Two Years of Destructive Policies: Critique of the Budget Proposal for Israel for Fiscal 2004 from a Gender Perspective

This paper is a general critique of the current Israeli government’s last six economic plans.Focusing on the ideology driving budget decisions and policies, this critique highlights the causes of the economic crisis, the measures taken by the Israeli government to address it and the effects of these policies on social services – from education to health care. The lack of a thoughtful and consultative budget approval process is noted as one of the main flaws in the economic policies of the Sharon government. The paper concludes that these policies are driven by a neoliberal ideology and a commitment to high spending on defense and Jewish settlements located within Palestinian Authority Territories. These policies promote an opaque budget process and disparities in the Israeli public’s access to social services.