and sewage systems more rapidly.

475. The Supreme Court has addressed on several occasions the unique problem of illegal settlement and inadequate housing conditions in the Bedouin sector in Israel, and has expressed its approval of the government policy to encourage the transfer of Bedouins into permanent settlements built on State lands. The following citation sums up the problem from a legal point of view:


476. Data on settlements in the south. The Bedouin population is spread throughout the northern part of the Negev, mostly in the Sayig area covering 1.5 million dunam. Some 40 per cent of the area is being utilized by the Bedouin for habitation, pasture and agriculture. The total Bedouin population in the south is estimated today to be 100,000 people. About 50,000 live in “illegal” settlements. The yearly natural growth of this population is about 5.6 per cent, at this rate the total Bedouin population in the south will number 120,000 by the year 2000. It is worthwhile noting that the total population of Israel is some 5.8 million people, meaning that the number of inhabitants living in “illegal” settlements in the southern part of the country is less than 1 per cent of the total Israeli population.

477. The “illegal” settlements are excluded from the formal population survey. There are no updated and exact data regarding the size of the population or its composition. Nevertheless, in 1991 the Ministry of Interior conducted a survey to evaluate the size of the population and other demographic data. According to the survey there are 108 tribes divided into several settlements. The total number of temporary settlements is estimated to be 1,213. The total number of housing units in the settlements is estimated to be 9,273. According to these data, the population in the area totals a minimum of 46,000 and a maximum of 93,000 inhabitants (calculated at five people per housing unit minimum, 10 people per housing unit maximum). In addition there are some 64 small settlement points (less than 50 housing units per settlement) with 1,350 housing units, and 40 large settlement points (more than 50 housing units per settlement) with 7,923 housing units. Average density for small settlements is 21 housing units per settlement. Average density for large settlements is 192 housing units per settlement.

478. Data on settlements in the north. The number of Bedouin in the northern part of Israel is estimated to be 38,000 people. Of them the number of people in illegal settlements is 3,000.

479. Prospects for the future. In light of the principle of equality, Israel cannot accept a wide range of illegal housing in the Bedouin settlements. Nevertheless, the Government acknowledges the fact that illegal building in this case is done out of necessity. An effort is being made to reduce the implementation of demolition orders until a permanent solution can be found. Since the beginning of the 1990s there is an ongoing process of accepting the claims of the Bedouin representative organizations.

480. Nine of the 40 settlements legalization - eight were legalized during the years 1995-1996 (government decisions Nos. 4377, dated 14 December 1994; 4569, dated 3 January 1995; and 206, dated 24 December 1995). Today, the administrative planning for the settlements is approaching completion. Government decision No. 206 determined that consultations would continue over the ninth locality.

481. Consultations over other small illegal settlements - mostly comprised of single families - are continuing out of a commitment to the late Prime Minister Rabin's declaration that the Government favoured the integration of smaller illegal settlements into larger legal ones, adopting one of the following alternatives: keeping the rights to their agricultural land, substituting lands, receiving compensation for the lands. In May 1996, the Government also decided on a special allocation of NIS 5 million for providing infrastructure to the newly recognized settlements.


482. The Attorney_General took it upon himself on 15 June 1997 to call upon the Ministry of Interior to find creative solutions to speed up the planning process regarding those settlements which have been legalized, so that basic services as water, electricity, education and so on could be provided soon. As to the other settlements, the Attorney_General decided to urge the Prime Minister to establish an interministerial committee to coordinate the various current governmental activities, with clear instructions to be more sensitive to the humanitarian aspect of the problem. The Attorney_General’s main suggestion was to tackle the problem on a practical level, looking for ad hoc solutions, taking into consideration distinctions between old and new homes, small and large settlements, whether houses were placed on already planned lands, etc.

Overview of current housing assistance programmes

483. The Ministry of Construction and Housing (MCH) utilizes various policy tools aimed at creating an adequate supply of affordable housing that meets the needs of the country's various population groups. The Ministry's NIS 10 billion ($2.9 billion) budget covers the entire housing production process from planning and land allocation, via construction and infrastructure provision, to mortgage financing and public housing. The overall strategy is an enabling one whereby the Government makes resources available both on the supply side and on the demand side to provide the means for various types of households to purchase housing.

(i) Supply-side policies

484. The MCH undertakes a variety of measures aimed at increasing the supply of housing. These measures include:

Statutory planning of new cities, towns and neighbourhoods;

Land tenders housing, out of State-owned lands;

485. Land use falls under the purview of the Planning and Building Law 1965. This law establishes a three-tiered system of statutory bodies and plans at the national, district and local levels. National plans are formulated by the National Planning and Building Board and approved by the Government; district plans are prepared by six District Planning Committees and approved by the National Board; and local plans are prepared by Local Planning Boards or by private entrepreneurs and approved at the local or district levels depending on the scope and complexity of the plan. Building permits and inspection of construction to ensure compliance with the local code is administered by local planning committees. The full text of this law is attached in annex A to this report.

486. Further mention should be made of land tenders for housing. In 1996 the MCH and the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) issued a variety of tenders for land planned for some 46,000 dwelling units. These tenders include: “Lowest Price to the Consumer”, in which competition among builders focuses on marketing the finished units to eligible families at the lowest per metre price; “Cooperative Housing” built in conjunction with municipalities for eligible households; “Net Housing” in which the Government coordinates between a contractor, selected by competitive bid, and eligible families who have been selected by lottery; as well as the traditional regular bids for land without any limitations set on price or eligibility criteria. In all cases, the land offered for tender has a site plan approved by the various statutory planning bodies. Furthermore, the land is serviced with residential infrastructure provided either by the MCH, the ILA or a relevant municipal agency.

(ii) Demand-side assistance

487. The MCH provides demand-side housing assistance in a variety of forms. These include:

Mortgages - approximately 50,000 subsidized mortgages annually;

Rent supplements - approximately 140,000 rent supplements monthly;

Public housing - approximately 7,000 new tenants annually.

488. Before providing further details on each form of assistance, it is important to note their common principles:

(a) Building a partnership between the individual and the State in solving housing problems: the assistance is conditioned on the individual’s financial participation, according to his/her needs and resources;

(b) Leaving the choice to the individual as to the preferred solution of the available assistance schemes;

(c) Defining qualifications for assistance and the level thereof according to objective criteria;

(d) Providing clear information on the various existing privileges, in order to minimize the level of an individual's dependence on the authorities;

(e) Granting the services within a framework of specialized agencies, such as mortgage banks and public housing corporations. The goal of the MCH is to concentrate on policy_making, allocating resources, delineating rules for achieving its goals and supervising performance.

(iii) Mortgage assistance


489. Mortgages are provided for the acquisition of housing (first- or second_hand), building one's own home, or apartment enlargement. In 1996 more than 52,000 government-sponsored mortgages were provided to the various categories of eligible households, 90 per cent of whom were first_time home_owners. Most of the subsidies for the loans are financed by the national budget. In 1995 over 96 per cent of the loans were financed by the Government; the remaining 3.5 per cent were financed and backed by private banks, with a government subsidy to cover the difference between the market interest rate and the special interest rate for such loans. The overall budget for these loans was in 1996 approximately NIS 6 million ($1.7 million), which represents 3.4 per cent of the 1996 total national budget.

490. The central precondition for eligibility for mortgage assistance is to be a “non-homeowner”: this term applies to a household in which neither spouse is currently or previously a homeowner (retainer of property rights in an apartment or house) nor has received in the past governmental assistance for housing. Non-homeowners are then divided into several groups, according to their status (immigrant/non-immigrant) and their family status (singles, couples, single-parent families). The assistance level is defined by different parameters that vary among the different groups (i.e. years of marriage, number of children, size of original family, etc.). In general, these parameters imply situations of socio-economic need and are aimed at quantifying such needs (every parameter determines a certain amount of points, which add up to determine the level of assistance). For the Young Couples Program, for example, the number of children and the number of siblings of both spouses have been found to serve as an indirect measure of equity accumulation, reflecting the local pattern in which parents often help their children in making the initial down_payment for housing.

491. Further differentiation may be made in exceptional cases on the basis of a “severity test” which is determined according to the extent of distress, its length, the size of the family, etc. Finally, the Families of Single_Parent Law and the Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Law 1994 prescribes an increase in the level of assistance to these two specific sectors of the population, also assuming the existence of increased needs. The final, and important, criterion of level of assistance is the geographic site chosen for the realization of the mortgage assistance. The country is divided in four zones, depending on the governmental preferences and based on geo-political considerations. Development towns, for example, are usually included in the zone where the level of assistance is the greatest. As a general rule, assistance in peripheral areas is greater than that in the centre of Israel.

492. In exceptional cases an appeal against refused requests for assistance can be filed to a local Housing Assistance Committee, composed of representatives of governmental and municipal housing officials. A district Housing Assistance Committee exists as a higher appeal instance. Finally, there exists in the MCH headquarters a Central Appeal Committee, which is given discretion to grant assistance in deviation from the rules, in order to address particular and unusual problems.

493. In the last decade there has been a significant growth in the rate of young Israeli couples that have exercised their right to subsidized mortgages. Available data enable comparison between the years 1984-1986 and 1994-1996 and show an average growth of about 40 per cent - from 37 per cent to over 51 per cent. The most dramatic growth of mortgage realization is among the Arab population (680 per cent), and the Druze population (about 59 per cent).
Data
1984-1986
1994-1996
Change
Average number of marriages
29 714
36 229
21.7%
Jews
23 673
27 150
14.7%
Arabs
5 543
8 327
50.2%
Druze
498
752
50.9%
Average number mortgages executed
10 930
18 657
70.7%
Jews
10 481
15 182
50.9%
Arabs
229
2 319
912.7%
Druze
219
526
139.8%
Percentage of realization
36.8%
51.5%
40.0%
Jews
44.3%
58.2%
31.5%
Arabs
4.1%
27.9%
680.1%
Druze
44.0%
70.0%
58.9%


494. Other specialized programmes for mortgage assistance include:

Single_parent - for single parent households;

Immigrants - for new immigrants, especially from the CIS and Ethiopia;

Elderly - for those of retirement age;

Singles _ for single-person households;


495. Single-parent families. The level of assistance to this group is relatively higher than for most non-homeowners. The Single-Parent Families Law 1992 was enacted in recognition of the fact that this group is especially vulnerable and the chances of a single parent (usually a single mother) purchasing housing are of the lowest. Recently, a special increase in assistance was added for single-parent families which have seniority as such of over five years. The mortgage rates for this group approaches the rate of the highest levels of couples assistance, i.e. who reach these levels after a longer period. The following table illustrates the form and level of mortgage assistance for this group:

Assistance for single-parent families (in NIS)

Status
Mortgage ratePortion which is a conditional grant
Initial monthly return
Zone No. 1
sing. fam. + child
153 000
47 000
535
+ over 5 years
170 000
53 000
590
Zone No. 2
sing. fam. + child
163 700
50 300
573
+ over 5 years
181 900
56 700
631
Zone No. 3
sing.fam. + 0_3 child
124 000
31 000
468
sing. fam. + 4_5 child
136 000
35 000
508
sing. fam. + 6 + child.
146 000
37 000
647
Zone No. 4
sing. fam. + 0.3 child
138 000
45 000
461
sing. fam. + 4_5 child
149 000
45 000
461
sing. fam. + 6 + child
159 000
52 000
530


496. Singles. Singles over the age of 27 are entitled to assistance with mortgages for housing purchase only. The level of assistance is determined according to age, while individuals over the age of 35 are entitled to almost the same assistance level which is granted to couples. Recently there has been an improvement for individuals over the age of 45, both by raising the level of assistance itself and by increasing the portion which is a conditional grant.

497. The elderly. In general, an elderly person is an individual over the age of 65. A woman can be considered elderly by age 60. At certain assistance levels, elderly persons without children can get the same amounts as families with children.


498. Immigrants. Housing assistance is crucial to Israel’s policy of encouraging immigration. Most new immigrants lack a stable financial basis and need some time to obtain a steady and remunerative employment. Hence the assistance made available to new immigrants, which is higher than to most of the non-immigrant groups. Entitlement for assistance as an immigrant is nevertheless basically limited to seven years, after which he/she is considered as a non-immigrant. Concerning new immigrants from Ethiopia, in light of their rather unique situation, there are special criteria which further raise the level of mortgages up to over NIS 365,000, of which about 90 per cent is a grant, with a special initial monthly return of NIS 157. (For comparison, see the table presented above relating to assistance to single parents.)

499. Substitution or enlargement of residence. Although most assistance schemes are intended for “non-homeowners”, there are also programmes aimed at solving acute housing problems of homeowners. Improving housing conditions is sometimes vital, such as for health or safety reasons, overcrowding and other hardship conditions. Assistance is offered in such cases to people in need, based on established socio-economic criteria. A main scheme of such assistance exists in the context of Project Renewal, which designates disadvantaged neighbourhoods, establishes a decision_making process designed to empower their residents, and allocates resources for a variety of projects, including improvement of housing conditions. Another important criteria to be mentioned here is over-crowded housing. Assistance to solve problems of overcrowding is available for households with more than 2.2 persons per room or when the apartment's size is too small relative to the number of persons living in it:

Number of persons
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Area (square meters)
22
39
48
58
68
78
88
98

500. The various levels of assistance are described in the next chart (in NIS):

Family size and overcrowding
Mortgage
Portion which is a conditional grant
Initial monthly return
Over 4 persons/room
0-6 persons
58 000
10 000
252
7-8 persons
80 000
32 000
252
9 persons
89 000
41 000
252
10+ persons
98 000
50 000
252
Over 3 persons/room
0-6 persons
46 000
6 000
210
7-8 persons
66 000
26 000
210
9 persons
75 000
35 000
210
10+ persons
84 000
44 000
210

501. Finally, the eligibility for the substitution or enlargement of a residence due to health problems is determined according to the opinion of a medical consultant of the MCH. The level of assistance is identical to other sorts of assistance for housing improvement.

(iv) Rent supplements

502. This programme is aimed to provide assistance in renting private_market apartments. The population groups that are eligible for rent supplements are primarily vulnerable groups. These include: new immigrants, who receive a graduated stipend that decreases over a five-year period; single-parent households - for three years; households whose income falls below a minimum and who exercise their full employment potential; couples who have accumulated 1,400 points or more for three years (according to the criteria of eligibility for mortgage assistance to non-homeowners, as described above), regardless of income. When a means test applies, the main test in use is a proof of eligibility for one of the various subsistence allowances provided by the National Insurance Institute. Aid is also provided to persons in the process of a divorce and responsible for a child/children, and to a single parent who waived her/his housing rights as part of the divorce agreement. The programme is usually aimed as a temporary solution for one to three years, but low_income families according to special criteria, are entitled to unlimited extensions in assistance. The administrative process for realizing the right to rental assistance resembles that provided for subsidized mortgages (described above).

503. Empirical data for 1996 show that rent supplements were made available to more than 140,000 households each month. Of the 142,000 households that received rent supplements at the end of 1996, almost 113,000 (80 per cent) were new immigrants; 13,000 (9 per cent) were young couples with the requisite number of points; 6,300 (4.4 per cent) were single-parent households; and 2,800 (2 per cent) were elderly households, other than those included in the immigrant families.

504. According to the MCH rules there are certain criteria for entitlement to a public housing unit. Priority is given to single-parent households with three or more children, to families whose members have a physical disability and to particularly low income households. Rental rates are set at three different levels, provided that the maximum level of assistance does not exceed 95 per cent of the actual rent. The main criteria under public housing assistance schemes are:

(a) Initial allocation:

(i) Certain non-homeowners - couples, one_person families, single-parent families, elderly persons, handicapped persons - with a means test;

(ii) Residents in unfit accommodation - without any means test;

(b) Change of residence within public housing:

(i) Health problems - without any means test;

(ii) Overcrowded conditions - without any income test.

505. Means tests take into consideration the overall income of the household. The entitlement rate is also influenced by the geographic location of units throughout the country. Generally speaking, there is a large reservoir of apartments held by the MCH and its agents, mostly in peripheral areas of the country. If an appropriate apartment is not available, there is a possibility that the Ministry will finance the acquisition of one to enable placement of an applicant eligible for subsidized rent. Such acquisition is decided according to the financial abilities of the Ministry. In 1996, about 100 such units were purchased to address particularly acute problems.

(vi) Special asistance of the Ministry for Labor and Social Affairs

506. Temporary relief of acute housing crises. There are three different types of such special assistance programmes: participation in rate fees; participation in house_repair expenses; participation in house_moving expenses. The general purpose of the programme is to provide a temporary “safety net” for people with an acute housing crisis. The aid is for a maximum period of two months and its goal is to prevent further aggravation of the situation. It is aimed at persons without any other alternative, who are in extreme personal or familial distress (or in danger thereof) because of exceptional housing conditions. Income tests similar to those used by the MCH is an additional condition. Eligibility is decided on the basis of a report made by a professional social worker. A common factor taken into consideration in this context is the existence or absence of a natural family capable of helping. Assistance is also provided when a judicial opinion recommends or orders separate residences.

507. Special assistance to the homeless. Treatment units in seven municipalities in different parts of the country provide a network of services for homeless persons. These services include: (a) shelter - emergency shelter during which efforts are made to establish eligibility for ongoing assistance; (b) treatment - a rehabilitation centre for treatment and diagnosis to help undertake the process of rehabilitation and the return to a more normal framework of living; (c) satellite apartments serving as “links” to facilitate the return to the community. In addition, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has established supplementary services and sheltered housing for two small sub_groups with additional needs: (a) alcoholics; and (b) those with emotional or physical disabilities. The services are conducted in cooperation with other national government agencies, including MCH, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, and the Ministry of Health, as well as municipal welfare services. This joint effort illustrates the widely accepted commitment on the part of government (both national and local) to taking responsibility for administering the needs of homeless individuals.

The legal framework of housing assistance

508. The Israeli legal framework relating to housing can be divided into two sorts of legal arrangements: (a) administrative directives, which define most of the assistance schemes; and (b) statutes and legal precedents which affect housing rights in the market.


509. The Housing Loans Law 1991 at first sight seems to contradict the validity of the previous distinction, since it creates a legal right to Government-subsidized mortgages. The Law sets a minimum range of mortgage assistance and stipulates maximum levels of interest rate. The Law furthermore authorizes the Minister of Construction and Housing, in conjunction with the Minister of Finance, to provide supplementary assistance at rates to be determined between them. The full text of this law is attached in annex A to this Report.


510. However, the law defines the content of the right by way of referral to the existing rules issued by the MCH. Therefore, no real change occurred since its enactment, and it will remain so until new rules are issued. One can nevertheless say that provisions which until this law was passed were mere “administrative directives”, must now be e allocated and the number, location and distribution of their inhabitants stipulated. Furthermore, it also recommended that arbitrators be appointed for rapid processing of Bedouin claims, and that Bedouin settlements be connected to electricity and sewage systems more rapidly.

475. The Supreme Court has addressed on several occasions the unique problem of illegal settlement and inadequate housing conditions in the Bedouin sector in Israel, and has expressed its approval of the government policy to encourage the transfer of Bedouins into permanent settlements built on State lands. The following citation sums up the problem from a legal point of view:

513. The above legal analysis concerns direct assistance to be provided by State or other public agencies. One must keep in mind that there exist in Israel various legal provisions that indirectly affect housing rights and opportunities, often in a way that diminishes the need for direct assistance. Such is the Protection of Tenants Law (Revised Version) 1972. This Law applies only to the housing units it defines (constituting about 2.1 per cent of total rental households). Accordingly, tenants are protected from raises in rent over a certain sum defined by governmental ordinance under the Law. This Law also protects the tenants to which it applies from eviction in contradiction to defined grounds, and gives the courts full discretion to oppose an eviction plea whenever it believes it is needed for “reasons of justice”. As a matter of fact, this provision has made eviction from protected tenants almost impossible.

514. Also important in the present context is the Rental and Borrowing Law 1971, which defines the division of responsibility between landlords and their tenants as far as maintenance of the housing unit is concerned.


515. The Sales Law 1968 is a generalized consumer protection-related law. It specifies the rights and responsibilities of the consumer and seller, and outlines the various remedies available in case of breach of the law. The Sales Law (Apartments) 1973 further protects those purchasing new dwelling units from contractors. The Law delineates a standard sales format outlining the physical features of the dwelling unit, and provides for remedies in instances of disparities between the sales contract and the completed unit. The Law additionally defines the minimum guarantee period for various components of the dwelling unit or building. Finally, the Sales Law (Guarantees for the Investment of Purchasers of Apartments) 1974 focuses on providing financial guarantees to the purchasers of apartments from building contractors during the construction process. The law calls for the seller to provide bank guarantees or insurance to the purchaser to protect all payments made before the title transfer is completed.

516. Finally, legal arrangements exist for the provision of substantive reductions or even a total waiver of homeowners’ municipal tax in cases involving very low income owners, according to various means tests.

Government policy to combat poverty in Israel - Recent trends and developments

Existing policy

517. Increased resources have been allocated to programmes for promoting social development in the last several years. The areas which have received greatest attention in terms of planning, allocation of funds, and reorganization include improved quality of education and reforms in income maintenance, direct taxation and health care systems. The principles underlying the current government policy to reduce poverty and income disparities are:


518. The Single-Parent Families Law, enacted in 1992, has strengthened the social protection for one-parent families with low income, by increasing the level of their means-tested benefit (i.e. the minimum subsistence income), as well as by awarding them child-education grants and priority in vocational training. The law brought about an equalization of rights among the various types of one-parent families, under the principle of “equal treatment for families with equal needs”.

519. In 1994, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs initiated the law for the Reduction of Poverty and Income Disparities. This was enacted in part in response to the publication of data that indicated an increase in the rate of poverty in the last several years. The fact that such a law has been enacted reflects the society’s recognition and commitment to alleviate economic hardship and reduce income inequality. Under this law, the means-tested benefits paid to the elderly and one-parent families, as well as the disability benefits for families with children, have been raised significantly and now exceed the poverty line. Also, beneficiaries aged 46 and over received an increment of the benefit, in view of their little likelihood of finding a job. It is estimated that the law will bring about a one third reduction in the incidence of poverty. The resources for financing the increased benefits have been raised mainly by a light cut in the level of the universal child allowances, with the exception of those paid to large families, as well as by an increment in government participation in the financing of social security benefits. A complementary proposal, submitted to the government by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and now under discussion, would extend the increased means-tested benefits to all families with children.

Towards universality of Child Allowance Programs

520. In 1993-1994 the Government completed the final steps necessary to establish a universal child allowance scheme, by which a unified allowance would be granted to every family in Israel in accordance with the number of children. These steps included abolishing the income test for small families as a prerequisite for entitlement to child allowances and gradually extending the child allowance increments provided to veterans of the armed services to the entire population. The purpose of these changes was to overcome the low take-up rate of child allowances by small low-income families (only 50 per cent of eligible families had received the allowance) and to base the child allowance level on the number of children alone, irrespective of income and service in the armed forces. This should enhance the equity of the scheme and bring about an improvement in the well-being of families with children, in particular large non-Jewish families, most of whom were previously ineligible for the special increments provided to those who served in the armed forces.


Tax reforms

521. An exceptional number of reforms in the Israel direct tax system took place during the last decade. Since 1984, the Government has undertaken several policy measures to reduce the income tax burden, mainly to enhance work incentives and promote economic growth. These measures, which have been gradually implemented over the decade brought about a reduction in the marginal income tax rates. (The lowest rate has been reduced from 25 per cent to 15 per cent, and the high from 60 per cent to 48 per cent.) High-income earners have benefited more than low-income earners from these tax changes. To compensate for the adverse effects on equity, complementary steps have been, and will be, implemented in the tax schemes of the social security and health systems, so as to improve overall equity of direct taxes.

522. Under the Reduction of Poverty and Income Disparities Law which came into force in 1995, the social security tax basis will be broadened - by raising the tax basis ceiling and by including income components currently exempt from taxation - and the rate levied on low incomes will be reduced by 50 per cent. This policy has also been adopted as part of the National Health Insurance Law 1995. Its importance lies not only in achieving a more equitable distribution of the tax burden, but also in reducing the poverty trap afflicting many workers who currently straddle the borderline between low paid jobs and unemployment. Furthermore, under the reformed health tax scheme, special attention has been paid to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly or widow/widowers, who will pay only a minimum flat rate contribution.

The National Council for Diminishing Social Gaps and War on Poverty

523. The National Council for Diminishing Social Gaps and War on Poverty was founded by the Government in August 1996 and began operating in May 1997. Its mandate includes defining “poverty”, indicating its causes and trends, submitting to the government proposals for a national policy, innovative reform projects and ways to enhance empowerment of disadvantaged groups and finally, running pilot projects.

524. Whereas the Israeli Government has always been deeply involved with social policy and social assistance, it is the first time an attempt is made to provide national leadership with comprehensive and systematic data and approach.

525. The council's composition combines professionalism and empowerment. The Labor and Social Affairs Minister chairs an assembly of about 70 members, of whom 60 per cent represent governmental and public agencies, universities, religious and spiritual circles, and 40 per cent are community representatives (volunteers, representatives of relevant NGO’s, local community leaders, etc.). Members of the assembly take part in specialized working committees, headed by prominent specialists. The council is activated and coordinated by a gearing committee and a coordinator, under the direction of the Director General of the Ministry for Labor and Social Affairs. A decision on its budget is still to be made. For the meantime, it is mainly based on volunteer participation and on modest funds provided by the Ministry.


International cooperation

526. The Center for International Agricultural Cooperation and Instruction at the Ministry of Agriculture assists developing countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. The aid is given as direct instruction, conducting courses for further training in Israel, mobile courses in the target countries, and also advice with the planning of different agricultural ventures. The centre coordinates activity in joint research for developing countries. The research is coordinated with academic agricultural research centres in Israel. Thanks to the fruitful cooperation between researchers and research institutions in Israel, by the funding countries and the developing countries, the funding countries are expanding this activity for the coming years. There is also cooperation on the subject with a number of non_governmental organizations overseas, and, in many instances, a funding source for development of the projects, training courses and research, is involved. The contacts with these bodies is fully coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

527. The centre, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has run courses and trained manpower in various agricultural matters for hundreds of students in Israel, as well as 60 mobile courses in countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, Egypt and Eastern Europe. The activities include the sending of experts for long-term agricultural projects, setting up a sample farm, consultating in the framework of agricultural projects and providing other advice in coordination with, and at the request of, the various countries.

528. During the last year, joint activities with countries that have recently renewed ties with Israel has increased - among them: China, India and various countries of the former Soviet bloc.

Article 12 _ The right to the highest attainable standard of health

Introductory overview

529. Israel is a member party of the World Health Organization (WHO). Israel's last report to the WHO, “Highlights on Health in Israel”, was submitted in 1996 and covers data up to 1993. It is attached in Annex 3 of this report.

530. This introductory overview is a reproduction of the summary of the report, updated to 1996, with the addition of the following table, which presents the main data on the indicators of the physical and mental health of the Israeli population and on the change in these indicators over time:
SELECTED HFA INDICATORS FOR ISRAEL

Indicator title
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1. Demographic and socio_economic
Mid-year population, total
3,879,000
3,949,700
4,026,700
4,037,600
4,159,100
4,232,900
4,298,800
4,368,900
4,441,600
4,518,200
4,660,100
4,946,200
5,123,500
5,261,400
5,399,300
5,539,700
Mid-year population, male
1,938,300
1,973,000
2,010,800
2,011,600
2,075,700
2,112,300
2,144,600
2,179,000
2,215,100
2,253,200
2,321,000
2,458,300
2,543,000
2,609,400
2,675,800
.
Mid-year population, female
1,940,700
1,976,700
2,015,900
2,026,000
2,083,400
2,120,600
2,154,200
2,189,900
2,226,500
2,265,000
2,339,100
2,487,900
2,580,500
2,652,000
2,723,500
.
Live birth, total
93,484
93,308
96,695
98,724
98,478
99,376
99,341
99,022
100,454
100,757
103,349
105,725
110,062
103,330
114,543
117,182
Live birth, male
48,144
47,204
49,566
50,838
50,914
50,911
50,936
50,559
51,603
51,638
53,013
54,141
56,603
57,775
58,855
60,155
Live birth, female
45,340
46,104
47,129
47,886
47,564
48,465
48,405
48,463
48,851
49,119
50,336
51,584
53,459
45,555
55,688
57,027
Total fertility rate
3.14
3.06
3.12
3.14
3.13
3.12
3.09
3.05
3.06
2.90
2.80
2.80
2.70
2.80
2.90
.
% Unemployed persons, total
5
5
5
5
6
7
7
6
6
9
10
11
11
10
8
6
Annual rate of inflation
133
102
132
191
445
185
20
16
16
21
18
18
9
11
15
8
GNP, US$ per capita
5,423
5,746
5,968
6,526
5,977
5,474
6,677
7,881
9,660
9,633
10,958
11,766
12,589
12,346
13,580
15,406
GDP, US$ per capita
5,615
5,887
6,151
6,729
6,240
5,699
6,922
8,140
9,911
9,887
11,223
11,987
12,822
12,522
13,752
15,660
GDP, PPP$ per capita
6,922
7,756
8,269
8,813
9,221
9,807
9,947
10,728
11,339
11,794
12,647
13,288
13,942
14,346
15,205
16,273
2. Health status
Number of deadborn fetuses,
1,000 + grams
422
504
482
506
469
459
423
457
453
418
343
396
409
.
.
Number of deaths, 0 - 6 days,
1,000 + grams
.
385
328
380
370
321
325
317
326
280
293
258
242
204
208
193
Number of live births, 1,000 + grams .
91,205
94,224
96,765
96,157
97,248
97,637
97,801
99,119
99,406
101,283
104,182
107,132
109,149
111,391
113,993
Number of deaths, 0 - 6 days,
500 + grams
.
629
550
608
575
551
525
522
469
461
460
414
408
339
365
331
Number of deadborn fetuses,
500 + grams
455
547
529
539
509
524
478
517
515
469
381
448
458
.
.
.
New cases, tuberculosis
249
227
232
222
257
368
239
184
226
160
234
505
345
419
343
392
New cases, hepatitis - total
3,924
4,525
3,146
3,898
4,965
4,558
3,208
2,058
2,813
2,452
2,650
1,751
1,353
3,547
3,891
2.308
New cases, hepatitis - A . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
1,037
3,041
3,483
2,165
New cases, hepatitis - B . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
139
138
132
69
New cases, syphilis . . . .
122
160
54
32
41
45
.
.
156
118
.
New cases, gonococcal infections . . . .
644
674
424
127
135
146
0
0
0
0
0
0
Indicator title
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
New cases, pertussis
19
25
62
78
7
24
47
96
7
260
189
35
99
138
71
59
Number of new cases, measles
215
228
7,864
129
137
3,005
1,951
438
178
29
212
991
66
141
1,565
28
Number of new cases, malaria . . . . . .
36
94
268
251
183
67
213
58
26
45
Number of new cases, diphtheria
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Number of new cases,
tetanus
2
3
3
2
2
3
1
1
3
1
0
5
0
2
1
1
Number of new cases,
acute poliomyelitis
11
8
5
4
1
2
0
2
16
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Number of new cases,
congenital rubella
. . . . . .
0
2
. . .
0
6
2
1
0
Number of new cases,
neonatal
0
1
2
1
0
0
0
1
2
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
Number of new cases,
rubella
881
451
602
2,302
7,189
556
284
4,220
1,718
354
99
437
2,145
104
62
46
Number of new cases,
mumps
3,041
5,956
5,092
3,904
6,584
2,113
1,052
2,579
6,999
891
364
349
676
895
891
117
Estimated cumulative cases,
HIV seropositive
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2,000
2,000
New cases, clinically
diagnosed AIDS
.
0
2
8
5
10
25
19
24
34
45
37
39
55
32
53
Hospital discharges:
infectious and parasitic diseases
. . . . . . .
22,798
. . . . . .
30,245
.
Hospital discharges:
all cancers
. . . . . . .
30,632
. . . . . .
54,374
.
Number of new cases of cancer,
all sites, total
8,866
8,942
8,980
8,663
9,785
9,930
10,106
10,088
10,165
10,987
12,253
13,109
13,354
14,072
.
.
Number of new cases of cancer,
all sites, male
4,400
4,409
4,393
4,273
4,794
4,883
4,961
4,992
4,878
5,283
5,820
6,117
6,389
6,694
.
.
Number of new cases of cancer,
all sites, female
4,466
4,533
4,587
4,390
4,991
5,047
5,145
5,096
5,278
5,704
6,433
6,992
6,965
7,378
.
.
Number of cases,
malignant neoplasms, total
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
Indicator title
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
Number of cases,
malignant neoplasms, male
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
Number of cases,
malignant neoplasms, female
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
Number of new cases of trachea/
bronchus/lung cancer, total
718
715
757
755
858
883
792
870
829
937
946
949
905
987
.
.
Number of new cases of trachea/
bronchus/lung cancer, male
536
532
565
543
637
647
554
654
601
667
692
680
661
700
.
.
Number of new cases of trachea/
bronchus/lung cancer, female
182
183
192
212
221
236
238
216
228
270
254
269
244
287
.
.
New cases, cancer of the
female breast
1,174
1,152
1,243
1,128
1,317
1,289
1,360
1,305
1,409
1,616
1,811
2,005
2,049
2,153
.
.
New cases, cancer of the cervix
64
82
86
85
66
95
79
91
97
124
118
117
148
139
.
.
Number of cases, diabetes mellitus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
Number, mental health patients
in hospital, 365 + day
6,163
6,106
6,141
6,102
5,977
5,854
5,606
5,285
5,076
5,014
4,951
4,865
4,812
4,824
4,771
4,578
Number of new cases of
mental disorders
4,548
4,486
3,962
3,570
3,812
3,485
3,124
3,115
2,933
3,196
3,293
3,558
3,517
3,699
3,714
4,141
Number of new cases
of alcoholic psychosis
13
5
30
31
39
28
22
26
29
23
27
35
38
35
45
51
Number of cases,
mental disorders
8,678
. .
8,164
8,059
7,780
.
7,167
7,036
.
6,877
.
6,867
6,866
6,949
6,846
Hospital discharges: diseases of
circulatory system
. . . . . . .
64,876
. . . . . .
102,302
.
Hospital discharges:
ischaemic heart disease
. . . . . . .
31,127
. . . . . .
47,439
.
Hospital discharges:
cerebrovascular diseases
. . . . . . .
7,365
. . . . . .
12,425
.
Hospital discharges:
diseases of respiratory system
. . . . . . .
41,060
. . . . . .
65,368
.
Number of cases, chronic
obstructive pulmonary diseases
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
Indicator title
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
Hospital discharges:
diseases of digestive system
. . . . . . .
42,879
. . . . . .
63,786
.
Hospital discharges: diseases
musculoskeletal & connect.tissue
. . . . . . .
14,708
. . . . . .
26,280
.
Hospital discharges:
injury and poisoning
. . . . . . .
37,069
. . . . . .
55,576
.
Absenteeism due to illness,
days per person per year
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
Newly granted invalidity
(disability) cases
. . . . . . . . .
13,445
14,117
11,659
18,176
20,667
20,801
15,516
Number, persons receiving social
benefits due to disablement
. . . . . . . . .
108,499
111,702
113,931
118,401
125,436
132,618
140,089
% of disabled regular occupation,
15 - 64 years
. . . . . . .
21
. . . . . . .
.
E/1990/5/Add.39
page 179


531. The population of Israel is relatively young. This is understandable in light of the fact that the population has increased almost sixfold since the country's independence in 1948, mainly as a result of immigration.

532. Life expectancy at birth in Israel was 76.6 years in 1992, close to the average in the European Union (EU). Male life expectancy was 74.7 years, the third highest among a reference group of 20 European countries*. In marked contrast, female life expectancy was 78.5 years, sixteenth highest and well below the EU average of 80.0 years. Thus, the difference in life expectancy in Israel between men and women is the smallest of the 20 reference countries. The same situation existed in 1994 when life expectancy for men was 75.5 years and for women, 79.5 years. This mortality pattern, where male mortality is among the lowest in the reference countries, while that of women among the highest, also holds for all the main causes of death.

533. Infant mortality declined by 37 per cent between 1982 and 1992, but remained the second highest among the reference countries. By 1995, however, the rate had fallen from 7.5 to 6.8 per 1,000 live births.

534. The Standardized Death Rate (SDR) for cardiovascular diseases in the 0_64 age group was close to the EU average in 1992. The SDRs for ischaemic heart disease were the fifth highest of the reference countries for women but the eighth lowest for men. The SDRs for cerebrovascular diseases in the 0_64 age group were close to the EU average for women and below the average for men. In both these diseases, both male and female SDRs fell sharply from 1982 to 1992.

535. The SDR for cancer in the 0_64 age group was one of the lowest in the European reference countries. The overall cancer rate for men was the lowest of all these countries, while the rate for women was close to the EU average. The SDR for external causes was below the EU average for men and close to the average for women. With respect to suicide, Israeli males show a lower average than general in the EU (its increase of 43 per cent over the last 10 years is, however, one of the highest) but the rate for women is about the average.

536. Nationwide health promotion programmes have gained momentum during the last few years, especially those emphasizing physical activity. The percentage of smokers in the over_20 population declined from 38 per cent in 1973 to 31 per cent in 1992. Among women the drop was even greater. A number of new laws restricting smoking in public areas and workplaces have recently come into force. Alcohol consumption in 1993 was the lowest of all the reference countries.

537. Persons aged 20_74 who were taking medication or following a special diet for hypertension make up 8.5 per cent of the population. The prevalence of high_serum cholesterol (240 mg/dl or more) in the working population




* The 15 member States of the European Union plus Iceland, Israel, Malta, Norway, and Switzerland.

aged 20_64 is 18.3 per cent. Some 25 per cent of this population has been estimated to be overweight. Since the 1950s, the intake per head of total calories, fats, animal fats, and protein has increased. The level of leisure_time activity in the general population is low: some 20 per cent of persons aged 14+ participate in such activity at least once a week.

538. Environmental control is the joint responsibility of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment. Popular awareness of environmental issues is growing: air and water quality are the key issues.

539. Health expenditure has continued to rise as a percentage of GNP, reaching 8.7 per cent in 1995.

National health policy

540. After years of political and professional debate, the health_care system in Israel is at last in the process of fundamental reform, both of its conceptualization and its services. There are three major elements to the reform:

_ a National Health Insurance Law

_ the internal reorganization of the Ministry of Health.

The National Health Insurance Law

541. The Israeli Government has always assumed its responsibility to ensure universal enjoyment of basic health services. This commitment, which grew in scope over the years, was for the first time legally entrenched, with the enactment of the National Health Insurance Law 1994, which came into effect in January 1995. The following is the main features of this complex piece of legislation. (The full text is attached in Annex 1 to this report.)

542. This new law is based on mandatory insurance. All residents of Israel are insured by one of the four authorized health funds, each of which must provide, at least, the basic package of services and medications, as detailed in the law. Health insurance premiums are centrally collected by the National Insurance Institute, in the same way Social Security Insurance is collected (see under article 9 of the Covenant). These premiums are then distributed to the Health funds according to a capitation formula. It should be stressed that one’s right to health services is secured even in case insurance premiums failed to be paid.

543. The basic package of services mandated by the law includes all basic physical and mental primary care, including services and medications. Every insured person has the right to choose his/her health fund and no fund may refuse to enrol an applicant, regardless of age, or physical or mental condition.


544. The State's responsibility under the law is not only to regulate the activities of the Health funds (including recognition, supervision, enforcement, etc.). Actually, regulation powers were always given to, and used by, the Minister of Health in various laws _ the People's Health Ordinance 1940, the Physicians Ordinance [New Version] 1976, the Dentists Ordinance [New Version] 1976, the Rights of the Patient Law 1996 (full text of the latter is attached in Annex 2 to this report).

545. The importance of the National Health Insurance Law in the context of the present Covenant, lies in that it imposes on the Ministry of Finance the final responsibility to refund the health funds for any gap between their income from insurance premiums and their factual expenses on all services mandated by the law.

546. The Ministry of Health's goal is to concentrate on policy_making, long_term planning, setting performance standards, quality control and quality insurance, and the evaluation of essential data. Hence, internal reorganization of the Ministry has already resulted in the establishment of new departments, e.g. a department of performance standards.

547. The Ministry owns and operates a portion of Israeli hospitals _ 23 per cent of general hospitals, 50 per cent of mental health hospitals, and 4 per cent of geriatric hospitals. The remainder are profit_making or public non_profit facilities. Under the reformed system, government hospitals will become self_financing, non_profit facilities. The Ministry of Health will supervise their operation but not participate directly in their day_to_day operation.

548. The first steps taken by the Government towards transformation of its hospitals into legally autonomous entities have encountered resistance, especially from trade unions. The process is certainly going to be a long one.

549. At community level, primary health care is provided in Israel by the following:

_ Health fund clinics

_ Hospital outpatient clinics and emergency rooms

_ Private clinics

_ Family health centres (also provide preventive care).


550. Most primary care is supplied by the four health funds, either by direct provision through its own clinics and medical staff or by purchase. Member premiums cover the cost of most of these services, both outpatient and in_patient, as well as medications. Each insured person is free to choose any of the general practitioners or specialist physicians from the list employed by his/her health fund. Most affiliated physicians are not paid fee_per_visit but by salary or reimbursement.

551. A national survey of health services utilization, conducted in the first quarter of 1993, showed that 83 per cent of the most recent visits to a general practitioner/family doctor were made to health fund clinics, 12 per cent to private clinics, and 3 per cent to hospital outpatient clinics or emergency rooms. With respect to visits to specialists, 61 per cent took place at health fund clinics, 21 per cent at hospital outpatient clinics or emergency rooms, and 16 per cent at private clinics.

552. Family health centres span the whole country, operated by central government, local government authorities or the health funds, according to an agreed geographical distribution. Some 1,000 cover the urban areas while public health nurses visit small and peripheral localities at least once every two weeks. The services provided comprise physicians’ examinations, developmental examinations, monitoring of breastfeeding, vaccination, and guidance and advice to mothers.

Long_term policy

553. In 1989 the Ministry of Health issued its Guidelines for Long_term National Health Policy in Israel, in which it formulated recommendations incorporating and promoting equity in health, health promotion and disease prevention, community involvement, intersectoral cooperation, primary medical care and international cooperation as the six principles underlying health objectives and priorities for Israel.

554. The strategy that follows aims at translating a number of policy goals into specific activities based on solid epidemiological data. The strategy is based on the following principles:

(a) Equity in health: While absolute equity in health is out of reach for biological/genetic reasons, the National Health Insurance Act that came into force on 1 January 1995 at least ensures equity of access to health_care services for the whole population. In addition, emphasis will be placed on reducing the gaps in health status between different population groups, such as new immigrants from specific countries, certain ethnic minorities, and people living in underprivileged areas.

(b) Primary health care: The main means for ensuring equity will be primary health care, as defined by the World Health Organization under its policy of Health for All by the Year 2000. Primary care will include health promotion, health protection, disease prevention, medical care, and rehabilitation and will be delivered by multidisciplinary teams of staffers from medicine, nursing, social work, and other health professions.

(c) Government responsibility: The Government will assume responsibility for the health of the people to the same degree as its responsibility for its welfare in other domains, such as security and education. It will be accountable to the people for the health service it guarantees.

(d) The rights of individuals and the general public: Individuals and the public at large will have the right to participate actively in shaping public health services and in supervising them. The Government will encourage such participation, which will include public debate, including in the mass media.

(e) Appropriate health technology: The Government will take measures to ensure the use of the appropriate technology, from the scientific, technical, social and economic points of view, in all areas of health care. It will encourage all concerned to take similar measures.

(f) Intersectoral and interdisciplinary action: To ensure an appropriate level of health, the Government will foster coordinated action by all sectors and disciplines concerned.

(g) Relationship between divisions of the health_care system: The Government will ensure appropriate mutual relationship between the primary, secondary and tertiary sections of the health system. This will entail removing unnecessary duplication, strengthening primary care, and providing incentives to hospitals to support other divisions of the system.

(h) Command and coordination: The Ministry of Health will provide command and coordination across all components of the strategy. In view of the intersectoral nature of the strategy, it will be approved by the Government as a whole.

555. The strategy has the following components:


The following is the list of priority programmes:

(a) Health promotion

(b) Family health

(c) Control of cardiovascular diseases

(d) Control of malignant diseases

(e) Control of diabetes

(f) Mental health

(g) Control of substance abuse and alcoholism

(i) Oral health

556. In addition, mention should be made of the National Council for Community Health. This council was established in 1996 with the mandate to advise the Ministry of Health on policy on primary health care. The council has recommended that by the year 2000 each resident should have a designated “personal physician”, who will provide for them a coordinated and integrated health package.

Health expenditures

557. Health expenditure as a percentage of GNP reached 8.7 per cent in 1995, compared to 8.9 per cent in 1994, 7.8 per cent in 1992, and 7.8 per cent in 1989. In 1993, households financed 52 per cent of national expenditure on health care via health insurance premiums and out_of_pocket costs, as against 32 per cent in 1984. The difference is explained by the fact that premiums and out_of_pocket costs have been considerably raised. In 1984, households’ payments to health funds covered 12 per cent of national health expenditure, in 1993 the amount was 25 per cent. This reduction in the proportion of health_care costs funded from general taxation has put an increasing burden on households. Out_of_pocket costs to households for medications and services from private physicians, clinics, and dentists accounted for 20 per cent of total health_care expenditure in 1984 and for 27 per cent in 1993. In the same period, central government financing decreased from 52 per cent to 44 per cent of total health_care costs.

558. Hospital care continues to consume the greater part of health_care spending. This percentage rose continuously until 1980 when it reached 47 per cent of current spending. It then gradually declined, until 1994 when the percentage spent on hospital care was 41 per cent. For the last decade, spending on community_based facilities and preventive care has remained constant at around 33 per cent, rising to 38 per cent in 1994, of which some 60 per cent_70 per cent goes on primary care.


Health indicators of the World Health Organization

559. The trend in the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births has been as follows:

Table 1: Infant mortality 1989_1995

Total
Jews
Non_Jews
1989
10.1
8.2
14.7
1990
9.9
7.9
14.9
1991
9.2
7.2
14.2
1992
9.4
7.5
14.3
1993
7.8
5.7
12.8
1994
7.5
5.7
11.5
1995
6.8
5.6
9.6


560. A large part of the fall in infant mortality is due to the fall in mortality from infectious diseases and pneumonia. Death from congenital disorders is also showing a downward trend. In every population group, the higher the mother’s education level, the lower the infant mortality rate. Mothers in the age groups “Less than 20” and “35+” show a higher infant mortality rate than mothers in the 20_34 age group.


Table 2: Infant mortality (rate per 1,000 live births) by
religion and age of neonate at death, 1990_1994


Total
Early neonatal
mortality
0_6 days
Late neonatal mortality 7_27 days
Post_neonatal mortality 28_365 days
Rate
Per cent
Rate
Per cent
Rate
Per cent
Rate
Per cent
Total
8.8
100
4.1
46.6
1.4
15.9
3.2
36.4
Jews
6.8
100
3.6
52.9
1.2
17.6
2.0
29.4
Non_Jews
13.5
100
5.3
39.2
1.9
14.1
6.3
46.7




561. From 1990 to 1994, almost half the deaths of neonates occurred in the first six days of life, this proportion being much lower among non-Jews than among Jews (39.2 per cent v. 52.9 per cent). The disparity in post-neonatal death rates (28-265 days) between Jews and non-Jews is particularly wide (2.0 v. 6.3) and so is the disparity in the percentage of post-neonatal deaths in total infant mortality (29.4 per cent v. 46.7 per cent). The reason for the relatively high rates of mortality in the post-neonatal period among non-Jews should be investigated, as death at this time of life is usually associated with environmental factors, such as infectious diseases and accidents, and is to a considerable extent preventable. (Programmes for dealing with this problem are detailed below, in Section 7.)

Country
1983
1993
Turkey
82.9
52.6
Portugal
19.2
8.7
Greece
14.6
8.5
USA
11.2
8.3
Belgium
10.6
8.0
Israel
13.7
7.8
Jews
11.4
5.7
Non-Jews
22.7
13.1
Spain
10.9
7.6
Italy
12.3
7.3
New Zealand
12.5
7.3
Canada
8.5
6.8
Austria
11.9
6.5
France
9.1
6.5
The Netherlands
8.4
6.3
Australia
9.6
6.1
Ireland
9.8
5.9
Germany
10.2
5.8
Switzerland
7.6
5.6
Denmark
7.7
5.4
Norway
7.9
5.0
Iceland
6.2
4.8
Sweden
7.0
4.8
Finland
6.1
4.4
U.K.
10.1
6.6*
Japan
6.2
4.5*

* 1992


562. Israel is currently in 19th place out of the 24 developed countries in the above table (compared to 21st place in 1983), with an infant mortality rate about that of Italy, Belgium and Spain. The rate among Israeli Jews is close to that in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland, ranking 7th out of the 24.

563. Water supply: Almost all Israeli households (99.8 per cent) are connected to the main water supply networks. About two thirds of Israel’s water is pumped from the Sea of Galilee and the national aquifer. Galilee water is piped all the way to the south of the country. For about 50,000 Bedouin, the majority in the Negev (south), water is not piped directly to the family home but to Mekorot National Water Co. standpipes, from where it is carried by vehicle, camel, or on foot to the family home.

564. Sewage: Most households (80 per cent) dispose of their sewage via the central sewage system. Some small settlements use septic tanks and cesspools, but they are gradually being connected to the central sewage system.

565. Immunization: The percentage of children immunized against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles and poliomyelitis is as follows:


DTP
4 doses
eIPV
3 doses
OPV
3 doses
MMR
1 dose
1993
Total
92
93
93
95
Jews
91
92
92
94
Non-Jews
94
95
95
96
1994
Total
91
92
92
94
Jews
90
91
91
93
Non-Jews
93
94
93
97
1995
Total
94
95
95
95
Jews
93
94
94
94
Non-Jews
98
99
98
98

* Israel no longer immunizes routinely against tuberculosis, except for new immigrants from Ethiopia, India and Yemen.


566. Life expectancy data are as follows:
LIFE EXPECTANCY(1), BY SEX AND POPULATION GROUP

Arabs and others
Jews
Total population
Females
Males
Females
Males
Females
Males
1930 - 1932
62.7
59.9
1933 - 1935
61.8
59.5
1936 - 1938
64.5
60.8
1939 - 1941
64.6
62.3
1942 - 1944
65.9
64.1
1949
67.6
64.9
1950 - 1954
70.1
67.2
1955 - 1959
71.8
69.0
1960 - 1964
73.1
70.6
1965 - 1969 (2)
73.4
70.2
1970 - 1974 (2) (3)R
71.9
68.5
73.8
70.6
73.4
70.1
1975 - 1979
72.0
69.2
75.3
71.7
74.7
71.2
1975
71.5
68.2
74.5
70.9
73.9
70.3
1976
72.4
69.6
75.4
71.6
74.8
71.2
1977
71.3
68.5
75.4
71.9
74.7
71.3
1978
72.0
69.1
75.6
71.9
75.0
71.5
1979
73.1
70.0
75.8
72.3
75.3
71.8
1980 - 1984 (2) R
74.0
70.8
76.5
73.1
76.1
72.7
1980
73.4
70.0
76.2
72.5
75.7
72.1
1981
74.2
70.6
76.3
73.1
75.9
72.7
1982 (2)
73.3
70.3
76.2
72.8
75.8
72.5
1983
74.1
71.2
76.6
73.2
76.2
72.8
1984
74.2
71.5
77.1
73.5
76.6
73.1
1985 - 1989
75.5
72.7
77.8
74.1
77.4
73.8
1985
75.8
72.0
77.3
73.9
77.0
73.5
1986
75.0
72.2
77.1
73.5
76.8
73.2
1987
75.8
73.2
77.7
73.9
77.0
73.6
1988
75.1
72.4
78.0
74.2
77.5
73.9
1989
75.5
73.1
78.5
74.9
78.1
74.6
1990 - 1994
76.3
73.5
79.2
75.5
78.8
75.1
1990
75.9
73.3
78.9
75.3
78.4
74.9
1991
75.7
74.2
79.0
75.4
78.5
75.1
1992
75.5
72.4
78.9
75.2
78.4
74.7
1993
76.9
73.6
79.5
75.7
79.1
75.3
1994
77.1
73.8
79.7
75.9
79.4
75.5

567. The relatively low life expectancy for Israeli women has not yet been explained. It appears to be related to a relatively high mortality from cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer.

568. Access to trained personnel: The entire population has access to trained personnel for the treatment of common diseases and injuries and a regular supply of 20 essential drugs is available within one hour’s walking or travelling distance.

569. All pregnant women have access to trained personnel during pregnancy. In 1992, the maternal death rate was 5.45 per 100,000 live births, having risen from the level in 1979-1980. The 1990-1992 rate was the ninth lowest of all European Union countries. All infants have access to trained health care.
Environmental control

570. Environmental control, as far as health protection is concerned, is the joint responsibility of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment.

Water pollution

571. Wastewater from households, agriculture and industry can pollute natural water sources. The Israeli Supreme Court on several occasions has recognized the importance of protecting the environment against industrial harm. It recently called for more severe sentences for offenders:

572. Considerable efforts are made to prevent water pollution. Effluents are recycled for secondary use. Administrative authorities have been set up to control the effluent contamination of groundwater and rivers and to promote the restoration of rivers. Treated effluents are mainly kept to agricultural use. Standards of effluent quality are strictly monitored to prevent damage to public health and crops.

573. Water for domestic use is inspected and tested for bacteria and unwanted chemicals in compliance with regularly updated national standards and the recommendations of the WHO. In the past four years, water quality has substantially improved. In 1994, only 4 per cent of all test results showed the possibility of contamination. Fuel disposal and agricultural practice are also causes of water contamination.

Air pollution


574. The main sources of air pollution are energy production, transport, and industrial manufacture. A new national air quality policy was drawn up in 1994, as follows: preventing air pollution by integrating environmental considerations into physical planning, regular monitoring and periodic control systems, legislation and enforcement (including ambient and emission standards), reducing sources of pollution, and reducing pollutant emissions from motor vehicles.

575. The energy economy is based on fossil fuels, mainly oil and coal. The pollution released into the atmosphere by fuel combustion shows that levels of sulphur oxides and lead have fallen, but levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons have risen. There has been no change in the concentrations of suspended particulate matter.

576. In 1994, 63 air quality monitoring stations were in operation. All monitor sulphur dioxide, most monitor nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, and a few monitor ozone and/or carbon monoxide. New devices monitor airborne chemicals at hazardous waste disposal sites. The limited information available indicates that sulphur dioxide levels are mostly below regulation limits, nitrogen dioxide is significantly above the limit in some areas, and ozone levels in most places exceed recommended limits.

577. As it stands today, the monitoring network is not an adequate basis for formulating a national air quality management programme. Therefore, Israel has just completed the draft plan of a multi-million-dollar national air monitoring network with a central data storage and display centre. The new network will comprise three operational levels - local monitoring stations, regional control centres and a national data processing centre. Monitoring stations will vary according to the pollutants likely to be found. Fifty new stations are planned to reinforce the existing 63. The network is to be constructed over a three-year period.

Farmland contamination

578. Three major groups of pollutants endanger farmland – fertilizers, heavy metals, pesticides and other organic additives.

579. The overuse or improper management of fertilizers results in soil pollution, mostly by nitrates. The pollution of drinking water sources by nitrates leaching from farmland has already been recorded. The accumulation of nitrates in edible crops is an obvious danger.

580. The main source of heavy metals in farmland is irrigation with polluted water or the application of contaminated solid additives. The high pH value of soil in Israel reduces the danger of plant uptake of, and water contamination by, heavy metals.

581. The use of pesticides imposes an obvious danger of toxic traces remaining in edible crops, as well as posing a risk to farmers. Residues in soil may reach water sources or be taken up by crops or other components of the soil biota, and thus reach the food chain.


Preventive care

582. The chief means of preventing infectious diseases is the vaccination programme administered by Mother and Child Clinics to neonates and toddlers. Population coverage is among the highest in the world, as stated above “Immunization”.

583. In addition, cases of bacterial meningitis (meningococcal and H. influenza b) or hepatitis A, all the patient’s contacts are treated by preventive measures, administered without payment by District Health Office (DHO) staff. The DHOs also monitor sanitary conditions in children’s residential institutions and nursing homes to prevent illness spread by fecal_oral routes. On every report of a food-borne outbreak, DHO staff track down the source of the outbreak and take the necessary steps to improve conditions.

584. Under article 15 of the People’s Health Ordinance 1940, the Director-General of the Ministry of Health or a District Health Office have the power to have any person infected with an infectious disease placed in a hospital for infectious diseases or other appropriate form of isolation, should his/her current accommodation not permit taking the precautions necessary to contain the spread of the disease.

Vulnerable groups

585. Until the end of 1994, most residents of the State of Israel were insured voluntarily in four health funds which provided medical services to 95 per cent of the population, each fund having its own particular conditions of coverage. About 200,000-300,000 persons (including about 90,000 children) were not insured in any of these funds, some of them of their own free will, preferring a private medical service, and others due to their inability to afford the monthly payment.

586. In addition to these four funds, there were (and still are) voluntary medical services available for the needy, both in the Jewish sector, mainly in ultra-orthodox circles, and in the non-Jewish sector, in charity organizations run by the various churches.

587. In January 1995 the Health Insurance Law came into effect, introducing far-reaching changes in the health system of Israel, especially in terms of equality in enjoyment of health services. One of the foremost changes was that every resident in Israel became obliged to insure him/herself in health insurance. (The definition of “resident” being the one used in the National Insurance Institute.) A person who wishes to be insured above and beyond what is provided by the basic “basket of services” defined in the law may arrange for additional, supplementary insurance by means of programmes offered by the health funds and authorized by the Ministry of Health and by the supervisor of insurance in the Ministry of Finance. The operation of the supplementary insurance programmes is closely followed and supervised by the State authorities in order to ensure that the services included therein are indeed provided in addition to the basic basket, and not instead of them.


588. Furthermore, the health funds very quickly improved their services, especially within Arab communities, in order to raise their number of members and accordingly - their funding (which the law sets by a per capita formula). Since 1993 the Ministry of Health spent about 6.5 million NIS (approximately $1.8 million) in building tens of new Mother and Child Health Care services in Arab towns and villages. The Ministry’s budgets during the same period also included a sum of about 9.7 million NIS (approximately $2.7 million), aimed at “closing the gaps within Arab sector” in the field of preventive care.

589. The Ministry of Health is working intensively to reduce the Israeli Arab infant mortality rate, which is higher than among Jewish Israelis. The infant mortality rate is indeed a product of socio_economic conditions. For instance, an important reason for the gap on this indicator between Jews and non-Jews is the much higher rate of marriage between close relatives among Arabs, and particularly among Bedouin, as compared to Jews, so that the rate of congenital defects in Arab neonates is very high.

590. In the framework of the Ministry’s education/information project to reduce the incidence of very young wives giving birth and to reduce infant mortality in high risk groups, an information/education campaign is being conducted on the results of inter-familial marriage. Several mobile Family Health Clinics travel among the nomadic Bedouin tribes in the south and Arab settlements of the north in an “outreach” campaign, one of whose main efforts is to raise immunization coverage for neonates and children. It should be noted that immunization coverage among the Arab population as a whole is very high - over 95 per cent.

591. One prong of the project attempts to discourage marriage among close relatives; another attempts to encourage pregnant women to make more use of in utero diagnostic procedures; and a third aims to encourage mothers to make more use of the Mother and Child Health Care services dispersed throughout the country. One cannot measure the short-term results of such projects. More time is required before measurable results are to be expected.

592. Nevertheless, the overall health_care situation of the Bedouin, living mainly in the sparsely populated areas of the south of the country, is worse than that of the general population. The radical solution is their transfer to permanent settlements, which is current national policy. Detailed analysis of this topic is provided in this report under article 11 of the Covenant (“Illegal Settlements”).

593. In the interim, the following special measures are being taken:
Community participation

594. Eighteen Israeli towns are participants in the Healthy Cities Project, whose objectives are as follows:

(a) To eliminate or reduce health status disparities between population groups;

(b) To help develop preventive medicine;

(c) To promote health.

595. All measures are based on a local needs assessment and are carried out with the cooperation of local citizens. Each participating town prepares a health profile of the town and then appoints a Project Steering Committee, comprising representatives of all health_care service providers in the town (including volunteers) and of the public. The committee reviews the health status profile and then defines needs and the priority between them.

596. Local Community Centres in Israel also run health promotion programmes.

Health education

597. The relatively high rate of HIV infection among Ethiopian Jews in Israel has persuaded the Government to allocate an NIS 4.5 million budget to a multi-project AIDS prevention plan. The planned projects are targeted at three groups of population:

(a) HIV patients and carriers. Coordinators from the Ethiopian community will make contact with all HIV patients and carriers in their local communities. They will help them communicate with the professionals at the local AIDS Treatment Centre and educate them in ways to avoid spreading the disease, principally by teaching safe sex;

(b) The Ethiopian community at large. Health education projects for schools, the army, and higher educational institutions are planned. The mass media will also be used;

(c) Israeli (non-Ethiopian) care_givers. Seminars will be conducted periodically for teachers, social workers, health_care professionals, and workers in immigrant absorption who come into contact with Ethiopians. The aim is to help the professionals understand Ethiopian culture and thus enable them to be more sensitive and effective in their dealings with Ethiopian clients.

598. Projects are under way in the towns Afula, Hadera, and Beersheva, among the non-Jewish population, to discourage marriage between close relatives and to encourage the acceptance of antenatal screening for congenital defects.


Article 13 _ The right to education

The legal framework

599. Education constitutes an important value in Israeli society. In the words of the Supreme Court of the State of Israel:

600. The inclusion of “freedom of education” among the values enshrined in Israel's Declaration of Independence serves as further evidence to the importance attributed to education in Israel.

601. The basic components of the right to education - the right of every child to receive free education, and the parents' right to choose the kind of education given to their children, has been guaranteed by one of the first legislative acts of the Knesset, the Compulsory Education Law 1949. According to this law, compulsory education applies to all children between the ages of five (compulsory kindergarten) and 15 (10th grade) inclusive, and it is to be provided free of charge. In addition, the law provides for free education for adolescents aged 16 and 17 (11th-12th grades), as well as for 18-year-olds who did not complete their schooling in 11th grade in accordance with the official curriculum. While the State has sole responsibility for the provision of free education, the maintenance of official educational institutions is the joint responsibility of the State and the municipal education authorities. Parents have the right to choose one of the recognized educational trends of education (State or State-religious) for their children. (See below.) They also have the right to send their children to independent parochial schools, which are not run by the State, but are under its supervision.

602. Important additions to the original version of this law include a prohibition against discrimination on sectarian basis in acceptance, placement, and advancement of pupils as well as a prohibition against punishing pupils for actions or omissions on the part of their parents.


603. Another important law is the State Education Law 1953. This law provides for a six-day school week and determines the content and procedures of State education. State education is defined as education provided by the State on the basis of the curriculum approved and supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture, without any affiliation to a party, communal body, or any other non-government organization. According to the law, State education is to be based on the values of Israel's culture, the achievements of science, love of the homeland, loyalty to the State and people of Israel, heroism and remembrance of the Holocaust, practice in agricultural work and handicrafts, pioneer training, and building a society on the foundations of freedom, tolerance, mutual assistance and love of mankind.

604. The law establishes two State education trends: State and State-religious education. State-religious education is identical in its structure to the ordinary State education system, but offers a more religious oriented curriculum and usually employs a mostly religious teaching staff. This law enables the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport to approve increasing the existing curriculum by up to 25 per cent, if 75 per cent of the parents request it.

605. Other relevant laws are:

606. A separate legal regime applies vis-à-vis pupils with physical or mental disabilities. The Special Education Law 1988 prescribes free education for all such children and adolescents from the ages of five to 18. According to this law by 1998, free special education for disabled individuals will be expanded to include those aged 3 to 21.

607. In 1990, the Knesset enacted the Long School Day Law 1990 designed to guarantee more school hours for all pupils in the K-12 grades. The law stipulates that the duration of the school day shall be eight hours, or less as decided by the Minister of Education and Culture. For budgetary reasons, the law is to be gradually implemented over a period of 10 years.

608. In 1996, the total number of children enrolled in the education system under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport reached about 1,490,000 - from the pre-primary level to the end of secondary school. Other eligible pupils attend schools supervised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and by the Ministry of Labor and Social affairs. Combined with the above figures, it is estimated that nearly 100 per cent of the children in the primary school age group attend school, as do over 90 per cent of the adolescents eligible for secondary education.


The constitutional status of the right to education

609. While it is impossible to contest the legal existence of the right to education, the scope of constitutional protection accorded to it has not yet been defined by the courts of Israel. On one occasion, a Supreme Court judge held that the right to education is not a constitutional right, citing the absence of a positive constitutional rule to that effect. However, the President of the Supreme Court in a recent case expressed the opinion that the matter is not yet settled and that the above_mentioned judicial opinion is not binding upon the full court.

Structure of the education system

610. The Israeli education system includes several main levels: pre-primary, primary, secondary, post-secondary, higher education and adult education.

Pre-primary education

611. The pre-primary education system consists of a network of kindergartens. In 1996, the kindergarten system involved 320,000 children ranging from age two to five years, attending municipal, public and private institutions. Younger children normally attend similar day-care institutions, or are put under the supervision of nannies. The goal of early childhood education is to lay an educational foundation, which includes the development of language and thought, learning and creative abilities, social and motor skills.

Primary and secondary education

612. Until 1968, the school system of Israel was divided into primary school (1st-8th grades) and high school (9th-12th grades). In 1968, a reform was decided upon which divided the system into three educational institutions:

613. The purpose of the reform was to improve scholastic achievements and encourage social integration of various sectors of society. At the same time, the period of compulsory education (which used to be 9 years - from compulsory kindergarten to the 8th grade) was extended until the 10th grade (inclusive), bringing the total period compulsory education to 11 years. The reform was, and still is, being implemented slowly, and in 1996 27 per cent of the pupils were still attending schools according to the old system. In upper secondary education, pupils can choose between academic and technological/ vocational tracks. In any case, all tracks are generally available and accessible to all, and are free of charge.

Higher education


614. The higher education system in Israel comprises eight universities (including the Open University in Tel-Aviv). In addition, there are several other non-university institutions of higher education which award Bachelor's degrees in several specific areas only, such as business administration, law, technology, arts and crafts, and teacher training. The system also includes regional colleges which offer academic courses under the auspices and academic responsibility of the universities.

615. A recent feature of the higher education system in Israel is the establishment of general colleges providing a broad spectrum of degree programmes at the undergraduate level. These colleges are being established to meet the increasing demand for higher education which is expected to continue and grow in the first decade of the twenty_first century.

616. Admission to universities and colleges is based upon the high school matriculation certificate and the results of a psychometric examination, without any discrimination on grounds of religion, sex, nationality or any other consideration except academic achievements. Matriculation examinations are administered in Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian, French and Amharic (Ethiopian), or in other languages if so required. Psychometric examinations are administered in the following languages: Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian, French or Spanish.

617. University and college education is not free of charge. University tuition is determined in accordance with the decision of a public committee. At present the average undergraduate tuition fees is about 10,000 NIS (approximately $3,000) per annum and may be paid in advance or in instalments. There is a national network of assistance to students in need of aid for socio-economic reasons. This comes in addition to a wide range of public and private foundations that award grants, scholarships and loans. Colleges are considered private institutions and thus their tuition fees are determined by market forces.

Adult education

618. Adult education plays an important role in the educational process. It offers programmes targeted to all population sectors for continuing primary, secondary, pre-academic (university preparatory programmes) and academic education. Furthermore, in Israel, adult education has a special importance since Israel is an immigrant country, absorbing immigration from all parts of the world. Hence, special language and cultural studies are given in new immigrants' schools. All of these activities are carried out by the Ministry of Education, as well as by a wide range of non-governmental organizations and institutions.

619. The objectives of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in the area of adult education are:

620. As a result of the availability of a complementary system of fundamental education, and due to the improved enforcement of the Compulsory Education Law, the number of persons with four or less years of formal education decreased among the non-Jewish population, from 28.9 per cent in 1980 to 15.9 per cent in 1994, while among the Jewish population, the numbers fell respectively from 10.3 per cent to 5.4 per cent.

Organizational difficulties in realizing the right to education

621. While virtually everyone within the eligible age group attends primary school, as far as secondary education is concerned, there is a drop-out problem, especially in the non-Jewish sector.

622. The policy of the Ministry of Education is to make every effort to prevent youth from dropping out and to raise the percentage of those attending school. The stated objective is that every boy and girl, except in extreme cases, shall complete 12 full years of schooling. Schools are obligated by the Ministry's policy to assist and encourage every pupil to continue his/her studies through 12th grade, despite the fact that school attendance is not compulsory over the age of 16.

623. In recent years, preventing pupils from dropping out of formal studies has become one of the primary tasks of the education system. Schools are required to refrain from past practices of abetting unwanted pupils to leave school. Instead, schools should try to increase the pupils' endeavours in their studies and do all that they can to prevent them from dropping out. To further advance this policy goal, financial incentives are given by the Ministry to schools that succeed in reducing drop-out rates.

624. In cases where placement in an alternative educational framework would be for the pupil’s benefit, the school is instructed by the Ministry to assist him/her in finding the most suitable alternative educational framework.

625. One of the main factors which influences the extent of the drop-out phenomenon is the transition between different educational frameworks. The most problematic transitions are:

(a) From primary schools to lower secondary schools/four-year secondary schools;

(b) From lower secondary schools to upper secondary schools;

(c) Between classes in the upper secondary school.


626. One of the stated purposes of the 1968 reform was to postpone the transition from elementary school to high school from 8th to 9th grade.
With regard to higher education, budgetary difficulties prevent at present the granting of free education.

Statistical data

Literacy

627. The following tables introduce, in several disaggregated forms, the figures pertaining to the extent of formal education possessed by the adult population of Israel throughout the years 1961-1995. It divides the population by Jews and non-Jews, sex, age and country of origin. According to this data, in 1995 only 4 per cent of the total Israeli population lacked any formal primary education.

Persons aged 15 and over, by population group, years of schooling,
sex and age a/

Sex
Years of schooling
Total b/
and age
Median
16 +
13 - 15
11 - 12
9 - 10
5 - 8
1 - 4
0
Per cents
Thousands
Jews
1961
8.4
3.6
6.3
34.6
35.4
7.5
12.6
100.0
1,300.9
1970
9.3
4.9
8.1
39.7
31.7
6.3
9.3
100.0
1,809.6
1975
10.3
7.0
10.7
26.1
18.8
25.5
4.3
7.6
100.0
2,708.2
1980
11.1
8.5
12.3
30.4
17.2
21.3
3.9
6.4
100.0
2,315.8
1985
11.5
10.2
14.2
33.6
16.6
17.3
3.1
5.0
100.0
2,511.3
1990
11.9
12.2
16.0
38.0
13.5
13.7
2.4
4.2
100.0
2,699.3
1993
12.0
13.8
18.5
39.3
13.0
11.6
2.1
3.7
100.0
3,102.9
1994
12.1
14.6
19.3
37.3
12.6
10.8
2.0
3.4
100.0
3,181.1
TOTAL - 1995
- Thousands
501.5
662.6
1,198.5
387.5
326.4
62.9
99.1
100.0
3,269.3
- Per cents
12.2
15.5
20.5
37.0
12.0
10.1
1.9
3.1
100.0
AGE
15 - 17
11.2
-
0.5
55.1
42.7
1.3
(0.3)
(0.1)
100.0
229.3
18 - 24
12.3
3.5
25.3
63.2
5.2
2.1
0.3
0.4
100.0
532.1
25 - 34
12.9
22.0
26.6
41.0
6.5
2.6
0.4
0.9
100.0
610.4
35 - 44
12.8
23.4
24.0
32.5
12.0
6.6
0.4
1.1
100.0
613.6
45 - 54
12.8
24.6
22.1
27.1
11.6
11.5
1.1
(2.0
100.0
452.5
55 - 64
11.6
15.2
17.6
24.0
10.9
19.6
5.0
7.7
100.0
335.5
65 +
9.6
9.5
12.9
18.7
12.9
28.7
7.0
10.3
100.0
495.9
Men - total
12.3
17.4
18.8
38.0
12.6
9.7
1.8
1.7
100.0
1,588.0
15 - 17
11.2
-
(0.8)
53.2
44.1
1.7
(0.2)
-
100.0
118.0
18 - 24
12.2
4.2
21.4
64.1
6.9
2.6
(0.4)
(0.4)
100.0
271.2
25 - 34
12.9
22.9
24.7
40.0
7.6
3.6
(0.5)
0.7
100.0
307.9
35 - 44
12.8
25.5
21.8
32.5
12.4
6.6
0.4
0.8
100.0
302.2
45 - 54
12.7
27.2
19.3
28.4
12.2
10.6
0.8
1.5
100.0
219.8
55 - 64
11.9
19.4
16.7
25.2
10.3
20.4
4.4
3.6
100.0
156.6
65 +
10.4
13.1
13.9
19.7
11.5
28.2
7.3
6.3
100.0
212.2


(continued)

Sex
Years of schooling
Total b/
and age
Median
16 +
13 - 15
11 - 12
9 - 10
5 - 8
1 - 4
0
Per cents
Thousands
Jews
Women - total
12.2
13.6
22.0
36.2
11.4
10.4
2.1
4.3
100.0
1,681.3
15 - 17
11.3
-
(0.2)
57.2
41.2
(1.0)
(0.3)
(0.1)
100.0
111.4
18 - 24
12.4
2.9
29.4
62.0
3.4
1.6
(0.2)
(0.5)
100.0
260.8
25 - 34
13.0
21.1
28.5
42.1
5.3
1.6
(0.4)
1.0
100.0
302.5
35 - 44
12.8
21.4
26.0
32.7
11.5
6.5
(0.4)
1.5
100.0
311.4
45 - 54
12.8
22.1
24.8
26.1
10.9
12.2
1.4
2.5
100.0
232.6
55 - 64
11.3
11.5
18.4
22.9
11.3
19.0
5.5
11.3
100.0
178.8
65 +
9.1
6.8
12.1
17.9
13.9
29.3
6.7
13.3
100.0
283.8
Arabs and others
1961
1.2
1.5
7.6
27.5
13.9
49.5
100.0
136.3
1970
5.0
(0.4)
1.7
13.0
35.1
13.7
36.1
100.0
223.2
1975
6.5
1.4
3.1
9.1
12.6
38.0
12.9
22.9
100.0
279.8
1980
7.5
2.2
5.5
13.5
16.0
33.9
10.0
18.9
100.0
344.5
1985
8.6
2.5
5.9
19.2
19.3
32.0
7.7
13.4
100.0
428.2
1990
9.0
3.0
6.1
23.2
17.4
30.8
6.5
13.0
100.0
502.0
1993
9.7
3.7
7.4
26.4
18.9
26.5
6.2
10.9
100.0
579.2
1994
10.0
4.3
8.4
27.8
18.4
25.1
5.9
10.0
100.0
607.9
TOTAL _
- Thousands
23.9
60.7
177.5
120.1
151.5
36.7
56.2
100.0
533.9
- Per cents
10.2
4.6
9.6
28.1
19.0
24.0
5.8
8.9
100.0
AGE
15 - 17
10.5
-
0.2
38.3
46.5
12.2
(1.0)
(1.8)
100.0
69.8
18 - 24
11.6
2.2
15.8
44.8
18.5
15.5
1.3
1.9
100.0
150.5
25 - 34
11.0
7.5
10.6
32.4
20.6
24.2
2.3
2.4
100.0
167.8
35 - 44
9.0
6.8
10.6
17.4
14.9
37.8
6.5
6.0
100.0
107.5
45 - 54
7.0
5.9
7.5
9.8
9.4
34.3
14.8
18.3
100.0
64.3
55 - 64
4.7
3.8
5.9
6.2
5.1
27.2
21.2
30.6
100.0
40.2
65 +
1.1
(1.5)
(2.4)
6.3
4.6
17.2
15.3
52.7
100.0
33.7
Men - total
10.6
5.9
9.4
30.6
20.6
24.4
5.0
4.1
100.0
315.7
15 - 17
10.5
-
(0.2)
37.1
46.4
13.4
(1.3)
(1.6)
100.0
35.7
18 - 24
11.6
2.2
15.6
45.0
20.3
14.9
(1.1)
(0.9)
100.0
76.4
25 - 34
11.3
9.1
9.3
37.1
21.2
20.8
(1.4)
(1.1)
100.0
83.9
35 - 44
10.2
9.7
11.0
21.8
17.8
33.2
3.4
3.1
100.0
53.2
45 - 54
8.1
8.9
7.9
10.6
12.5
44.3
10.7
5.1
100.0
32.1
55 - 64
6.5
(5.1)
(5.8)
8.8
(6.5)
37.8
23.0
13.0
100.0
19.5
65 +
3.5
(2.5)
(1.5)
(5.6)
(3.6)
27.7
24.5
34.6
100.0
14.9
Women - total
9.7
3.2
9.9
25.7
17.4
23.6
6.6
13.6
100.0
318.2
15 - 17
10.6
-
(0.2)
39.5
46.5
11.1
(0.7)
(2.0)
100.0
34.1
18 - 24
11.6
2.2
15.9
44.7
16.7
16.1
(1.5)
2.9
100.0
74.1
25 - 34
10.6
5.9
11.8
27.8
20.1
27.6
3.2
3.6
100.0
83.9
35 - 44
8.0
3.9
10.2
13.0
(12.0)
42.7
9.5
8.7
100.0
54.3
45 - 54
4.9
(2.9)
7
9.0
6.4
24.2
18.9
31.6
100.0
32.2
55 - 64
1.6
(2.5)
(6.1)
(3.8)
(3.8)
17.2
19.6
47.0
100.0
20.8
65 +
0.7
(0.6)
(3.0)
(6.8)
(5.4)
8.9
8.2
67.1
100.0
18.8

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics.

a/ Till 1985 _ Persons aged 14 and over.

b/ Incl. Not known.

Attendance rates in the education system

628. The following tables reveal the gradual increase in the number of pupils in the Israeli education system. The first table shows the current number and rate of attendance in State schools. The second table presents the 1996 figures on the number of primary and secondary education pupils divided into four education sectors (the Jewish, Arab, Bedouin and Druze sectors). The third table reflects the increase in number of students in all educational institutions; the fourth table deals with primary and secondary education only, and illustrates the changes in number of Jewish and non-Jewish pupils in every school grade, throughout the years.

Number of students enrolled in 1996 in the pre-school,
primary and secondary education system and their
percentage in their total age group population:

Pre_school education
Primary education
Secondary education
Kindergartens (ages 2-5)
Primary School (Grades 1-8)
Lower Secondary (Grades 7_9)
Upper Secondary (Grades 9-12)
320,000
690,000
193,000
288,000
(90%)
(96%)
(90%)

Free and compulsory education
Free education
ages 1-5
ages 5-16
ages 16-18

Source: Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Central Bureau of Statistics.

629. The above figures do not include pupils attending Talmud-Torah (Orthodox Jewish) pre_schools, and institutions under the supervision of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (vocational and industrial schools).

Number of pupils in schools by sector and by level, 1996
(thousands of pupils)

Sector
Total
Primary education
Lower secondary education
Upper secondary education
Total
1 171
690
193
288
Jewish
938
540
152
246
Arab
169
108
28
33
Bedouin
36
26
6
4
Druze
28
16
7
5

* The figures in this table do not include kindergartens and higher education.


630. There are approximately 1,170,000 pupils in schools: about 80 per cent of them are in the Jewish sector, about 14 per cent are in the Arab sector, about 3 per cent in the Bedouin sector, and about 2 per cent in the Druze sector.

Pupils in educational institutions


1995/96
1994/95
1979/80
1969/70
1959/60
1948/49
1. GRAND TOTAL (2 + 12)
1,721,303
1,684,456
1,200,638
823,491
578,003
140,817
Educational system (3 + 12)
1,656,247
1,592,465
1,156,636
797,191
567,051
140,817
Other institutions (11)
58,793
56,200
44,000
26,300
10,952
Hebrew education
2. TOTAL (3 + 11)
1,451,939
1,428,882
1,023,410
711,954
531,923
129,688
3. EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
TOTAL (4 through 10)
1,393,139
1,372,682
979,410
685,654
520,971
129,688
4. KINDERGARTENS a/
289,100
288,900
246,500
107,668
75,699
25,406
5. PRIMARY EDUCATION - TOTAL
540,821
540,254
436,387
394,354
375,054
91,133
Primary schools
528,429
527,328
424,173
375,534
357,644
91,133
Schools for handicapped children
12,392
12,926
12,214
18,820
17,410
POST-PRIMARY EDUCATION b/ _ TOTAL (5+7)
391,794
384,328
216,602
137,344
55,142
10,218
6. Intermediate schools
150,804
142,750
72,792
7,908
-
-
7. Secondary schools - total
240,990
241,578
143,810
129,436
55,142
10,218
secondary one-track
118,044
123,790
91,138
98,591
secondary multi-track
122,946
117,788
52,672
30,845
Type of secondary education
General
122,283
121,385
61,583
63,731
32,894
7,168
Continuation classes
9,478
8,918
6,438
8,508
7,065
1,048
Technological/vocational
102,716
104,436
70,681
49,556
10,167
2,002
Agricultural
6,513
6,839
5,108
7,641
5,016
8. POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS
46,514
42,548
25,341
11,894
5,801
1,295
9. NON UNIVERSITY INSTITUTIONS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
23,210
19,402
-
-
-
-
10. UNIVERSITIES
101,700
97,250
54,480
35,374
9,275
1,635
11. OTHER INSTITUTIONS
58,800
56,200
44,000
26,300
10,952
-
for primary education c/
26,300
18,800
10,500
-
-
-
for post-primary education age d/
18,300
25,000
25,700
-
-
-
for post-secondary education age e/
14,200
12,400
7,800
-
-
-
Arab education
12. EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
- TOTAL (13 through 17)
269,364
255,574
177,225
110,537
46,080
11,129
13. KINDERGARTEN f/
26,100
26,100
17,344
14,211
7,274
1,214
14. PRIMARY EDUCATION - TOTAL
152,544
145,416
121,985
85,449
36,729
9,991
Primary schools
150,083
143,158
121,101
85,094
36,652
9,991
Schools for handicapped children
2,461
2,258
884
355
77
-
1995/96
1994/95
1979/80
1969/70
1959/60
1948/49
POST-PRIMARY EDUCATION
- TOTAL (15 + 16)
88,494
82,312
37,276
10,507
1,958
14
15. Intermediate schools
44,984
39,699
14,803
2,457
-
-
16. Secondary schools - total
43,510
42,613
22,473
8,050
1,958
14
Secondary one-track
15,929
19,277
17,373
1,958
14
Secondary multi-track
27,581
23,336
5,100
-
-
TYPE OF SECONDARY EDUCATION
General
30,124
31,928
19,034
6,198
1,933
14
Technological/vocational
12,765
10,070
2,645
1,462
-
-
Agricultural
621
615
794
390
23
-
17. POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS
- TOTAL
2,226
1,746
621
370
121
-
Teacher training colleges
1,598
1,193
485
370
121
-
Other post-secondary institutions
628
553
136
-
Source: The Central Bureau of Statistics.
a/ Incl. an estimate of children aged 6 (about 4,100 in 1995/96) who attend kindergartens.
b/ Incl. also students in these institutions who study toward a first academic degree.
c/ Religious schools.
d/ Pupils in apprentices schools and in industrial schools of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and pupils in "Small Yeshivot".
e/ "Great Yeshivot".
f/ Compulsory only.
Pupils in primary and post_primary education, by grade

1995/96
1994/95
1989/90
1979/80
1969/70
1959/60
1948/49
GRAND TOTAL
1,173,663
1,152,310
1,006,935
812,250
603,716
461,491
108,131
Hebrew education
VIII - total
76,598
77,780
72,394
54,212
49,570
38,431
7,335
Thereof: intermediate schools
50,395
49,518
42,562
25,047
2,279
-
-
Special primary classes
of unspecified grade
3,287
3,506
3,088
2,013
4,087
3,381
-
IX - total
75,208
73,902
67,446
51,584
43,926
21,841
4,461
Thereof: intermediate schools
48,283
44,073
38,318
22,667
-
-
-
X
72,163
70,814
62,426
44,857
35,402
15,263
2,936
XI
69,712
70,862
57,654
37,211
28,902
10,707
1,896
XII - total
67,515
65,544
52,735
31,316
20,503
6,581
925
Thereof: in secondary (1) general
35,279
34,227
25,956
14,557
13,363
4,256
XIII
3,468
3,479
2,456
1,155
435
-
-
XIV
1,207
1,050
740
354
268
-
-
Arab education
Total
241,038
227,728
207,807
159,261
72,018
31,905
6,780
I
27,070
23,668
20,611
18,931
11,328
6,219
2,012
II
23,943
22,585
19,549
18,448
10,927
5,403
1,346
III
23,142
22,556
19,674
17,879
9,639
5,081
1,179
IV
23,239
21,611
19,314
17,634
8,972
3,921
959
V
22,010
22,082
20,303
16,651
8,314
2,860
608
1995/96
1994/95
1989/90
1979/80
1969/70
1959/60
1948/49
VI
22,524
21,270
20,521
15,065
7,036
2,802
375
VII - total
21,005
19,738
19,962
14,280
5,981
2,679
231
Thereof: intermediate schools
16,082
14,220
10,103
5,383
466
-
-
VIII - total
20,875
19,480
19,556
13,582
4,679
1,888
56
Thereof: intermediate schools
15,640
13,717
10,208
5,151
321
-
-
Special primary classes
of unspecified grade
458
363
20
49
50
23
-
IX - total
18,818
16,725
16,639
8,748
2,491
465
14
Thereof: intermediate schools
14,080
11,762
8,617
4,269
-
-
-
X
14,296
14,687
13,066
7,067
1,224
209
-
XI
12,211
12,001
9,984
4,633
842
186
-
XII - total
11,286
10,795
8,550
3,743
535
139
-
Thereof: in secondary general
8,193
8,100
6,575
3,171
469
139
-
XIII
161
167
58
-
-
-
-
Source: The Central Bureau of Statistics.
(1) Excl. pupils in continuation classes (2,543 in 1994/95 and 2,836 in 1995/96).

Adult education

631. The first of the following tables illustrates the number of adults engaged in elementary/remedial education (primary and secondary), pre-academic and academic special adults' programmes and immigrant absorption programmes. The second table shows the annual growth in the number of adults who complete their primary and secondary education.

Participation in adult education

Pre-Academic Preparatory ProgrammesImmigrant Absorption ProgrammesPrimary EducationSecondary EducationPopular Universities
1990
6 001
1991
6 784
138,152
19,276
1992
7 669
116,985
6,300
5,800
20,190
1993
7 789
77,871
6,950
6,300
23,368
1994
7 807
64,304
7,900
8,600
28,684
1995
8 588
67,304
9,500
10,500
31,349
1996 (forecast)
68,000
11,000
Source: Central Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.


632. The increase in number of participants in elementary Hebrew language class programmes during the early 1990s is due to the dramatic influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Israel in that period.





















Source: Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

Higher Education

633. The following tables show the number of students in higher education institutions, and their disaggregation by degree, field study, sex, age, population group and origin.

Number of Students in Institutions of Higher Education

1990
1994
1995
1996
1997
Total Students
76,000
108,300
116,000
123,000
135,000
Students in Colleges
8,300
16,800
19,400
28,000
36,500
Students in Universities
67,700
91,500
96,600
95,000
98,500

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics.

634. By the year 2000, an increase of 16 per cent over 1995 is expected in the number of students in institutions of higher education. Most of the increase is expected to be in enrolment to colleges.




Be'er Sheva, Beer Sheva, Beersheeba, Beer Sheba, Beersheba



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