During the past decade, Israel has undergone a severe recession that has led to significantly reduced social spending, resulting in widened social and economic inequality. Against that backdrop, this paper seeks to integrate discussions on social and economic rights with those on fiscal policy in order to illuminate connections between the two areas and describe steps that can lead towards a more egalitarian society. By opening up such a discussion, the authors aim to empower civil society to become more involved in fiscal policymaking at both the federal and state levels.
This paper describes various rights articulated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Israel is a signatory, and evaluates the degree to which Israeli law and policies enforce them. It concludes that the state does not take adequate measures to fully protect its citizens’ right to health, social security, employment, and education, primarily because of budget cuts that have slashed social service funding.
Since the mid-1980s, workers’ rights in Israel have eroded significantly as a result of the weakening of labor laws, economic changes that resulted in a polarized and precarious job market, and a weakened social safety net. This paper analyzes workers’ rights from both legal and fiscal perspectives. The legal discussion examines the scope of workers’ rights, assessing whether Israel’s labor laws adequately reflect international labor covenants the country has signed. The fiscal discussion examines Israel’s budget as a source of investment and job creation and as a financer of programs to protect workers’ rights.
Overview of a gender audit – understood as a way to “locate women” in the national budget as well as in the economy. The author highlights the importance of a gender audit to ensure that men and women benefit equally from budget allocations, to raise women’s awareness of economic issues in order to stimulate their involvement in the budget-making process, and to promote a more efficient use of the resources committed to areas relevant to women. The paper draws primarily from the Israeli context but also presents brief examples from Australia, Canada, England, France, and South Africa.