This article explores the relation between economic liberalization, regulation and welfare. It asks how the state regulates, delays or prevents service disconnection due to debt and arrears, and what this kind of policy implies regarding the use of regulation as a form of social policy. This is done through a comparative study of the electricity and water sectors in Israel after liberalization. It finds that after initial economic reform, both sectors saw a growth in regulation intended to compensate for the social effects of reform, in what may be termed the ‘regulatory welfare state’. However, this form of social protection has been residual and incoherent. The article argues that trying to separate economic reform from its social consequences is unrealistic and may lead to adverse social and economic results. Second, findings raise concerns regarding the potential of the regulatory welfare state to deliver effective and fair social policy.
Almost all developed countries provide some answers for long term care, but only a few countries in the world such as Japan, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, and Israel have implemented Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) based on legislation and entitlement principles. In Israel, community-based LTCI social program has achieved multiple goals and considerably improved the life of frail older people. However, some studies show that despite the rising costs of home care and the mandatory and almost universal nature of LTCI there are still cases where people with AD and other types of dementia or their relatives vacillate or even decline to make use of their rights. We examined the question of whether these patterns may reflect the presence of welfare stigma, i.e., stigmatized views of LTCI, either related to identity stigma of persons with AD or to treatment stigma, usually associated to welfare bureaucracy. Based on a qualitative design, this article uses a methodology of personal in depth and focus group triangulation, by which the views of three groups of stakeholders are explored and compared: persons with AD, relatives and professionals. Findings showed the presence of stigmatic self images among persons with AD or other types of dementia, the absence of such images in relatives’ and professionals’ views of them, and of LTCI. However treatment stigma was found to be primarily associated with eligibility determination procedures. The study concludes that LTCI, even when mandated and almost universal may also generate welfare stigma due to the ways in which it is implemented.
The article examines the welfare policy in Israel concerning ‘minors at risk’, mainly the cancellation of parents’ custody over their offspring and their placement in welfare institutions. I suggest that the ideological discourse plays a major role in this context and terms like ‘minor’s well-being’ are widely used for achieving public legitimacy of the social workers’ control of this field. Describing and analysing case studies which I attended and followed since the beginning of the 1990s reveal the consequences of taking away children from their families and placing them in state institutions. The analysis focuses on the organised bureaucratic violence towards children and their parents which accompanies the legally enforced procedures. It also discusses the forceful means used by the staff in the institutions towards the inmates, as part of maintaining order and discipline. I suggest that violent behaviour of officials and organisations which use the state’s organised power of coercion against minors and their parents is linked to personal, organisational and political motives.
This paper offers a qualitative empirical examination of the noncompliance of Israeli female welfare recipients with welfare laws and authorities. The paper demonstrates that their behavior, defined as “welfare fraud” by the law, is a limited form of collective resistance to the Israeli welfare state. Although the acts of welfare fraud that the women in my study engaged in entail a political claim against the state, the relationship between these acts and notions of collectivity is very constricted in form. The women’s collectivity is shown to be constrained by the welfare authorities’ invasive and pervasive investigation practices and methods. Due to fear of disclosure to the authorities, the women emerged as deliberately isolating themselves from their immediate environment and potential members of their like-situated collective. This weakens the connection between the women’s acts of resistance and their collectivity, and prevents their acts of resistance from driving social change, trapping them in their harsh conditions and existence.
How do ministry of Finance (MOF) bureaucrats preserve their dominance in the national budget process? As we all know, MOF bureaucrats are important in politics and policy, we know much less about exactly how they play their role. Political analysis of the interaction between politicians and bureaucrats in the Israeli healthcare policy arena reveals asymmetry of information in favour of the bureaucrats at the MOF. Among others, this asymmetry is also due to a lack of transparency in the national budgeting process. While presenting the balance of power between the players in the Israeli health policy arena, we point to the MOF bureaucrats as the most dominant players – though their power is not absolute as it always seems. Quite a few indications point at ‘non-democratic’ strategies made by these bureaucrats in their interactions with the other players. The empirical findings show that alongside bureaucrats’ expertise, strategies based on concealment, manipulation in presentation of information, lack of transparency and ‘Buying’ politicians (bribe for budgets) establish the dominance of MOF’s bureaucrats in the policy arena. Under the structural conditions of centralisation, the other players tend to find alternative solutions for promoting the public policies they seek.
Equating bureaucratic entanglements with pain—or what, arguably, can be seen as torture—might seem strange. But for single Mizrahi welfare mothers in Israel, somatization of bureaucratic logic as physical pain precludes the agency of identity politics. This essay elaborates on Don Handelman’s scholarship on bureaucratic logic as divine cosmology and posits that Israel’s bureaucracy is based on a theological essence that amalgamates gender and race. The essay employs a world anthropologies’ theoretical toolkit to represent bureaucratic torture in multiple narrative modes, including anger, irony, and humor, as a counterexample to dominant U.S.–U.K. formulae for writing and theorizing culture.