Personal Social Services – 2006
Author: Yaakov Kop Policy Research

The personal social services are among the mainstays of Israel’s social service system. They provide crucial responses to the problems and needs of individuals, families, groups, and communities that find it difficult to cope with various forms of distress that impact on their functioning, quality of life, and social integration.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and the local welfare departments are responsible for developing the services, determining their contents, and financing them. Responsibility for the delivery of most services, in contrast, has long belonged to nongovernmental organizations, including volunteer organizations, NPOs, and private businesses.

This review of the state of the personal social services includes three main parts. Part 1 examines the structure, components, and characteristics of the main service categories and surveys the main changes that have occurred in government expenditure for these services in recent years. Part 2 focuses on several main characteristics and problems of the services and points to possible methods of addressing them. Part 3 briefly describes how the war in the North in the summer of 2006 revealed the characteristics and problems of the services through their functioning, and offers recommendations that may help the services to cope more effectively with future emergencies.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 2006, Yaakov Kop (editor).

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