Category Archives: Singer Series

The Singer Series: State of the Nation Report 2018

We are pleased to present the Herbert M. Singer Annual Report Series, State of the Nation Report: Society, Economy and Policy in Israel 2018. The chapters that appear in this volume deal with a wide variety of subjects and are based on unique studies that show the many faces of the socioeconomic situation in Israel today. There are many things to learn about social policy from the subjects surveyed in this year’s book; and there are many things to take away about how to improve the welfare of Israel’s citizens.

The Singer Series: State of the Nation Report 2017

We are pleased to present the Herbert M. Singer Annual Report Series, State of the Nation Report: Society, Economy and Policy in Israel 2017. The chapters that appear in this volume deal with a wide variety of subjects and are based on unique studies that show the many faces of the socioeconomic situation in Israel today. There are many things to learn about social policy from the subjects surveyed in this year’s book; and there are many things to take away about how to improve the welfare of Israel’s citizens.

The Singer Series: State of the Nation Report 2016

We are pleased to present the Herbert M. Singer Annual Report Series, State of the Nation Report: Society, Economy and Policy in Israel 2016. The chapters that appear in this volume deal with a wide variety of subjects and are based on unique studies that show the many faces of the socioeconomic situation in Israel today. There are many things to learn about social policy from the subjects surveyed in this year’s book; and there are many things to take away about how to improve the welfare of Israel’s citizens.

 

The Singer Series: State of the Nation Report 2015

Read the full PDF of the State of the Nation Report 2015

Individual chapters can be accessed in the table of contents to the right.

We are pleased to present the Herbert M. Singer Annual Report Series, State of the Nation Report: Society, Economy and Policy in Israel 2015. The 13 chapters that appear in this volume deal with a wide variety of subjects and are based on unique studies that show the many faces of the socioeconomic situation in Israel today. There are many things to learn about social policy from the subjects surveyed in this year’s book; and there are many things to take away about how to improve the welfare of Israel’s citizens. Israel’s population at year’s end stands at some 8.5 million people – about 0.2 percent more than last year. According to OECD data, Israel’s per capita GDP in 2014 was about $33,000, which is about NIS 126,000. The GNP, current to the beginning of 2015, increased by about 2.5 percent (Central Bureau of Statistics), and per capita income also increased. This annual report, which is divided into five sections, details the significance of this basic data for the everyday life of Israelis.

The Singer Series: State of the Nation Report 2014

This year’s report brings together 13 original, path breaking studies in the areas of society, economics, labor, education, social welfare, health, and public expenditure.  The report opens with an examination of household spending, income and savings in Israel, shedding light on differences among population groups in this regard.  The Israeli housing market is explored, including the rise in housing prices, trends in home ownership, and policy recommendations for expanding housing supply.  Two chapters address the Israeli labor market: the first offers an analysis of and suggestions for reform based on learnings from the Scandinavian “flexicurity” labor market model and the second examines trends in wage disparities.  Other chapters address trends in the education system, including issues of budgeting and educational achievements, as well as the integration of Arab Israelis and Jews in Israeli schools.  Other topics covered in this volume include: the shadow economy in Israel; poverty among Israel’s elderly; welfare budgets for Israel’s elderly population; patterns of food expenditure in Israel; financing and workforce trends in the healthcare system; and health and healthcare in the context of both mortality and disability/quality of life.

The Singer Series: State of the Nation Report 2009

Too often, public discourse and policy making are driven by preconceptions and gut feelings than facts. The purpose of this report is to provide an extensive factual, professional and impartial foundation to be used by the public and its leaders to understand where we were, where we are, where trends are leading us, what they mean, and how policy can change the reality even when it feels like force majeure.

The Singer Series: State of the Nation Report 2010

Too often, public discourse and policy making are driven by preconceptions and gut feelings rather than facts. The purpose of this report is to provide an extensive factual, professional and impartial foundation to be used by the public and by policy leaders to understand where we were, where we are, where trends are leading us, what they mean, and how policy can change the reality even when it feels like force majeure.

The Singer Series: State of the Nation Report 2013

This year’s report focuses on several of Israel’s primary socioeconomic issues, each from a number of different perspectives.  Inequality and poverty in Israel are examined not just in terms of income but as they impact and are reflected in health and education.  The country’s elderly are looked at in terms of employment and incomes (Kimhi and Shraberman) and their levels of poverty (Ben-David and Bleikh).  The Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jews) sector is the focus for an examination of their education levels, employment, and wages (Regev), while material hardship and coping mechanisms in this group are compared to other population groups (Stier and Lewin). Other topics covered in this volume include: health (Chernichovsky and Regev) and mental health reform (Aviram); pupils and teachers (Blass), the link between school discipline and educational achievement (Blank and Shavit), and higher education in Israel (Ben-David); women in the labor force (Stier and Herzberg); educational opportunities and employment (Bar-Haim, Blank, and Shavit); productivity (Ben-David); and a macro view of issues in the Israeli economy (Yashiv). As in past volumes, the chapters in this year’s report are written by some of Israel’s premier researchers in the social sciences.

The Singer Series: State of the Nation Report 2011- 2012

Too often, public discourse and policy making are driven by preconceptions and gut feelings rather than facts. The purpose of this report is to provide an extensive factual, professional and impartial foundation to be used by the public and by policy leaders to understand where we were, where we are, where trends are leading us, what they mean, and how policy can change the reality even when it feels like force majeure.

The Singer Series: Israel’s Social Services 2008

From mid-2003 and up until the current slowdown, the Israeli economy grew vigorously.  Numerous achievements point to the period’s economic vitality at both the aggregate level − as reflected in a rise in both the total and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) − and with regard to other economic indicators such as increased foreign investment in Israel, a rise in the number and rate of employment and a concomitant decline in the unemployment rate, as well as an increase in real wages within both the private and the public-service sectors.  This period of economic prosperity might have been a golden opportunity to work on reducing economic inequality − by, among other things, channeling resources to weaker populations on various planes.  However, from the findings in this report as well, it seems that the opportunity has been missed and that the benefits of economic growth have failed to trickle down, at least not adequately, to all sectors of the population.

We are currently in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, one that has not, unfortunately, spared the Israeli economy.  As a result, one may expect that the circle of those dependent on the welfare networks will expand,  the number of those eligible for wage-replacement benefits from the National Insurance Institute will increase, and the burden on Israel’s social service system will grow heavier.  The recent fighting in Gaza may, moreover, be expected to place a greater burden on Israel’s security system during the current budget year.  At times like this, concern for the socioeconomically weaker populations becomes an especially complex issue.  It is, however, precisely at these times that social solidarity is put to the test and the government’s social priorities are manifested in the practical sphere.  To the constraints enumerated above one may add the fact that due to early elections, as of early 2009, no budget has been approved; in effect, the budget on which the government will be functioning during the early part of 2009 is based on the budget approved for 2008.  What this means is that, during the first quarter of 2009, there will be no budgetary reflection of the needs relevant to this time period.  One of the most important challenges that the incoming government will have to face is that of finding a way to address the needs of the weaker sectors and acting to narrow existing socio-economic disparities − while also advancing an economic policy designed to place the Israeli economy on a path toward renewed growth.

The Singer Series: Israel’s Social Services 2007

The Israeli economy has been expanding rapidly for several years, and the accepted estimates for this year point to continued strong growth by the standards of developed European countries. The social services provide a less encouraging picture. Israeli society has faced difficult challenges in its history and has stood up to some of them with considerable success, but some of its basic problems remain unsolved.  Foremost among them are income polarization and a high incidence of poverty – meaning that not all Israelis are benefiting form current or past economic growth.

The Report that follows reviews Israel’s main social systems and discusses their development and trends in recent years.

 

The Singer Series: Israel’s Social Services 2006

The following chapters tell of the prolonged erosion of social expenditure, as part of a general policy of cutbacks initiated in 2002. The effects of this policy continue and as a result the hoped-for recovery – based on the government’s pre-election platforms and its basic policy program – has not materialized. When the current government began its term in office, there was hope of a revival of the “welfare state”, but the war in Lebanon put all such plans into a deep freeze.

The Singer Series: Israel’s Social Services 2005

Part of the hardships faced by many Israelis may be attributed to government policy, especially the State budget directed to social services. The State budget for the coming year was based on the previous year’s budget with an increase in expenditure of only one percent of GDP. Even if the entire increase were allocated to social services, it would not cancel out the cumulative decline that occurred in 2002–2004. Analysis of the State budget as presented to the Knesset shows that total social expenditure in the 2006 will be equal to that in 2005 — meaning that the per capita budget is smaller than in recent years.

The Singer Series: Israel’s Social Services 2004

These changes were definitely abetted by changing economic conditions and other complementary circumstances, including the declining intensity of terror attacks in Israel proper. Thus, one cannot determine whether 2004 marked the beginning of recovery or a temporary pause. Be this as it may, the sense of economic relief was not felt at the social level. In fact, the plight of various social groups worsened and the 2005 budget seems to promise more of the same.

The Singer Series: Israel’s Social Services 2003

The indicator that might best reflect this economic decline, per capita GDP, shows that Israel has slipped from a respectable position among other industrialized countries to one of a lesser status. Unfortunately, this economic downturn has carried with it a marked deterioration in the individual and societal sense of well-being.

The immediate social price has been increased unemployment, which has persisted at a rate of more than ten percent for a longer time than Israel has ever known before.  Another effect has been a marked decline in the standard of living.

This year’s annual review of Israel’s social services points to a mixture of achievements and failures.  Foremost among the latter are poverty and unequal income distribution.

The Report has not taken an explicit side in the social welfare debate. It is clear, however, that a special effort will be required to maintain the achievements of the Israeli welfare state. Much of the legislation and decisions of the past year serve to undermine the basic premises of the Israeli welfare state, which, with all its drawbacks, has contributed to maintaining social cohesiveness. Even if the current social and economic problems make budget cuts unavoidable, these restraints should be applied with great caution to insure that they do not do more harm than good. To be more precise, unless the government proceeds with caution, the negative effects suffered by a segment of society will exceed the more limited gains for the public at large.

Israel’s Social Services 2001-2002

The brief growth spurt of 2000 that centered on high-tech industries and the international activities of Israeli firms in these fields were nipped in the bud – and its demise also quashed the techno-economic leap forward.

The economic pressures and social challenges of the past decade have led to areas of social distress that have not been addressed in full, although notable improvements did occur in certain fields.

The Report that follows describes, at length, various dimensions of Israel’s social realities and paints a complex portrait of growth in some sectors and stagnation in others. Each element of the portrait is reliable and solid in itself and is also shown against contrasting developments elsewhere in the socioeconomic system. This work portrays the magnitude of the challenges that Israeli society faces.

Israel’s Social Services 1999-2000

In the long term, one may characterize it as growing and expanding, but it has had “ups,” as in the early 1970s, and “downs,” as in the mid-1980s. These up and down periods were affected by many factors, but one of them, beyond doubt, was the economic situation in the country, which left its mark on the system and bears some responsibility for the volatility that has characterized the performance of the Israeli welfare state.

The first part of the book presents a wide array of data and analyses that allow readers to draw conclusions about the “state of the nation” in the social services. A brief summary of the main findings is appended to the end of this chapter.

In the second part of the book, the CSPS professional teams present a series of policy recommendations in various fields. First, an alternative economic policy that may lift the economy out of its lengthy slump is proposed. The resumption of growth, apart from being a goal in itself, creates a basis for the resumption of development in the social services. Elsewhere in this section, teams of experts in education, health, and personal social services propose ways to improve the performance of these systems and to make progress toward Israel’s social goals.

 

Israel’s Social Services 1998-99

Often, during the fiscal debates, when the need for substantial cutbacks in the budget arose (and when was this not the case), economists demanded reductions in defense spending. In these cases, the point of departure was not necessarily the idea that defense spending was too high in view of military needs. The point of departure was different: because the experts have determine that the budget must be cut, and because even a huge reduction in small items will not yield the desired arithmetic results, there is no alternative to trimming the largest expenditure component, the defense budget. Thus, it was the relative size of the defense budget that placed it in the budget – slashers’ crosshairs. During the past few years, as the data in this report show, these two components – social services and defense – have exchanged their relative position, and social spending now occupies the slot once held by the defense budget. As a result, the social-services budget has also replaced the defense budget as the prime target whenever the need for cutbacks arises (and, as we have said, when is it otherwise). This is evidently the fate of any item that exceeds 50 percent of the total budget. These remarks should not be construed as deprecating the concept of “budget constraint.” It should be borne in mind that social expenditure is substantial not only as a percentage of the budget; it also consumes a growing share of the total national product. In the past few years, social-service expenditure has accounted for more than one-fifth of the total output of the Israeli economy (Gross Domestic Product). Therefore, setting the size of the social-services sector is – and must be – an inseparable part of economic decision-making. Hence an assessment of social trends requires a thorough scrutiny of economic policy, as this policy in itself dictates major elements of the welfare system. If, for example, we examine the changes in income distribution within society, we find that the main factor in inequality derives from disparities in wages and economic income. One cannot indict state intervention mechanisms for failing to narrow the inequality with greater vigor. The gulfs stemming from the labor market are too vast for a transfer-payment policy to eradicate or rectify to the extent required. However, there is good reason to examine the extent to which overall economic policy contributes, from the outset, to the formation of these disparities.

Israel’s Social Services 1992-1993

This year’s annual publication includes the following chapters:

Government Social Expenditure 1992-1993, Jimmy Weinblatt, Joel Blankett
Demographic Changes in Israel in the Early 1990s, Sergio DellaPergola
Social Indicators: Changes and Implications, Moshe Lissak
Welfare Profile of Major Israeli Cities: Population, Immigration and Resources, Yaakov Kop, Joel Blankett, Dalit Sharon

This publication is available upon request.

 

Israel’s Social Services 1988-1989

This year’s publication includes the following chapters:

Government Expenditure on Social Services, Yaakov Kop, Joel Blankett, Dalit Sharon
Basic Commodity Subsidies and Income Distribution, Leah Ahdut, Ephraim Sadka
Research Conditions in Israeli Universities, Gideon Czapski
Feedback in the Israeli Education System, Zahava Sass
Development of Preschool Education in the Israeli Arab Sector, Farid Abu-Gosh, Shlomit Canaan
Demographic Changes and Social Services in Israel’s Major Cities, Yaakov Kop, Joel Blankett, Dalit Sharon
Jerusalem – Population and Services, Yaakov Kop, Joel Blankett, Dalit Sharon

This publication is available upon request.

Israel’s Social Services 1986-1987

This year’s analysis relates not only to government expenditure on social services and national expenditure on education and health, but also the various services’ target populations by age group. The 1986-1987 analysis presents a forecast of the changes in expenditure patterns expected in view of Israel’s demographic trends.

This publication is available upon request.

Changing Social Policy: Israel 1985-1986

Beyond analysis of government expenditures and its use in the fields of income maintenance and social services in-kind, the Report reviews the development of needs in light of demographic trends and directs special attention to the immediate and longer-term implications of public expenditure on social services. Discussion of health and education adopts a more comprehensive yardstick of national expenditure. Alert to high proportion of social expenditure on income maintenance, it analyzes Israel’s incomes policy in 1985 – a rather turbulent year in socio-economic policy, with two “package deals” in which government, the employers and the Histadrut occupied center stage. Final, the Report addresses several fiscal welfare issues as well as housing assistance arrangements. Each study contributes in its own way to a more comprehensive review of social policy, its shaping and its implications.

This publication is available upon request.