Between Public and Private: Privatizations and Nationalizations in Israel

Publisher: 
Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and The Ebert Foundation
Language: 
Hebrew
Year of Publication: 
2014
About: 

This report, the fourth of its kind, surveys briefly forty-one privatizations and four nationalizations by the government of Israel in 2013. About half of them are the continuation of processes that began in previous years and about half of them are new. In the beginning of 2013, one could still hear echoes of the country’s social protest. The Trajtenberg Report, which appeared in the wake of the protest, recommended careful consideration of the privatization processes, and the 2012 State Comptroller’s Report included a discussion, unprecedented in scope and severity, of the issues of privatization and outsourcing. But in practice, privatization intensified. This report shows the worrisome spread of the use of commercial bodies in planning, control, and supervision in all government ministries and in all areas, and for the first time these bodies have been accorded a place in each relevant chapter.

The authors of this report are not of the opinion that every attempt at privatization should be rejected out of hand. At the same time, we must consider seriously which areas are suitable for privatization and what should remain the responsibility of the state. The results of this year’s follow-up show that the government has no intention of stopping this speeding train in order to think about the areas earmarked for privatization, and especially for outsourcing, and to examine whether it is necessary to privatize them. The government ministries are increasingly losing relevant professional skills and knowledge and are transferring key positions to private bodies—and all this without any mechanisms for supervision, examination, and guidance. Sophisticated regulation is no guarantee of appropriate privatization, but without it, the privatization is doomed to failure, especially in the social services in which the state’s responsibility must be ensured.

This report appears annually as part of the broad project titled “State Responsibility: The Limits of Privatization and the Issue of Regulation” that was begun in 2007 in the Center for Social Justice and Democracy in memory of Yaacov Chazan at the Van Leer Jerusalem Israel. In addition to conducting research, the Center disseminates its research findings so as to influence decision makers and to stimulate public discourse on the topic.

The project members are Prof. Yitzhak Gal-Noor, academic director; Dr. Amir Paz-Fuchs, academic co-director and researcher; Dr. Eyal Tevet, academic co-director and researcher; Dr. Sarit Bensimhon-Peleg, researcher and author of the annual report; Dr. Varda Schiffer, coordinator of research on privatization and regulation in local government; Noga Eitan, promoter of policy and communication; Advocate Yifat Solel, coordinator of the legislative area; and Nomika Zion, director of the Center. Some fifty researchers are involved in the research, and the Center’s directorate includes individuals from the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and representatives of the kibbutz movement. The Ebert Foundation in Israel participated in the preparation of the report.