A unique opportunity for an in-depth look at the subject before the local authority elections in Israel.

Herbert M. Singer International Annual Conference 2023

Local Authorities and Central Government in Israel: A Changing Landscape?

Preregistration and registration confirmation are required for entrance to this event; admission is free. The venue is accessible.

The conference will be held in Hebrew and English with simultaneous translation.

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Israel has 255 local authorities, including cities, local councils, and district councils. Their job is to provide their residents with municipal services as established by law. The majority of local authority budgets are from independent sources, primarily property taxes, a portion from government offices, like the ministries of welfare, education, and the interior in accordance with certain criteria, and a portion from foundations and contributions. There are budget disparities among local authorities that stem from their characteristics, their population composition, their needs, and additional factors.

The government system in Israel is highly centralized relative to other OECD countries. Decentralization of authority to the local level is part of a world-wide trend for strengthening autonomy of municipalities. During the COVID-19 pandemic many authorities ran local systems offering aide and support in addition to the national level systems, and the balance of responsibilities between central and local authorities rose to the top of the public agenda. Of late, the matter has become even more urgent with moves by central government to establish a property tax fund with local authorities’ monies.

What is the ideal relationship between central and local government? What is the place of local authorities today in dealing with social issues and distress in Israel and where should they be?

The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel’s Herbert M. Singer Annual International Conference will deal with the issue of local authorities in Israel. The conference will discuss questions surrounding the power struggles between central and local government, the division of responsibilities, budgeted money for various areas like education and welfare, and disparities among local authorities serving varied population groups in Israel.

Conference Program

Opening Lecture:

Urban social policies in a comparative perspective: challenges and opportunities, Prof. Yuri Kazepov, University of Vienna

First Session: The Relationship Between Main and Local Authorities in Israel

Chair: Dr. Nir Barak, Department of Politics & Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Shlomo Dolberg, Director General, Federation of Local Authorities
Anna Lerner-Zchut, Senior Director of the Strategic Planning Unit, Ministry of the Interior (from October 2023)
Shira Ohana, CEO, Hura Municipality
Rotem Yadlin, Mayor, Gezer Regional County

Second Session: Social Services in Local Authorities – Education and Welfare

Chair: Michal Mankas, VP Education and Community Administration, Federation of Local Authorities
Sharon Melamed, Director of Welfare, Social Services & Public Health, Tel Aviv – Yafo Municipality
Yehuda Korenblit, Director of the Education Department, Beitar Illit Municipality
Elamour Yasser, Director of the Welfare Department, Kuseife Local Council

Third Session: Gaps Between Local Authorities – Challenges and Solutions

Chair: Salima M. Suleiman, Senior Director of the Local Authorities Department, Authority for the Economic
Hofit Klimovsky, Chief Executive Officer, Al-Qasoum Regional Council
Shoshana Lerner, Head of the Economic and Initiative Promotion Department, Bnei Brak Municipality
Development Of Minority Sectors, Ministry for Social Equality

After the conference will be held a seminar for invitees only, about Local Authorities’ responsibility in the environmental field.

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