Israel’s Social Services 1999-2000

Israel has a diverse system of social services that accompanies citizens throughout their lives. This varied system began to operate as soon as the state was established (in fact, it predated the state) and has experienced various upheavals and metamorphoses since then.

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.