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Rights and Responsibilities of Israeli Citizens

February 20, 2024 201 Time to read: 8 min.

Israel is far ahead of many countries in ensuring human rights and freedoms. This country shows a high level of progress in confronting gender inequality (one of the best in Asia), promoting LGBT equality (the highest in Asia), and protection of personal, civil, and economic liberties. Still, Israel does not achieve success in every sphere.

However, relying on the opinion in Human Rights Watch reports, the rate at which it implements HR treaties, support for press freedom (which is still commendable for Asia), its ostensible dedication to human rights, and free thought, Israel performs below average. In 2017, Israel imposed stricter regulations on its detractors, including journalists, and its blasphemy law is excessively ambiguous and broad-ranging. Israeli citizens are endowed with certain rights as well as obligations. Numerous laws, such as the Basic Laws of Israel and other laws, specify these rights and obligations.

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    Fundamental Rights

    Residents have fundamental rights guaranteed by several official laws, including the Declaration of Independence, Basic Laws, and other legislative acts. These rights are the foundation of the democracy. Here are some of them.

    Human rights and freedoms

    In Israel, human rights are additionally governed by the parliamentary sovereignty. To be safeguarded against subsequent Knesset amendments, a provision must be firmly established within a Basic Law. Most constitutional provisions, including the majority of fundamental laws, were never enshrined, and human rights were no exception. As one may recall, the Israeli government has been indecisive in creating a constitution that will be firmly established.

    Regard to human rights, there was an additional rationale for this resistance. The dread of entrenchment was significant due to the constitution’s abstract and more general language of rights provisions, which distinguishes them from structural laws. A concern that granting courts the authority to nullify legislation for violating abstractly defined rights could result in the judiciary gaining control over tens of thousands of significant social issues, such as religion, the state, and security questions.

    Citizens can communicate their opinions, thoughts, and beliefs without fear of censorship or persecution. This includes press freedom, which ensures a diversified and vibrant media landscape.

    Political rights

    In 1948, country did not have a written constitution, primarily as a result of dissent regarding the role that religion would assume in the nascent Jewish state (refer to the preceding section on Religion). Nevertheless, several purported constitutions have been instituted. Political authority originates in the Knesset, or Parliament. Every four years, members of this single-chamber assembly are elected through direct general elections. Laws passed by the Knesset, nevertheless, require the official signatures of the President and the Prime Minister. The President is elected for a term of seven years by Parliament. His duties are, in essence, representative.

    There are conventional political liberties: freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, political involvement, and the right to free exercise of religion. Political rights compel the state to refrain from certain sorts of prohibited action.

    Social rights

    However, social and economic rights necessitate affirmative state engagement and the allocation of finances to ensure everyone can access necessities such as food, healthcare, housing, and education.

    Israeli residents’ social rights include various provisions aimed at ensuring their well-being, dignity, and equal opportunity in society.

    These rights are safeguarded by laws and regulations that cover healthcare, education, social welfare, and labor rights. Israel provides free and obligatory education, from preschool to high school. Furthermore, the government offers subsidies for higher education, making it available to a larger portion of the population.

    Responsibilities and Duties of Israeli Citizens

    Many Israelis opt to relocate overseas for a specified duration for entrepreneurial endeavors, academic pursuits, familial obligations, or any other rationale. It is critical that members of this population are aware of their rights and the repercussions of remaining abroad. Israeli citizens have obligations and duties that accompany their rights and privileges as members of society.  Below are Israeli citizen’s duties and responsibilities:

    Civic responsibilities

    Citizens are responsible for contributing to society’s well-being through civic engagement and community involvement. This can involve volunteering, joining community organizations, and supporting social projects that address community issues.

    Legal obligations

    The legal framework in Israel is rooted in common law principles, yet it also incorporates elements from the varied historical experiences of the State of Israel’s territory over the past century (including periods of Ottoman and British rule before its independence) and the legal systems of its major religious communities. The Israeli legal system is distinguished by its amalgamation of common law principles. The city is shaped by the historical and religious diversity of its communities.

    This structure is a testament to the nation’s rich cultural heritage and complex history.

    The unique configuration of the judicial system and the flexible and dynamic characteristics of its constitutional procedure. A robust and responsive legal framework is the result of the three branches of government each performing an essential function. This all-encompassing manual sheds light on the complex mechanisms that comprise Israel’s legal system. These insights offer significant knowledge regarding the mechanisms that ensure democratic governance, safeguard human rights, and uphold the rule of law. Citizens are responsible for paying taxes to fund public services and infrastructure. This includes income taxes and property taxes.

    Absorption Basket For New Immigrants

    The migration policy of the State of Israel is aimed at returning Jews dispersed throughout the world to their historical homeland. To this end, the country has developed an effective assistance system for returnees. It is aimed at satisfying the material interests and other needs of new citizens. Therefore, in-kind support is provided, such as free Hebrew tuition, social housing and so on. And monetary assistance in the form of payments from the absorption basket and provision of various allowances.

    Sal klita (absorption basket) is a cash payment that all new repatriates are entitled to. The funds are provided to returning Jews and their family members. The total amount of the payments will depend on the following factors:

    • Age – the amount will be different for children, adults, and pensioners
    • Family composition – whether the returnee is a single or married couple
    • The presence of children and how many
    The right to receive financial assistance is maintained for 12 months from the date of granting the status of a new repatriate. Departure from Israel is a reason for termination of payments. You may resume receiving funds if you return within the first year after repatriation.

    The procedure for granting absorption basket assistance will be as follows:

    • Cash on arrival. The first amount is given directly at Ben-Gurion Airport
    • Transfer to a current account

    • A portion of the first disbursement
    • Monthly transfers in equal installments over a period of 6 months

    For the due payments to be transferred to the current account, the account details must be submitted to the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption.

    Military Service For New Immigrants

    Because of the Israeli Defense Service Law (Consolidated Version), 1986, the majority of Israeli citizens, including recent immigrants, are required to serve in the military. This law requires male and female citizens identifying as Jewish or Druze to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) when they turn eighteen.

    On the other hand, there are a few exclusions and unique guidelines concerning military duty for recent immigrants:

    1. New Immigrants, or “Olim Chadashim,” are obligated to enlist in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) just like any other Israeli citizen. However, their qualifications for military duty may differ depending on their age upon immigration and unique circumstances.
    2. Immigration Age: The military obligations of an individual may be influenced by their age upon arrival in Israel. In general, individuals who enter Israel prior to reaching the age of 18 are subject to the same conscription regulations as Israeli citizens and are obligated to join the IDF upon reaching that age.

    The following military-service requirements apply to immigrants who entered Israel after July 1, 2006, according to Military Service:

    Age on Arrival in Israel Health Profile Single Married
    to age 18 36 months 36 months
    18-19 31-97 30 months 18 months
    20-21 31-97 24 months 6 months
    22-25 65-97 6 months 6 months
    22-25 31-64 *Reserves *Reserves
    26-29 31-97 *Reserves *Reserves
    30 and up Exempt Exempt Exempt

    While the qualifications for military duty for newly arrived immigrants in Israel are essentially the same as those for citizens of Israel, there are several rules and considerations that may be specific to each individual’s situation. As they carry out the country’s military responsibilities, the IDF and pertinent government organizations strive to meet the demands of recent immigrants.

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