Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 8 – Inclusion Efforts Very Much Alive
It’s entirely reasonable to think that with Israel’s Government in transition, activities to promote diversity and inclusion have come to a standstill. Think again.
Fact is, once a Government makes a decision it usually hands execution off to the professionals, who take the ball and run down the field with all they’ve got. Such is definitely the case with implementation of the five-year, 30 billion shekel program to empower the Arab community (adopted more than a year ago).
Just last week the Israel Innovation Authority and the Social Equality Ministry announced their decision to invest in three innovation centers, two tech accelerators as well as an angel investors’ group to advance entrepreneurship and integration into the tech world among the country’s Arab citizens. According to the Innovation Authority head, the programs selected “have the ability to generate real change.”
Social affairs constitutes another field that professionals are tending to; as we’ve noted before, Israel’s commitment to a safety net for those in need – a characteristic pre-dating the state’s establishment – is deeply embedded in the country’s DNA. In this context, come January the National Insurance allowance for people with disabilities will be raised by 10% in order to keep pace with an increase in the economy’s average salary (as per Finance Ministry agreement a number of years ago to link the two).
Not all is smooth sailing, of course. Case in point: a recent meeting by the health services basket committee (comprising professionals, bureaucrats and public representatives) apparently passed on a Government request to include public funding in 2023 for surrogacy for men (both single and homosexual couples) in accordance with a relevant Supreme Court decision. The committee reportedly emphasized that it is prioritizing the 500-case quota already decided upon for the coming’s year allocation.
To be fair, it appears that the outgoing Government took an entire year to follow through on the budgeting aspect of this issue; in view of the Court decision, its successor may have no choice but to finance the surrogacy anyway – with or without committee budgeting.
Moving on: seems like there’s nothing like a transition government for some good old-fashioned mudslinging; this is as true in the social impact area as anywhere. Among the juicy items flying about, we find most intriguing the outgoing head of the Israel Defense Forces’ insistence that the army is still as egalitarian as it was originally intended to be.
Bottom line: Israel’s budgeting and discourse to advance SDGs are as robust as ever. Not bad for a transition-government period that’s almost two months old now.
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