A Proposal for Government Policymaking

As prepared for a meeting with the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office (2.09.09)

 

Read first the historical brief (Hebrew)

 

Following is an opinion piece by the Institute for Zionist Strategies concerning principles central to the implementation of policy in accordance with the National Preference Areas Law:

  • The National Preference Areas Law is a good law that provides a suitable framework for the government to achieve the goal of the law: promoting the development of areas or towns defined as having national preference.
  • Clear standards are necessary as they facilitate transparency and prevent political decision making due to political pressure (mayors, party activists, etc.).
  • Therefore, the considerations presented in this law must be transformed into clear standards.  Our proposal is to accept the considerations as a whole as a conditional system as proposed below:
    • Sufficient condition (If A exists, then B exists.  Therefore, it is sufficient for one condition to exist in order to include a particular settlement in a national preference area)
      • Population distribution planning (Subclause 3 as appears in Chapter 26: National Preference Areas, Clause 151-B).
      • The burden of absorbing aliya (6).
    • Necessary Conditions (If A does not exist, then B does not exist, therefore, if the condition does not exist, a settlement may not be included in a National Preference Area – aside from if it fulfills one of the sufficient conditions):
      • The economic and social strength of the area (2).
      • The necessity to bridge gaps (5).
      • Tax collection rates (appears as a condition in Clause 152-A).
      • National, civil and military service enlistment rates (does not appear as a consideration in the current law, thought it should serve as a condition as will be explained later in this document).
    • Other conditions
      • The security situation (1).
      • Geographic location in relation to the central region of the State or the distance to a population center (4).
      • Additional considerations with the approval of the Financial Committee (7).
  • A large portion of the debate concerning National Preference Areas in the Knesset Financial Committee revolves around considerations, concerning which the government is supposed to make decisions.  It is advisable to notice that despite the order of the considerations having no formal legal significance, members of Knesset requested that the security situation in the region or a particular settlement be placed first in order to highlight its importance.
  • In the event that the issue is presented to the Supreme Court again, a legal opinion piece should be prepared which is to clarify the difference between basic rights and privileges, and by means of such to explain why defining certain areas as national preference areas does not upset the equality principle.  Moreover, because the security consideration is a central consideration, it is reasonable to assume that most towns that do not suffer from security issues will not be entitled to such privileges.
  • It is advantageous to include military (or national/civil) service as a necessary condition for several reasons:
    • Because the number of beneficiaries of the law is limited, it fitting to give preference to those who partake in the burden.
    • Military service is a main cause of mobility within Israeli society and serves as an effective tool in bridging gaps in Israeli society.
    • It is possible to see encouragement of service for the State as a legitimate national consideration.
  • In addition, it is proposed to investigate the situation and consider the possibility that the substandard conditions of Arab towns are not a result of a lack of government support.  It may in fact be true that Israeli Arabs receive more government support than do Jewish citizens of Israel.
  • An additional proposal that is not directly related to the law: In 1949, the first transit camps were established, which in time turned into development towns.  Despite 2009 being the sixtieth year of development towns, it is proposed to designate Israel’s 62nd anniversary as a commemoration of sixty years of development towns.

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