Local Democracy in Israel: Decentralization, Localism, Participation and Local Politics

The democratic function of local authorities is often disregarded in the public discourse on local government and needed municipal reforms. This deficiency characterizes countries, including Israel, in which local government is not perceived as a cornerstone of national identity. Local democracy has three major functions: representation, consolidation of democratic values and pluralism. This book focuses on the democratic objective of local government in Israel. Its twenty-two chapters review key trends in local democracy and discuss its position in the public and political systems, in civil participation, management of civic life at the local level and local government elections. Four features of local democracy in Israel revealed in the chapters of the book are: distinction, centralization along with neglect, fragility and exploitation, and suspicion and protest. The challenges facing local democracy in Israel are manifested in several courses of action: from below – awakening of the local civil society; from within – adoption of new public management principles by elected politicians and bureaucrats in local government; from above – genuine decentralization of powers by the central state; and from outside – direct interaction with states and international movements, organizations and corporations.

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Beer Sheva: Economic Development and Political Culture
Yitzhak Dahan. 2011. Beer Sheva: Economic Development and Political Culture. Jerusalem: Floersheimer Studies. Abstract

Over the last sixty years the government of Israel has earmarked many resources for what it defined as "developing the Negev", projected to reduce the disparities between the center of Israel and its periphery.  It appears that this goal was never achieved and disparities have widened rather than diminished. This failure requires a renewed examination of the rationale behind current policy plans.

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Jerusalem as an Internal Migration Destination for Israeli-Palestinian Families
Asmahan Masry-Herzalla, Eran Razin, and Maya Choshen. 2011. Jerusalem as an Internal Migration Destination for Israeli-Palestinian Families. Jerusalem: Floersheimer Studies. Abstract

This study analyzes the migration of Israeli-Palestinians from the north of Israel and the Triangle to Jerusalem and highlights possible transformations in their internal migration patterns and their integration into Israeli economy and society.  Its main conjecture focuses on their status as a middle-man minority between Israeli private and public institutions and the East-Jerusalem population. This unique employment opportunity in the Jerusalem labor market is the city’s growing major attraction as a migration destination for the Israeli-Palestinian population.

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Municipal Amalgamations and their Fiscal Impacts: Evidence from the 2003 Amalgamation Reform
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Spatial Allocation Policy of Medical Resources
Chen Greenberg. 2011. Spatial Allocation Policy of Medical Resources. Jerusalem: Floersheimer Studies. Abstract

The Ministry of Health in Israel, as the sole body responsible for the equitable and efficient distribution of health services, is also the sole regulator over the health systems and the allocation of funds to them. This study examines whether the aspiration for equitable health services does indeed materialize. Using spatial analytical tools a comparison was made between the distribution of mammography and tomography (CT) institutions in various scenarios and the current existing distribution.

Its findings indicate that there is a disparity between the health policy and regulations and the current situation. These findings reinforce the need for and significance of clarifying the policy, and strengthening the ties between the various operating systems.

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Barriers to Arab Participation in Planning Institutions and in shaping the Public Space

This study examines the under representation and exclusion of Arabs from planning and planning institutions in Israel. It reviews the internal and external barriers to the Arab population's involvement and to the Arab planners' degree of participation in planning processes. The study highlights the systematic institutional failure to fulfill its obligation to include a representation of Arabs in these institutions and its impact on the relationship between the state and the Arab public.

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In Foreign Fields: Interaction Patterns between Israelis and Palestinians in Mixed Commercial Zones in Jerusalem

This research examines how and why both Israelis and Palestinians cross borders into alien territory, and the way in which each of the groups confronts the "invasion" of its rival into its home territory.

Its main findings show that the more mutually inclusive territorial identity a place has the more positive an interactional pattern will occur in it, and vise-versa.

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Science, Policy and Uncertainty: The Role of Scientists in Shaping Environmental Policy in Israel
Tsafrir Gidron and Itai Fischhendler. 2010. Science, Policy and Uncertainty: The Role of Scientists in Shaping Environmental Policy in Israel. Jerusalem: Floersheimer Studies. Abstract

This study attempts to characterize the impact of scientists on shaping environmental policy in Israel and when, and in what way does the use of scientific rationale lead to maximizing the successful promotion of a desired policy? This is a particularly significant question in Israel, where the issue has not as yet gained wide public acknowledgement.

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Urban Creativity: Effective Management and Democratic Openness
Perla Aizencang-Kane. 2010. Urban Creativity: Effective Management and Democratic Openness. Jerusalem: Floersheimer Studies. Abstract

Urban creativity is currently the focus of theoretical and practical research and can contribute to the understanding of local government modus operandi and in particular to its effective management. The study focuses on Shoham and Holon, both defined by the Ministry of the Interior as successful municipalities. It examines the creativity of the municipality distinguishing between effective management, which emphasizes internal processes within the municipality, and democratic openness, which emphasizes the interaction between the municipality and the environment as well as increasing local capital resources.

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National, District and Metropolitan Planning in Israel: a Collection in Memory of Pro. Arie Shachar

This volume of papers addresses national, district and metropolitan planning perspectives. Among them are the new generation of national and district planning issues and a return to comprehensive national planning. Some focus on a vision for long-term planning, Tel Aviv's empowerment and internalizing concepts of sustainable development as well as on combining between institutionalized operations and public and academic discourse. Others address dilemmas of metropolitan regeneration, strategies to strengthen Jerusalem and the late Professor Arie Shachar's unique contribution to urban geography, planning and mapping.

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Planning and Politics in Jerusalem
Gedalia Auerbach and Ira Sharkansky. 2010. Planning and Politics in Jerusalem. Jerusalem: Floersheimer Studies. Abstract

This publication focuses on the transformation in municipal planning arena in the last three decades, led by the growth in the number of players taking part in the process and the plethora of activities, interests and values. These changes, in a complex arena such as the city of Jerusalem, impact on the planning process and its output: the protraction of the process and an increasing disparity between planning and its implementation.

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Independence and Entrepreneurship Among Arab Muslim Rural and Bedouin Women in Israel
Ruth Kark, Emir Galilee, and Tamar Feuerstein. 2009. Independence and Entrepreneurship Among Arab Muslim Rural and Bedouin Women in Israel. Jerusalem: Floersheimer Studies. Abstract

This study attempts to evaluate the degree of independence and entrepreneurship among a group of Arab Muslim women, rural and Bedouin, and their own viewpoints on issues relating to independence, entrepreneurship, economic involvement and their social and legal status against a background of a changing global economy.

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Israel's Corporatization of Water Supply and Sewerage Services: An Unresolved Reform

The municipal water system reform in Israel has long passed the point of no return, both from the perspective of the volume of population and its single-directional legal approach. However, this outcome hardly heralds the reform's conclusion. Completing the municipal corporatization is only one aspect of the reform and does not secure its success by standards of its own initial principles and goals. Analyzing the policy process of corporatization on a national level uncovers fundamental phenomena which may impede, without possibility of redress, the reform's stated goals, the public interest and the interests of consumers. In the face of this disturbing possibility this research attempts to reevaluate the corporatization reform and its possible impacts.

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