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Israel Social Condition Facts

Social conditions

Within the population, there are major differences in education, family size and livelihood opportunities. The majority of those who are considered poor are either Arabs or ultra-Orthodox Jews (compare Labor Market).

Arabs in Israel have about three years shorter average life than Jews, this applies to both women and men. According to an article in the medical journal The Lancet, the gap has grown over the last 25 years. Above all, there are differences in child mortality that may be due to Arab families living in poorer conditions.

  • Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Israel, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.

In 1995, a national health insurance system was introduced. Before that, two-thirds of the population were affiliated with the Histadruz health insurance trade union movement. Histadrut had its own clinics, clinics and rest homes. The new system covers basic health care for all citizens and permanent residents of Israel except soldiers provided by the army. Dental care for adults and care abroad are not included.

Lower retirement age applies to women (62 years) than men (57 years). Proposals to raise women's retirement age to 64 have so far not led to decisions.

Paternity leave has existed since 1998. In order to get more fathers to take out part of the statutory 15 weeks paid parental leave, the requirements have been reduced since the right was introduced. A one-time allowance paid after delivery is intended for the purchase of the essential to the child.

Private charities are of great importance. Their activities are largely funded by grants from the Jewish Diaspora, especially in the United States.

Social Conditions of IsraelAfter the turn of the millennium, austerity in the grant systems has forced more ultra-Orthodox men into the labor market. At the same time, together with their families, they have started to settle in settlements on the West Bank to solve their housing needs. (Otherwise, it is not the ultra-Orthodox groups but religious Zionists who have driven political demands to expand Israel beyond the 1967 borders.)

The ultra-Orthodox usually do not leave the military service, and they usually have many children. Children's grants have been designed since the 1970s to benefit large families. Attempts made to introduce equal child support for all have fallen on opposition from ultra-Orthodox parties. Both ultra-Orthodox Jews and Muslims have larger than average families, but the birth rate has dropped sharply among the Muslim population: in 2000, every Muslim woman gave birth to an average of 4.7 children. By 2017, the average had dropped to 3.29 children. Christians and drusters have on average fewer children are Jewish families.

Women seeking abortion must justify this to special hospital boards, which give permission in 98 percent of cases (2008). Instead, those who want to avoid hearing can employ illegal abortionists, usually private gynecologists. According to surveys, it is mainly married women between the ages of 19 and 40 who choose illegal abortion.

Organ donations have been unusual in Israel due to religious taboos. This has led to accusations of "transplant tourism" when the sick have tried to find a donor in other countries. In recent years, rabbis have tried to dramatize the issue, and with the support of a law from 2008, domestic transplants have become more numerous.

The rabbis watch over marriages and divorces, conversions and burials (see also Religion). If a couple separates without both parties agreeing to divorce, they cannot remarry. If the woman has a child with another man, the child will also not be able to marry. Religious courts can impose sanctions on spouses who do not want to divorce, such as travel bans and freezing of bank accounts, and government agencies that police can help enforce the decisions. In 2016, the Ministry of Justice announced that a spouse who does not accept that the other wants to be divorced should be sentenced to imprisonment.

Civil marriage is not in Israeli law. However, marriages entered into abroad are generally accepted by the authorities. As a result, couples travel to Cyprus to get married. Marriage across religious boundaries is unusual.

Polygamy is prohibited by law, but still occurs in Bedouins. Israeli authorities have generally tolerated when men in the Bedouin environment have had multiple wives. Polygamy also occurred among Jewish families who immigrated from North Africa and Yemen in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, it is receiving attention if a rabbi advocates polygamy.

Israel has been allowed to speak out for a permissive attitude on LGBTQ issues. Israel was the first country in Asia with laws that protect homosexuals from being discriminated against. Since the 1970s there has been an open gay movement, most noticeable in Tel Aviv and Netanya. Homosexuals have also been accepted in the military since 1993. The Ministry of the Interior mitigated the immigration requirements for same-sex couples in 2016, where one party is Israeli. But there are major contradictions: large groups do not accept that same-sex couples live together. This applies to Jews and Muslims as well as Christians. At a Pride Parade in 2015, a 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death by an ultra-Orthodox man who was later sentenced to life in prison.

Another battle issue concerns surrogate maternity: to hire a woman you do not live with to bear and give birth to a child. Until 2018, it was allowed only for couples of different genders who cannot have children, after which single women were given the same right. In 2020, the Supreme Court also granted clearance for single men and for same-sex couples to hire surrogate mothers.

A law that criminalizes sex purchases will enter into force in 2020. In the debate it has been called "the Nordic model".

In recent decades, organized crime has grown substantially. Illegal gambling has been an important source of income, as casinos are prohibited. Since new laws have been introduced against money laundering and trafficking in human beings, some criminals have moved their operations abroad.

FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS

Infant Mortality

3 per 1000 births (2018)

Percentage of HIV infected

0.2 percent (2018)

Proportion of HIV infected among young women

0.1 percent (2018)

Proportion of HIV infected among young men

0.1 percent (2018)

Proportion of population with access to clean water

100.0 percent (2015)

Proportion of the population having access to toilets

100.0 percent (2017)

Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP

7.4 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on health care per person

US $ 2,837 (2016)

Proportion of women in parliament

28 percent (2018)


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