1. The Taub Center recently released its annual Singer Series: State of the Nation Report. How does the Center make sure the findings in the report reach Israel’s decision makers?
Having an impact on policy through direct communications with policymakers is at the core of the Taub Center’s mission, and our annual report is known to be a key resource to Israel’s top decision makers. Chapter by chapter, we consider how our research findings can help inform the political process. We then discuss the findings with relevant policymakers, and sometimes host workshops for the members of political parties and economics departments of various ministries.
But direct communication with decision makers is not sufficient on its own. Social change is often built from the ground-up, and a healthy democracy requires an informed public. Therefore we ensure not only that journalists receive our research findings, but that our research is also freely available to the public and communicated in a user friendly, accessible manner.
2. What types of government officials do Taub Center researchers and staff meet with?
We have the privilege of meeting with officials and staff at all levels of the policymaking process and from all political parties. At the national level, Ministers/ministry officials, Members of Knesset, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the President’s office are met with frequently throughout the year. At the local level, we meet with mayors and municipal officials, and speak at events that are hosted by municipal leaders.
It is also crucial to ensure that the next generation of Israeli leaders is equipped with well-rounded knowledge on social policy in Israel. To this end, we work with a number of cadet and future leader training programs, student leadership programs, and parliamentary assistants and advisors, ensuring that social policy decisions are fact-based today and into the future.
3. How has Taub Center research had an impact on the policymaking process in the past?
Our researchers are frequently at the table; presenting data at policy discussions relating to education, labor markets, economics, health, and social welfare in Israel. For example, the Taub Center’s Principal Education Researchers were invited to open a meeting of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee with a presentation on inequality in the education system.
The discussion thereafter, which included officials from the Ministry of Education, the Bank of Israel, and a number of other key actors in the education field, was centered on the issues raised by the researchers, and the session resulted in the Committee’s submission of official recommendations to the Minister of Education based on Taub Center research.
Periodically, legislation is crafted based on Taub Center research, including a bill that recently became law granting fathers parental leave. Our research has also been cited in Supreme Court decisions and by the President. We are also present “behind the scenes” – with Taub Center researchers serving as a resource to ministry staff members as they submit briefings to the Prime Minister’s Office.
4. How does the Taub Center maintain its non-partisan status while engaging with government officials?
Guided by a team of skilled economists and other social scientists, the Center’s research questions are posed to seek out facts; not to reach conclusions that serve a particular agenda or political leaning. As such, our findings are presented uniformly, regardless of the political orientation of our audience.
When appropriate, we offer various policy options, but we do not offer recommendations. First and foremost, we aim for there to be agreement on the facts behind the issues, leaving the debate and formulation of solutions to the policymakers. We meet with policymakers across the entire political spectrum from every party. Beyond this, the Taub Center selects its research topics in-house, meaning policymakers cannot commission us to conduct research, and to maintain our strictly non-partisan status, we accept no government funding or donations from political entities.
5. What types of audiences does the Center reach abroad?
The Taub Center has come to serve as a resource to international governing bodies, as well as the broader Jewish community outside of Israel. We hold annual briefings for delegates from the OECD, IMF, and Bank of Israel, and the research findings discussed in these meetings tend to be cited in the OECD’s bi-annual report on Israel.
We have also shared our findings with foreign embassies and political delegations to Israel from countries around the world. In reaching the broader Jewish communities outside of Israel, we meet with Jewish Federations, student groups, Rabbinical and gap year students, and other members of Jewish groups around the world. Our research findings are presented to these types of groups both within Israel and abroad, and help to provide them with a picture of Israel’s socioeconomic situation.