United Nations

CRC/C/ISR/2-4

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Distr.: General

28 August 2012

Original: English

Committee on the Rights of the Child

Consideration of the reports submitted by States parties under article 44 of the Convention

Combined second, third and fourth periodic reports of States parties due in 2008

Israel*

[11 June 2010]

Contents

Paragraphs Page

IIntroduction1-164

II.General measures of implementation (arts. 4, 42 and 44, para. 6)17-858

III.Definition of the child86-15017

IV.General principles151-31425

A.Article 6– The right to life, survival and development151-19025

B.Article 2– Non-discrimination and equal opportunity191-20331

C. Article 3 – The best interest of the child204-21634

D.Article 12- Respect for the views of the child217-24036

E.Articles 7 and 8241-25640

F.Article 13– Freedom of expression25743

G.Article 14– Freedom of thought, religion and conscience25843

H.Article 15– Freedom of association and peaceful assembly259-26443

I.Article 16– The right to dignity, privacy and reputation265-28244

J.Article 17– Access to information: television, radio, and film283-29746

K.Article 37 (a)298-31449

V.Family environment and alternative care315-43452

A.Articles 5, 9 and 18327-37454

B.Article 10– Family reunification375-37662

C.Article 11 – Illicit transfer and non-return377-38562

D.Article 27, paragraph 4 – Recovery of maintenance for the child386-39065

E.Articles 20 and 25– Children deprived of a family environment391-39966

F.Article 21 – Adoption400-41568

G.Articles 19 and 39 – Abuse and neglect, recovery and reintegration416-43471

VI.Basic health and welfare435-61375

A.Article 23 – Children with disabilities435-46975

B.Articles 6 and 24 – Health and health services470-57884

C.Article 26 – Social security579-584106

D.Article 27, paragraphs 1-3– Standard of living585-613107

VII.Education, recreation and cultural activities614-713112

VIII.Special protection measures714-947133

A.Articles 37, 39 and 40 – Children in the juvenile justice system714-809133

B.Articles 32–36 – Children in situations of exploitation, including physical

and psychological recovery and reintegration into society810-830151

C.Article 34 – Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse831-917156

D.Articles 22, 38 and 39 – Children in emergency situations918-947170

I.Introduction

1.This is the second periodic report of the State of Israel, submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in accordance with the requirements of article 44 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention. This report has been compiled by the Human Rights and Foreign Relations Department of the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Israeli Government bodies. Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were also invited to submit comments prior to the compilation of the present report, both through direct application, and a general invitation to submit remarks, which was posted on the Ministry of Justice website. Their contributions were given substantial consideration.

2.Since the submission of the initial report (CRC/C/8/Add.44), many legislative, administrative and judicial developments relevant to the implementation of the Convention have occurred. A brief summary of the most significant of these changes is set out below. This report provides a comprehensive account of these developments. It also addresses the comments made by the Committee in its concluding observations (CRC/C/15/Add.195) dated 10 October 2002.

3.As of Israel’s first submission to the Committee, noteworthy legislative steps have been taken to promote children’s rights. Several of the more prominent new pieces of legislation include:

-Amendment No. 10 to the Public Defenders Law (the: “Public Defenders”)

-Amendment No. 11 to the Criminal Procedure Law 5756-1996 (the: “Criminal Procedure Law”)

-Amendment No. 12 to the Criminal Procedure (Enforcement Powers and Bodily Search) (Legislative Amendment) 5765-2005 (the “Enforcement Powers and Bodily Search Law”)

-Amendment No. 13 to the Legislative Amendment Law to the Evidence Revision (Protection of Children) Law 5765-2005 (the: “Evidence Revision Law”)

-Amendment No. 5 to the Courts Law (Consolidated Version) 5744-1984 (the: “Courts Law”)

-Legislative Amendment to the Treatment of Mentally Ill Law 5751-1991 (the: “Treatment of Mentally Ill Law”)

-Amendment No. 14 to the Youth (Trial, Punishment and Modes of Treatment) Law 5731-1971 (the: “Youth Law”)

-Amendment No. 9 to the Transportation Ordinance (New Version) 5721-1961 (the: “Transportation Ordinance (New Version)”)

-Amendment No. 6 to the Penal Law 5737-1977 (the: “Penal Law”), which endeavours to assimilate the principle of a child’s best interest (as a leading principle) in legislative, administrative and judicial matters affecting children

4.In Israel, the principle rights enshrined by the Convention are effectively protected through legislation and judicial decisions. Having said this, it should be noted that Israel has not enacted any further basic laws (Israel’s constitutional law) regarding children’s rights since the submission of its previous periodic report. Israel did however incorporate the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 into Israeli domestic law as the Hague Convention Law (Return of Abducted Children) 5751-2001. With respect to judicial decisions, the Supreme Court has continued to play a major role in the implementation of the rights protected by the Convention.

Judicial rulings

5.Both the Israeli Supreme Court and several of Israel’s District Courts referred to different provisions of the Convention in a number of their decisions. The most noteworthy examples of this practice which occurred during the reporting period are:

-The Supreme Court noted the provisions of article 3 regarding the best interests of the child in HCJ 7395/07 Anonymous v. The Rabbinical Court of Appeals (21.1.2008). This case involved a dispute over the education of the children of a divorced couple. The Supreme Court overruled a decision of the Rabbinical Court, which had not considered the best interests of the children in question. The Supreme Court determined that the children should study in the national education system as opposed to the national-religious education system.

-The Supreme Court also referred to article 28 of the Convention regarding a child’s right to education in HCJ 6914/06 The National Parents Organization (Registered Society) v. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports et. al. (14.8. 2007). In this case, the National Parents Organization claimed that school-related payments, which parents are required to pay each year, violate the right to free education; and therefore filed a petition requiring the Ministry of Education to receive the approval of the Knesset Education Committee for all forms of parental school payments that parents are required to pay for each school year.

-District Courts also referred to the rights enshrined in the Convention. For example, the Tel-Aviv District Court, when sitting as a Juvenile Court, addressed article 37(a) of the Convention in relation to the imposition of life imprisonment upon a minor who committed a murder before he reached the age of eighteen, and stressed that the punishment in question did not violate article 37(a) as the Israeli legal system permits the release of those sentenced to life imprisonment (S.Cr.C (Tel-Aviv) 204/05 The State of Israel v. Anonymous (251. 2007)). In another case, the Tel-Aviv District Court, sitting as an Administrative Court, made reference to article 2, paragraph 2 of the Convention requiring a State to take all appropriate measures to ensure the protection of children from all forms of discrimination. In the relevant case, a school had refused to admit certain girls due to their ethnic affiliation. (Ad.P. (Tel-Aviv) 2176/06 Anonymous v. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports et. al. (15.11.06)).

-Family Matters Courts also referred to the rights set out in the Convention. For example, the Jerusalem Family Matters Court relied on article 3 of the Convention when emphasizing that the best interests of the child should be considered in determining a child’s surname when her/his parents are not married nor share custody. (F.M.C (Jerusalem) 9182/06 Anonymous v. Anonymous (10.4.2007)).

-The Jerusalem District Court was asked to grant visitation rights to the divorced parents of two minor children. The Court consulted an expert on child development prior to reaching its decision. The Court emphasized the fact that since 1990, there had been a significant increase in the attention paid to a child’s well-being. The visitation rights that the court decided upon were largely based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Court considered the Convention and the Rotlevi Committee recommendations as sources of interpretation and guidance (C.M 6802/04 Anonymous v. Anonymous (19 .12.2004)).

-Yated – Non-Profit Organization for Parents of Children with Down Syndrome, together with parents of children with disabilities, petitioned the Supreme Court to order the State to finance the integration of children with disabilities (who are deemed fit) into ordinary schools. In this way, equality would be achieved for children who study in special education schools. The Court determined that the right to education is a fundamental one, which is enshrined both in article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in articles 28 and 29 of the Convention. See specification in Chapter VI, below. (H.C.J. 2599/00 Yated – Non-Profit Organization for Parents of Children with Down Syndrome v. The Ministry of Education (14.8.02)).

Children and rights

6.Children possess certain rights that are particular to them, primarily welfare rights. These rights protect important interests, such as health and adequate living standards. Recognizing a child’s rights created a concomitant duty for the parent or the State respectively. Adults have duties to protect important interests of children but these interests do not necessarily correlate with rights held by children (such as choosing whether or not to attend school, purchase alcoholic beverages, drive etc.) Other rights are shared by children and adults. The guiding rule is the child’s best interest. In recent years, an increasing number of liberties previously reserved for adults have been extended to children. Under Israeli law, a child is defined as any human being below the age of 18. Any deviations from this definition must be made in accordance with a particular law applicable to the child, such as the Penal Law, which stipulates that with respect to criminal liability, the age of maturity is 12, whereas legal capacity is normally at eighteen.

The best interests of the child

7.This principle is a primary guiding principle under Israeli law, which has absorbed this relatively modern concept. The majority of child-related legal issues (including legislative, administrative and judicial issues) that arose in Israel following the submission of Israel’s initial report were guided by this rule. In fact, decisions and rulings may be rendered based entirely on the child’s best interests. If a child has a certain right, others have a duty not to interfere with that right.

8.One of the rights that promotes children’s welfare, and which has been incorporated into Israeli law in recent years is the right of a child to be heard in matters affecting her/his interests. This right has been clearly defined in some of the latest legislative amendments, for example Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law, which constitutes an extensive amendment that applies to several laws applicable to children, as detailed below.

9.In concluding observation No. 32 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning Israel’s previous periodic report dated 4 October 2002 (CRC/C/15/Add/195), the Committee encouraged the continuation and assimilation of the respect for the views of the child. In that regard, Section 1B (a) of Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law states that minors are entitled to state their opinion and express their personal feelings prior to a decision being reached in matters that affect them (the Youth Employment Law underwent a similar amendment, below). The weight afforded to the minor’s view is dependent upon the child’s age and level of maturity. In order to encourage the participation of minors in matters affecting them, and for the purpose of enabling them to exercise their right to express their opinion, the minors are provided with information in a manner and language comprehensible to them (information that can cause actual harm to the minor is not conveyed). In cases where a decision has been made regarding a minor but the minor has not been afforded the opportunity to express her/his view, the minor shall be provided with such an opportunity subsequent to the completion of the decision-making process, provided that the decision has yet to be implemented, and the reason for the revocation no longer exists. If the decision that was made conflicts with the minor’s wishes, the person who reached the decision or a person acting on her/his behalf shall explain to the minor (in a manner understandable to her/him) the justification for their decision. The explanation given must be compatible with the minor’s age and level of maturity. The information ought not to cause the minor actual harm or be of the kind that is forbidden to be disclosed under Section 1B (b) (1–2) to the Youth Law. The Amendment also stipulates, with respect to Section 2(a) of the Youth Law that jurists appointed to serve as juvenile court judges, may also preside in proceedings concerning the arrest of minors as well as in preliminary hearings, provided that the jurists in question undergo special educational training in youth and child care .

10.The right of the child to express her/his opinion, as stipulated in article 12 of the Convention, is incorporated in the following legislation.

11.Amendment No. 9 to the Youth Employment Law 5713-1953, (the: “Youth Employment Law”) issued on 7 July 1998, supplements Section 27F–27G which sets out guidelines regarding work permits for youth. According to Section 27F(a) a work permit for the employment of a youth will not be granted if it may harm the best interests of the youth. Section 27F(b)–(c) stipulate that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor may issue rules, limitations and conditions concerning the employment of youth. Section 27G(a) stipulates that any youth who is capable of expressing an independent opinion, will have the right to do so with regard to the granting of a permit for her/his employment. Her/his opinion will be afforded a degree of consideration that accords with her/his age and level of maturity. According to Section 27G(b), the Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor (ITL) shall issue regulations regarding the manners in which this right can be realized.

12.A 2009 Amendment to the Hours of Work and Rest Law 5711-1951 (hereinafter: the “Hours of Work and Rest Law”) determines time for recreation away from one’s work in order to enable use of the lavatory (Section 20A). As mentioned, the Youth Employment Law underwent a similar amendment (Section 3 of Amendment No. 13 to the Youth Employment Law).

13.Section 24 of the Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law 5722-1962 (the: “Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law” 5722-1962 (the: “Legal Capacity Law”) determines that parents who do not live together are entitled to conclude a guardianship agreement, as well as to determine the rights of the non-custodian parent. Such parents can therefore now determine custodianship and visitation rights. Such an agreement requires the approval of the courts in order to confirm that the agreement is in fact in the child’s best interests.

14.Information concerning the implications of children’s rights in legislation can be found in the “Indication of Information Regarding Legislation Influences on the Rights of the Child” 2” 5762-2002 (the: “Children Rights Influence of Legislation Law”). This law requires the systematic inclusion of explanatory notes in every bill regarding the bill’s expected implications on the rights of children. These explanatory notes should include information as to any impingement or improvement in the rights of children and the scope of these rights as a result of the bill, as well as any changes regarding what constitutes satisfactory living conditions for children and/or services provided to children. Furthermore, the explanatory notes should include the data and information relied upon to determine whether the bill is impinging or improving the rights of children. Amendment No. 14 implemented these changes.

15.Nevertheless, in some cases, the rights of the parents or the interests of society are considered in addition to the “best interests of the child.” Thus, for example, the best interest of the child is not, in itself, a cause for adoption. In a series of rulings, the Supreme Court determined that even if adoptive parents are likely to be better parents than a child’s biological parents, this does not constitute a sufficient reason to remove the child from the custody of her/his biological parents (see C.A. 623/80 Anonymous v. The Attorney General, P.D. 45(2) 72) 12.3.1980. It is permissible to place a child up for adoption only when there is a specific reason to do so, for example, when the biological parents are unable to provide sufficiently for the child. When there is a reason for an adoption, the child’s best interests will be the primary consideration.

16.This report addresses the main issues raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in their 2003 concluding observations in the period between the submission of the Israel’s previous periodic report and December 2009, as well as concerns raised by the Committee following the 2002 session before the Committee.

II.General measures of implementation (arts. 4, 42 and 44, para. 6)

The Convention’s legal status

17.The Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed by the State of Israel on 3 July1990 and was ratified by the Knesset on 4 August 1991; it entered into force on 2 November 1991. Although the Convention does not have the status of law, it is often cited in rulings of both the Supreme and the lower courts as a legal basis for a decision reached and as a source of interpretation.

18.The State of Israel is also a signatory to other international conventions concerning children. Since the submission of Israel’s initial report, the State of Israel became a party to several major international instruments concerning children. On 15 March 2005, Israel became a party to the ILO Convention 182 on Worst Form of Child Labour 1999. In its concluding observation No. 62 concerning Israel’s previous periodic report, the Committee encouraged the State party to ratify the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child: On 18 July 2005, Israel became a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The State of Israel has also signed the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography on 14 November 2001, and ratified it on 19 June 2008.

19.In addition, on 14 December 2006, Israel became a party to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, 5760-2000. On 23 July 2008 Israel also became a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

20.The State of Israel made no reservations upon ratification of the Convention.

The Committee to examine fundamental principles concerning children and the law, and the implementation of these principles in Israeli legislation

21.A Committee chaired by the Deputy President of the Tel Aviv District Court, Justice Saviona Rotlevi, was appointed in 1997 by the Minister of Justice. The Minister appointed the Committee to thoroughly examine Israeli legislation concerning the rights of children and children’s legal and welfare status under Israeli law, in light of the principles set down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so that Israel could meet its commitments under the Convention. The Committee was also asked to assess the need to draft a comprehensive law regarding the status of children and youth. The Committee was further asked to examine the necessity of establishing agencies and mechanisms to implement, coordinate, and regulate the rights of children as outlined by the Convention.

22.The Committee involved approximately 70 senior public and other officials from a variety of fields, including the Courts Administration and the Ministries of Justice, Labor and Social Affairs, Departments of Social Work and professors from Law and Psychology Faculties of Academia. Representatives of children’s mental health services and the Israeli Bar Association were also involved in this project.

23.Six reports prepared by Sub-Committees were submitted to the Minister of Justice. These reports concerned: Representation of Children in Civil Proceedings, Out-of-Home Placement of Children, Children and their Family, Education, Children in Criminal Proceedings, and a general report. Since the submission of the general report, the recommendations of the Sub-Committees’ reports have been gradually implemented. Since the submission of the Sub-Committees’ conclusions, numerous developments related to the implementation of the Convention have occurred. This report provides a comprehensive survey of the advancement in legislation, and judicial decisions. The Rotlevi Committee was committed to creating equal opportunities for all children, to enable them to develop independently, to be heard and represented in matters affecting them, and to create an environment that encourages and supports their individuality. The core revisions that have resulted from the Rotlevi Committee and the various subcommittees’ reports are referred to throughout this report. The main recommendations regarding the promotion of children’s rights are set out below:

-Redefine the rationale for State actions with respect to children’s rights.

-Redefine State liabilities with respect to children’s rights, for instance, recognize and address children’s grievances in various areas or submit annual reports on the state of children to the Prime Minister and the Advisory Committee.

-The Committee recommended the establishment of an Advisory Committee within the Ministry of Justice. The Committee recommended that the Advisory Committee be empowered to provide opinions to the Minister of Justice regarding laws passed with respect to children and judicial rulings that effect child’s rights, and provide updates concerning organizations that operate to promote children’s rights etc.

Recommendation regarding the adoption of a comprehensive children’s law

24.The Committee recommended the adoption of a comprehensive Children’s Law. Such a law, the Committee believed, should settle the legal relations between children, their parents and the State. The committee’s recommendation was to take all child-related protection laws, such as: the Legal Capacity Law, the Youth (Care and Supervision) Law 5720-1960 (the: “Youth (Care and Supervision) Law”), the Adoption of Children Law 5741-1981 (the: “Adoption of Children Law”), the Kindergartens Supervision Law 5725-1965, the Safety of Protected Persons Law 5726-1966, and the Welfare (Procedure in Matters of Minors, Mentally Sick Persons and Absent Persons) Law 5715-1955 and incorporate them into one extensive Children’s Law, that shall consist of existing laws and unambiguous rights of children.

Recommendations regarding the ban on physical punishment

25.The Committee formulated its recommendations against the background of the multicultural society which exists in Israel. The Committee’s recommendations were based on the following premise: physical punishment is a breach of a child’s right to wellbeing and physical safety, and is accordingly illegal. The Committee concluded that in order to guarantee a reduction in both the amount and degree of physical punishment directed against children in Israel, extensive regulation was required. The followings are its main recommendations.

Legislation

26.The Committee strongly condemned the usage of any physical punishment against children. Nevertheless, the Committee distinguished between physical punishment imposed by immediate family members (such as a parent) and physical punishment imposed within an educational framework.

Minimizing physical punishment inside the family

27.A child is entitled to protection from physical harm and/or humiliation. The Committee proposed that the applicable law would be a Civil Law rather than a Criminal Law.

Minimizing physical punishment in the educational framework

28.The Committee recommended that specific criminal sanctions apply to educational personnel who impose physical punishment against children.

Education and explanation

29.The Committee recommended that Government bodies implement explanatory, educational activities in order to raise the consciousness of individuals against the use of physical punishment. The Committee encouraged the use of different methods of discipline.

Prevention

30.The Committee recommended that the Government take actions against any violations of the prohibition on physical punishment.

Adaptation of laws applicable to children

31.Recently, there has been extensive legislative activity on behalf of children. Many new bills, as well as amendments to existing laws, have been proposed, some of which have been finalized.

32.An indication of the information concerning the implications of legislation can be found in the Children Rights Influence of Legislation Law. This law requires the systematic inclusion of explanatory notes in every bill regarding its expected implications on the rights of children.

33.These explanatory notes should include information regarding any impingement or improvement of children’s rights as a result of the bill in question, any changes regarding the basic living conditions that need to be met, and any amendments to services provided to children. Furthermore, the explanatory notes should include the data and information which was employed to determine whether the bill is impinging or improving children’s rights.

34.Section 2G of the Business Licensing Law 5725-1965, forbids businesses from tattooing and piercing minors under the age of sixteen without the consent of the minor’s parents or custodian. This does not apply to ear lobe piercing.

35.An initiative for a comprehensive reform of the Youth Law led to the adoption of Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law on 21 July 21, . The Amendment entered into force in July 2009. This Amendment greatly improves the treatment of minors in criminal proceedings.

Implementation of the Convention by National and Local Government

36.One measure taken to effect the implementation of the Convention by National and Local Government was the adoption of the Prohibition of Selling Lottery and Gambling Tickets to Minors (Legislation Amendments) Law 5767-2007. This Amendment forbids any offering, selling or distributing of tickets (or other means of participation in gambling activities of any kind) to a minor. This law imposes a punishment of six months’ imprisonment in the event that its terms are breached.

37.The Directives and general guidelines of the Director General of the Ministry of Education refer to various aspects of children’s rights. For example, the Ministry published a Directive regarding the involvement of divorced/separated parents in school-related projects and events, such as school trips. The Directive stipulates that the school shall communicate with both parents, but shall provide updates and notifications regarding any other school-related issues to the court-appointed custodian, and/or in accordance with the best interests of the child (Directive 5763/5(a), January 2003).

38.In its concluding observation contained in paragraph 22(b) concerning Israel’s “previous periodic report, the Committee encouraged the dissemination of the Convention, Directive 5767/6 (February 2007) generate the implementation of the Pupils Rights Law 5761-2000 (the: “Pupils Rights Law”) and its amendments, including the distribution of a brochure entitled “In the Path of Rights” aimed at promoting the awareness and inculcation of the Law by pupils. The Ministry’s Division for pupils’ rights is charged with guiding teachers and creating an informative disc regarding the Law for teachers in primary and secondary schools. The disc includes movies, presentations and detailed information regarding the manner in which schools and teachers at school can promote an atmosphere that embraces pupils’ rights.

39.Directive 5765/3(a) (September 2005) published the amendments to the Youth Law and the Evidence Procedure Revision (Protection of Children) Law 5715-1955 (the: “Evidence (Protection of Children) Law”). It stipulated that in cases where a pupil is under investigation and requests that her/his parents not be notified about the investigation, the school and its personnel will help the pupil manage the results of the investigation.

40.Below are the primary changes introduced by Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law concerning legal proceedings.

Police investigation

41.When a child is suspected of committing a crime and is summoned to a police station to undergo questioning, the minor’s parents or a close relative (in the event that the parent cannot be located despite reasonable efforts to do so) must be notified.

42.A child residing at a group home will be summoned subject to the group home’s superintendent’s notification and parental knowledge. The policy with respect to a group home is the same as above – in the event that the parent cannot be located despite reasonable efforts to do so, then another adult who is a family member, that is known to the minor, will be notified.

43.In other circumstances (such as in the event of a minor’s detention) the Police Commissioner in charge at the time, is required to notify the parents or other close relative as to the child’s whereabouts.

44.Simultaneously, the commissioner is required to inform the child that the family member has been notified. When a child, who is suspected of having committed a crime, comes to a police station on her/his own initiative, or was brought to the police station by someone else, a parent or a family member must be notified, unless the minor expressly states that she/he objects to the notification.

45.Notification will not be given when the minor expresses a clear objection. If the minor has been arrested, her/his objection is considered in light of her/his age and level of maturity. The minor’s objection must be specified, reported and filed.

46.The Police Commissioner’s final decision — whether or not to notify the minor’s parents — will be documented visually, vocally or in writing. The Commissioner’s decision must be detailed, and must afford substantial consideration to the minor’s objection, if the minor objects. If the Commissioner decides not to inform the parents, she/he must inform another close relative.

47.In its concluding observation contained in paragraph 29 concerning Israel’s previous periodic report, the Committee recommended that the State party continue to fully incorporate in legislation and practice the principle of the best interests of the child. The above principles demonstrate the assimilation of such considerations. However, under the circumstances below, an authorized officer may summon a minor, who has not been arrested, to undergo an investigation without giving any adult notification thereof if:

-The notification may physically or mentally harm the child, or otherwise impact upon her/his or another person’s wellbeing.

-Obstruction of justice in the event that notification is given, is foreseeable as a result of a family member’s involvement in the suspected crime.

-There is a national security risk.

48.An authorized officer may consider (when issuing an order not to notify a family member) a Group Home Superintendent’s statement. Such statement must disclose a threat against the minor’s physical and/or mental wellbeing. When such an order is issued, the Police have eight hours before they are required to give notification to a family member, or a period until such time as the reason for the non-notification ceases to exist (whichever is the earlier).

49.In cases where notification is postponed, the period of additional postponement shall not exceed six hours (except for cases where genuine danger to the child’s wellbeing or safety exists, or where there is a foreseeable risk of obstruction of justice, or there exist national security risks).

50.When a suspect, who is a minor, is summoned to undergo an investigation that has been agreed upon by her/his parents (or family member) in advance, she/he is entitled to have them present during the investigation and/or to consult with them. This will not apply if the minor objects to the family member’s presence or she/he is placed under arrest. This is slightly different to the situation described above as the parents know about the investigation in advance but are prohibited from participating in the investigation (rather than not being notified).

51.An authorized office may bar a family member from the investigation room in the following circumstances:

-The presence of the family member could cause harm to the minor or impair the investigation.

-The presence of the family member may physically or mentally harm the child or otherwise curtail her/his or another person’s wellbeing; obstruction of justice as a result of the family member’s involvement in the suspected crime is foreseeable; or there is the possibility of a national security risk.

-There is a foreseeable obstruction to the investigation or an obstruction to some other suspect’s investigation and/or an obstruction of a potential arrest. Another reason to ban the presence of family member during an investigation or to prevent consultation with a family member is the potential loss of evidence that may result.

-It will create difficulties for the prevention of other crimes.

-It will create difficulties for the minor’s release.

-It will cause the disclosure of another minor’s private affairs (infringement of her/his right to privacy).

52.A decision to investigate a minor with no parent or close relative present shall be documented. The decision must include the justification therefore, as specified by the officer in charge.

53.If a parent’s or a family member’s presence in the investigation room interrupts or interferes with the investigation in any way, for instance, by threatening the child in a direct or implied manner, the investigator is authorized to remove them from the room. A decision to remove a parent from the room must be in writing.

54.Prior to the investigation of a minor, the investigator shall notify the minor of her/his rights and obligations particularized by law in simple intelligible language, that is compatible with the minor’s age and level of maturity.

55.There is no requirement to appoint an attorney to represent a minor in every case in which a minor is involved, even though the proceedings may infringe the minor’s rights (with her/his parents’ tacit consent or even support). However, Family Matters Courts and Juvenile Courts are authorized to appoint a legal guardian for a minor if she/he is considered to be a “minor in need” under the Youth (Care and Supervision) Law. In such a case the court will appoint a separate defence council to represent the minor.

A minor’s rights in legal proceedings are as follows

56.A minor has a right to a private consultation with a defence attorney and a right to be represented by a defence attorney. The Public Defenders’ (Entitlement of Additional Minors to Representation) Regulations 5758-1998 entitle a minor detainee or a minor involved in legal proceedings to be represented by a public defender (Amendment No. 14).

57.Section 18(a) of the Youth Law empowers a Juvenile Court to appoint counsel for minors in legal proceedings on the basis of the best interest of the child. The court enjoys this power throughout the criminal proceedings, including during the investigation stage. Moreover, the minor is entitled to any right valid under the Public Defenders Law and to have a parent or a family member present.

58.Directive 5765/4(a) (December 2004) focuses on the recognition of suicidal behaviour and the prevention of suicide attempts by children. The Directive details warning behavioural signs and explains available methods of treatment for school personnel.

59.Directive 5763/2(a) (October 2002) determines the means to remove a pupil from a class or from school, and preliminary efforts to be taken in order to prevent such a removal, including the notification of the parents, warnings etc. (Director General of the Ministry of Education).

Mechanisms regulating implementation of the Convention

60.This issue was addressed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this respect since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

The Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child

61.The Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child was addressed in Israel’s previous Report. Amendments to legislation and new bills have been proposed by the Knesset Committee, some of which were formulated by the Committee as a whole and some by individual Knesset members. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services aspire to improve and adjust existing laws so as to integrate the articles of the Convention. Representatives of the National Student and Youth Council, with the collaboration of the Israeli National Council for the Child, drafted various bills; both have also participated actively in the Knesset Committee’s discussions.

62.On 18 December 2001, the Committee held a session regarding the formation of Municipal Committees to promote the rights enshrined in the Convention. The Knesset Committee reviewed the functioning of Municipal Committees in municipalities where such Committees have begun to operate.

63.In other sessions held by the Knesset Committee, the principle of the best interest of the child has been focused upon. This focus has resulted in, for example, the right of a child to have regular contact with her/his grandparents, the right of a child to be raised by her/his family, the right of a child to have contact with her/his parents. Emphasis has been placed on the Convention as a means of preventing the deportation of minors, and as a means of imposing a duty on the State to ensure the provision of certain rights to all children, including, the right to education, the prevention of violence towards children, and the right to a name and identity. The Convention also serves to guarantee that a section of the budget is allocated so as to implement the State’s duties. Special sessions of the Knesset Committee were dedicated to the ratification of the 1999 ILO Convention No. 182 Worst Forms of Child Labour, and to the experience of an Israeli delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, which was sent to discuss the rights of the child and its relevance to children in legal proceedings.

State Comptroller

64.As yet there is no specific mechanism available for regulating the implementation of the Convention. Nevertheless, the State Comptroller’s Office publishes an annual report citing shortcomings in government activities, including violations of children’s rights. For example, the 2007 State Comptroller’s annual report (published in May 2008) reviewed the Ministry of Education’s attempts to address the hooliganism and violence in the school system. The report found that between the years 1999–2006 there were no changes in the frequency of physical, social and sexual violence in educational institutions. During these years, a third of school children were harassed and intimidated on school premises. Moreover, the 2008 annual report also highlighted difficulties in the ability of the Youth Probation Service to fulfil its role in rehabilitating offending youth.

65.The 2007 State Comptroller Report on Local Authorities revealed that the position in schools situated in Ultra-Orthodox and Arab localities is far from satisfactory. Most of these schools do not comply with the Ministry of Education’s regulations regarding infrastructure and maintenance, and some even pose a threat to the health of the pupils or even to their lives.

66.The 2006 State Comptroller Report on Local Authorities illustrated that in the four municipalities examined, there was no programme in place to assist female minors in distress, and assistance was granted to these girls following a significant delay, if at all. Furthermore, according to a 1999 Government Resolution, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services was to publish a plan for the treatment of, and follow-up on, female minors in distress. The 2006 State Comptroller Report indicated that during 2005, approximately 17,000 female minors in distress were located and assisted by the Local Authorities’ social workers.

67.The 2004 State Comptroller Report on Local Authorities examined the issue of privateaccident’s insurance for children within the education system. Under a 1994amendment to theCompulsory Education Law1949-5709(the: “Compulsory Education Law”) the localeducation authority is obligated to insure pupils thatare entitled to free education withinits jurisdiction. The State Comptroller found that in several local authorities,the parental-payment required for the insurance exceeded the maximum stipulatedby the Ministry of Education, and that several populations of pupils do notenjoy the insurance.

The Ombudsman

68.In Israel, the State Comptroller also serves as Ombudsman. He performs this function by way of a special unit within the State Comptroller’s office – the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman investigates complaints against statutory bodies that are subject to audit by the State Comptroller, including Government Ministries, local authorities, state enterprises and institutions, and government corporations, as well as their employees.

69.Complaints relating to the activities of public bodies, which the law does not authorize the Ombudsman to investigate, such as banks, insurance companies and other non-governmental entities that serve the public, are often forwarded to the bodies statutorily charged with their supervision, such as the Supervisor of Banks, the Supervisor of Insurance and the Director of Capital, Insurance and Savings. Thus, the Ombudsman is an effective address for dealing with problems of discrimination within a broad array of governmental and public institutions.

70.For example, in 2007, the Ombudsman investigated a complaint regarding the lack of service available in Russian in the Ministry of Education; and a complaint regarding flawed treatment in exemptions granted from the Compulsory Education Law. This had resulted in a minor’s missing his matriculation exams due to the Ministry’s refusal to open an examinee card for the minor who did not study in a recognized institution. Both complaints were found to be justified.

71.In 2003, the Ombudsman investigated a complaint regarding the refusal of a school to refund payment made for a school-trip, which was paid by the parent prior to the trip, after the child did not participate in the school trip as a result of the security situation. These complaints were found justified and the relevant bodies acted according to the recommendations issued by the Ombudsman.

Reducing discrepancies among groups and geographic areas

72.The efforts to reduce gaps among population groups have continued since the submission of Israel’s initial report. These steps are discussed extensively in the relevant chapters contained hereinafter.

Voluntary organizations that implement and disseminate the convention

73.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this regard since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

Non‑government organizations’ interaction with the government

74.Many voluntary organizations have extensive contact with government agencies. While non‑government organizations are not systematically involved in planning policy, their influence has continued to be felt in recent years, and they often take the initiative in developing services and promoting legislation in the spirit of the Convention, which is aimed at the facilitation of the best interest of the child.

Disseminating the Convention

75.As aforementioned, in the observation contained in paragraph 22(b) of the Committee’s concluding observations, it is encouraged to disseminate the Convention. And thus, the English, Hebrew and Arabic text of the Convention appears on the website of the Ministry of Justice, and in Hebrew and in English on the Ministry of Education website – a popular website for Israeli pupils and students.

Education and the Convention

76.Moreover, the Ministry of Education distributed the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the majority of schools throughout the country. The purpose of this distribution was to ensure that pupils of all ages are familiar with the Convention.

77.The Pupils Rights Law and its Regulations were published in the Director General’s section of the Ministry of Education, and are posted in Hebrew and Arabic announcements in schools once every two years, in accordance with Section 4 of the Pupils Rights Law.

78.Between the years 2000 and 2005, the Ministry of Education distributed a notebook written in Hebrew and Arabic that included a summary of children’s rights as laid down by the Convention. The Ministry also distributed a summary of the Convention to all schools in Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian, Amharic and Spanish. These materials were also published on the Internet.

79.Annual teacher’s training was conducted in 2008 in Oranim College. In 2010, an additional teacher’s seminar will be held in the northern and southern districts for the Muslim, Bedouin and Christian populations.

80.A unique programme designed for blind children was conducted by the Ministry of Education between 2005 and 2008. In this programme the pupils studied the essence of the Convention, in addition to the means available for its implementation. The children implemented the Convention in their lives through the use of communication skills acquired during the programme (radio broadcasting). Thus, the pupils established the foundation for verbal abilities, diction, and intonation. They are now able to express their personal opinion clearly and from different points of view. Another interesting programme involved high school pupils who became familiar with the Convention and their rights by means of joint activities for children in Israel and abroad. The pupils published articles in an international journal, and two of the pupils were sent to the United Nations General Assembly to participate in global discussions on the subject of “A World Fit for Children.”

81.The Unit for Supervision and the Implementation of the Pupils Rights Law in the Ministry of Education, together with the National Parents Organization, is conducting joint seminars for parents concerning how to assimilate children’s rights within the family and at school.

82.According to the head of the Israel Psychologists’ Union, the chief psychologist of the Ministry of Education (MOE) is disseminating the Convention to educational psychologists and SHEFI (Psychological Counseling Services) stations, and encouraging psychologists to assist schools in taking responsibility for respecting and promoting the rights of pupils.

Police officers and police youth experts in the police

83.According to the head of the youth section at police headquarters, the Israeli Police provide guidance and training with respect to child victims of crime, with the intention of increasing the efficiency and sensitivity of the Police in handling youth. Police investigators attend special courses offered by the Police Youth Department in order to qualify as juvenile interrogators. According to Section 3(a) of the internal police regulations (Israel Police, Minors/Youth Department Directives (the: “Police Directives Minors”), only a Police youth expert (an informal educational instructor) or a specially trained police officer may interrogate a minor suspect. Many of the rules governing the Police’s handling of minors are not defined by statute, but may be found in internal police regulations (Israel Police, Minors/Youth Department Directives).

84.The youth interrogators qualification course reflects the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and thus, officers receive information on the distinct laws and procedures available for handling youth and on community services for minors and youth. Among the topics taught is the encouragement of a reciprocal relationship between the youth officer, a social worker and the minor.

85.Officers also attend lectures given by juvenile court judges concerning detailed procedures for investigating a minor. Currently, several changes are being affected. These changes relate to minors who are suspected of having committed sexual offences, the promotion of tolerance for cultural differences, the prevention of crimes, the enhancement of investigation methods and the level of care provided by police officers. Regarding minors who have perpetrated crimes, new guidelines, regulations and laws drafted in the spirit of the Convention have been distributed to police youth experts and field units, and are strictly enforced.

III.Definition of the child

86.The definition of a child was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in the definition since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

Taking legal action: the legal capacity of minors

87.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this area since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

Permission to employ children

88.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this area since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

Marriage

89.The phenomenon of underage marriage still takes place in certain Israeli population groups, including ultra-orthodox Jews originating from Georgia, and Arabs. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2004, 1,360 Arab-Israeli girls, younger than seventeen, were married. Additionally, 44 per cent of Arab women were married before the age of nineteen. In 2005, the rate of marriage for Muslim girls was more than 2.5 times higher than that of Jewish girls. Also in 2005, 30 requests to allow the marriage of minors were submitted to Family Matters Courts – seventeen were approved. During the years 1997–2005, more than half of the 251 requests for the marriage of minors were approved. During the years 2000–2006, 41 complaints were submitted to the Police due to violations of the Marriage Age Law 5710-1950. In half of these cases criminal files were opened. In all other cases it was decided not to prosecute.

Consent to sexual relations

90.Recently, several provisions of the Penal Law were amended to add specific provisions regarding sexual abuse by a therapist. This is discussed in a Chapter VI B.

The compulsory draft, volunteering for military service, and participation in acts of war

91.The State of Israel signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict on 14 Novembe2001, and ratified it on 18 July 2005. In accordance with article 10(2), the Optional Protocol entered into force for Israel on 18 August 2005.

92.The State’s initial report detailing Israel’s implementation of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict was submitted to the Committee in March 2008.

Criminal and tortuous liability

93.These issues were discussed in Israel’s initial report. No changes have occurred in these areas since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

Statute of limitations

94.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this area since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

Revocation of liberty

Detention

95.The Youth Law and the Criminal Procedure Law established restrictions regarding minors in detention. Adults may be detained without a court order for 24 hours, children who are under fourteen years of age may be detained without a court order for only twelve hours; while in special circumstances, the on-duty officer at the police station can order the continued detention of a minor for an additional period not to exceed twelve hours. Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law stipulates that a decision to hold a minor on a Saturday or on a holiday requires the approval of the Youth District Officer.

96.The Amendment allows for a period of extension not to exceed 24 hours in the following circumstances:

-Constitution of a sufficient cause specified in Section 29 of Criminal Procedure (Enforcement Powers Arrest) Law 5756-1996 (the: “Criminal Procedure (Arrests) Law”.

-Where a decision to extend the arrest of a minor in detention could not be made prior to midnight, and therefore the minor could not be brought before a judge due to the termination of working hours. Hence, the minor shall be brought before a judge immediately upon the resumption of working hours. With regard to minors between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, at present the arrangement for such a minor’s detention without a court order is similar to that of an adult they may be detained without a court order for a period of up to 24 hours; in special circumstances, this period may be extended by an additional 24 hours.

97.The Youth Law and the Criminal Procedure (Arrests) Law imposes restrictions pertinent to the detention of minors. According to this law, the period of a minor’s detention prior to indictment is as follows:

98.The Amendment in question reflects a new approach that accords with the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Under Section 17 to the Criminal Procedure (Arrests) Law, a Juvenile Court is authorized to order the detention of a minor for a period that is not to exceed ten days (fifteen days for an adult). A minor who is a suspect may not be detained continuously for a period in excess of twenty days (30 days for an adult). A petition to extend the detention of a minor may be filed only subject to the Attorney General’s approval.

99.Under Section 21 of the Criminal Procedure (Arrests) Law, which addresses the detention of a minor following the filing of an indictment, the court may order that the minor be detained until the termination of proceedings subject to Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law rectifications:

(a)A minor who is under 14 years of age may not be detained until the termination of proceedings against her/him;

(b)A minor may not be detained continuously for a period in excess of twenty days.

100.Section 59 of the Criminal Procedure (Arrests) Law stipulates that an adult may be detained for a maximum period of 75 days if an indictment has not been filed. In the case of a minor, the maximum period is limited to 40 days.

101.A minor that has been accused of a crime may be detained for a maximum period of 45 days, as opposed to the 90 days which an adult who has been accused of a crime may be detained (Section 62 to the Criminal Procedure (Arrests) Law).

102.The amendment further states that when no verdict is reached, a minor is not to be detained for a period in excess of six months (nine months for an adult).

Alternative to detention

103.A closed residence may serve as an alternative to imprisonment. Closed residences, as defined in the Youth Law, serve as an out-of-home-placement or the locus of custody for a minor referred by the Supervisor of Residences. A minor may be placed in a closed residence as a penalty or as a treatment alternative to a penalty. Also, a minor who is under the age of criminal liability, and a minor who is a danger to her/himself and/or others, and who has been declared a minor in need, may be placed in a closed residence. The prohibition against a minor’s leaving a place of residence (on condition of bail) (according to Section 48(a) (9) of the Criminal Procedure (Arrests) Law) is for a maximum period of nine months. Nevertheless, the court may issue an order necessary to extend the condition for an additional period not to exceed 90 days. If a court issued such an order on condition of bail for over sixteen hours a day; the order will be re-examined by the court once every three months during that time.

Separation between minors and adult detainees

104.In its concluding observation contained in paragraph 61 concerning Israel’s previous periodic report, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommends that the system of juvenile justice fully integrates into its legislation and practice the provisions of the Convention. Section 13 of the Youth Law requires a separation to be enforced between minor and adult detainees. This section was amended in 2008 to include more detailed orders regarding the required separation. Amendment No. 14 sets that although a minor is to be held in a separate detention facility for minors or in a separate section of a general detention facility, a female minor can be held in a detention cell together with an adult female detainee. This is subject to the minor’s agreement and the following conditions: holding the minor alone is not in her best interests; holding the minor with an adult detainee is in her best interests (or there is no possibility of holding the minor with another minor) and the holding of the minor with an adult detainee does not risk the physical or mental health of the minor. Such holding is to be approved by a court within 24 hours. The amendment also stipulates that a detained minor who is in the custody of the prison’s authority is entitled to a meeting with a social worker within 24 hours, or as soon as possible after the Sabbath or a holiday ends.

Detention for protective purposes

105.It is permissible to detain a minor for the purpose of self-protection. Section 10(3) of the Youth Law stipulates that “the judge before whom a minor is brought is authorized to order the minor’s detention if this is required to ensure the minor’s personal safety or to remove him from the company of an undesirable individual.” A police officer is authorized to order the detention of a minor on such grounds for twelve hours, until the minor is brought before a judge, and in special circumstances up to 24 hours.

Children in criminal procedure

106.A 2004 Amendment made several changes in this area, including those set out below.

107.The implementation of special procedures allowing children to testify in court, in relation to offences to which the Law applies (Section 2d). In this regard, the child’s testimony will be permitted by the youth investigator subject to certain conditions being met. The investigator may require, for example, that the child testifies via closed circuit television, on one specified date, not on the witness stand, in the judge’s chamber, etc.

108.In the concluding observation contained in paragraph 32 of its concluding observations, the Committee on the Rights of the Child encouraged the continuation and assimilation of the respect for the views of the child. And thus, decisions of the youth investigator and the Court concerning testimony and testimonial measures, will be concluded only after hearing the opinion of the child, if she/he can express her/his own opinion. The child’s opinion will be weighed according to her/his age and her/his level of maturity (Section 2f).

109.Once the youth investigator reaches a decision as to the child’s testimony, whether or not to allow her/him to testify, she/he must, without delay, re-evaluate her/his decision in respect of the admission of the child’s testimony. (Section 2g).

110.The decision of a children’s’ investigator may be re-examined by a senior youth investigator (Section 2h).

111.A youth investigator must provide substantial reasons for her/his decisions (Section 2i).

112.The above 2004 amendment to the Criminal Procedure Revision (Examination of Witnesses) Law 5718-1957 established the rule that a child’s investigation must be conducted with her/his parent’s knowledge, except in certain circumstances. For example; if there is a concern as to any harm to the child’s physical and mental wellbeing, or that the suspect is a family relative and there is a concern of possible harm to the child. Moreover, when there is a substantial difficulty in informing the parent despite reasonable efforts having been taken to do so, and the delay might foil the investigation or the prevention of a crime (Section 4a). In addition, the amended law states that if an investigation without the parent’s knowledge is required, the child may, under specific circumstances, be removed from the place where she/he is located (school, kindergarten, etc.) (Section 4b). The conditions include such requirements as consultation with educational workers who know the child, providing explanations to the child, supplying identification details of the youth investigator to the administrator of the institution in question, etc. An investigator’s decision to investigate a minor without the presence of a parent or a close relative must be documented and be substantially reasoned. However, if a parent or family member is present in the investigation room, but interrupts or interferes in any way such as, by threatening the child in a direct or implied manner, the investigator is authorized to remove the parent from the investigation room. The youth investigator must provide substantial reasons for her/his decisions.

113.A 2006 amendment stated that a child with a mental disability is to be questioned by a special youth investigator in accordance with the Investigation and Testimony Procedures (Suitability to Persons with Mental or Physical Disability) Law 5766-2005.

114.Amendment No. 10 to the Evidence (Protection of Children) Law issued on 12 August 2004, supplements Section 2(f) to the Law. The Amendment stipulates that a youth investigator shall decide whether to allow or exclude the testimony of a minor, as well as determine the conditions under which the testimony is given, according to Section 2(d) of the Law. The Court shall terminate the testimony or condition it, according to Sections 2(c) and 2(e) of the Law, only after a minor, capable of forming an opinion, was given a chance to express her/his opinion regarding her/his testimony and the manner of collecting it. The opinion of the minor shall be given proper consideration according to her/his age and maturity.

115.The 2008 Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law adds the following conditions, with regard to the investigation of a minor:

-The Amendment creates a rule that a child not suspected of committing a crime may not be investigated during night hours, unless the child her/himself filed the complaint or if a Child Protection Officer was convinced that the child is in danger. In such cases, the Amendment stipulates that a Child Protection Officer (Supervisor of the social workers team with regard to children protection) is authorized to conduct the investigation at night (Section 9 of the Youth Law).

-Amendment No. 14 also broadened the definition of parental notification. The officer in charge of a police station to which a minor has been brought must notify one of the minor’s parents.

-Children are entitled to a consultation with a parent prior to their investigation as well as to have a parent or a close relative present during the investigation. There is also an obligation to inform the minor of her/his right to consult with an attorney, to have legal representation, and the right to have a parent or other family member present during an investigation.

116.Recently, the Tel-Aviv District Court determined that visual documentation of a suspect’s investigation can be published following a court decision allowing such publication, even if the proceedings are still pending. However, the publication may not include reference to the testimony of witnesses (other than witnesses who are police officers), and shall not include any identifying details regarding a minor involved directly or indirectly in the case (Cr. C. 40247/07 The Israeli News Company Inc. v. The State of Israel (25.12. 2008)).

Legal representation without parental consent

117.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. On 27 June 1997, the former Minister of Justice appointed the Rotlevi Committee to examine fundamental principles concerning children and the law (see above) and accordingly, in 2003, six reports prepared by Sub-Committees were submitted to the Minister of Justice, one of which addressed the increase in child representation in Civil Proceedings.

Representation of children in civil proceedings

118.The separate representation of children in civil proceedings is sometimes essential to ensure the maintenance of appropriate legal procedure. The Supreme Court, as well as the courts of lower instance, recognize the significance of this trend and have therefore promoted its development in recent years. The Sub-Committee on the Representation of Children in Civil Proceedings raised this issue by laying the foundations for specific laws drafted in the spirit of the Convention. Hence the Committee formulated a number of recommendations concerning children’s representation.

119.The Sub-Committee made use of the Convention’s principles, as well as adopting and adapting additional models from different countries around the world. The purpose of the recommendations is not to “attach” an attorney to every child, but rather to assist children who experience unusual difficulties resulting from judicial matters. The Committee’s recommendations relate to representation of minors up to eighteen years of age and include civil courts and courts of appeal. The Sub-Committee established the following recommendations:

A child’s right to representation

120.Family legal disputes involve both parties’ interests. However the child’s interests may go unnoticed and unaddressed. Such circumstances require the courts to intervene and ensure that the child’s opinion is heard. Under optimal circumstances, the child ought to be represented by her/his parents. However, when the best interests of the child are impaired, it is the State’s duty to provide separate legal representation to act on behalf of the child.

Court discretion

121.The Sub-Committee formulated principles aimed at assisting the court in deciding whether to appoint a representative on behalf of the child. Below are two examples where there is an obligation to appoint legal representation on behalf of the child:

(a)Parents are unable to represent their child’s best interest, either because of a conflict of interest or because of a lack of an individual ability. In such a case, legal representation will be appointed to represent the child, merely for the purpose of court proceedings;

(b)A child above twelve years of age that is capable of expressing her/his will articulately, will be appointed legal representation to enable the conveyance of her/his wishes to the court.

122.The degree of frequency in representation alters in accordance with the child’s level of maturity and personal skills. The Sub-Committee distinguishes between children below and above the age of twelve:

123.When a child is below twelve years of age, the representation is similar to a legal guardian appointed by law. Child representation endorses the welfare principle, thereby the child’s wishes and desires gain more credibility as she/he grows older.

124.When a child is above twelve years of age, legal representation is an expression of the minor’s wishes and desires.

125.The Sub-Committee recommends that the court’s discretion concerning children between ages ten to fourteen remain in the hands of the court. Notwithstanding, the minor’s level of maturity and legal capacity must be considered. Such capacity is expressed in the child’s ability to understand matters at hand.

126.The Sub-Committee also recommended acknowledging the legal representation of children as a (separate) complicated interdisciplinary legal field. This area is in need of professionals in: (1) Child care (2) child law (3) child development.

127.The Sub-Committee recommended that the court compile and maintain a list of professionals in the field of child legal care and appoint professionals solely from that list. Moreover, the Sub-Committee suggested adopting the interdisciplinary model of professional assistance – that is a counsellor (psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker) that works together with the legal representative in order to achieve the best results for children involved in legal affairs.

128.The Sub-Committee recommended that minor’s representatives be subject to additional legal ethical regulations that include, among other things, directives regarding the transmission of information to minors, confidentiality, and immunity towards minors in legal proceedings. Moreover, the Sub-Committee recommended supervising the continuity and consistency of a minor’s representation, assurance of a minor’s participation in legal proceedings and imposing an obligation to act in good faith in reaching agreements between the parties involved.

129.The person who acts as guardian or as the child’s legal representative is subject to a full fiduciary duty. As such, the person in charge of the child’s legal matters is obliged to treat her/him with respect and give significant weight to her/his wishes.

130.The Sub-Committee recommended setting up a legal representation unit for the sake of children and youth. As aforementioned, the State is responsible for the fulfillment and finances of a child’s right to legal representation and therefore the Minister of Justice should form such a unit.

131.The recommendations determine that the child, her/his parents, the representative of the State, the State attorney’s Office and the social workers from the Family Matters Courts (Assistance Unit) are allowed to approach the court in order to ask for the appointment of legal representation for a child.

132.Legal instructions and case law also emphasize the right of the child to be heard when there is a conflict between her/him and her/his parents. Under the Legal Capacity Law, parents or guardians are appointed by the court to represent minors in legal proceedings; they can however, appoint someone else to represent their child. The Law authorizes the court to appoint a representative on behalf of the child (a legal guardian or an attorney).

133.Generating a Public Defense Attorney representation makes it possible for additional minors to be represented in criminal proceedings. The Public Defenders Law provides funding for complete child representation.

Military Court proceedings

134.Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law effected several other changes, including to Military Court proceedings.

135.Section 45 of the Youth Law determines that Youth Law Regulations shall not apply to Military Courts’ proceedings and the Military Justice Law 5715-1955 (the: “Military Justice Law”). However, Section 45(a) of the Youth Law establishes that a sixteen-year old minor is indictable in a Military Justice Court (consistent with the Protection (Urgency) Directives 1945). Amendment No. 14 stipulates that Juvenile Courts which arraign recruited minors above sixteen years of age shall be considered as Military Courts. Hence, Military Judges who are trained and qualified to engage in child and youth matters as defined in Section 2(a) of the Youth law: “Proceedings Regarding Juvenility” are appointed.

Adoption

136.According to the Adoption of Children Law it is possible to adopt a child who has not yet reached the age of eighteen. It is not possible, however, to adopt a foetus before it is born or an adult above the age of 21. According to Section 7 of the Adoption Law, the court will not grant an adoption unless it is convinced that a child above the age of nine — or who has not yet reached the age of nine but is capable of understanding the issue — stated that she/he agrees to the adoption by the specific adopter(s).

137.The court must listen to the opinion of a much younger child who is not an infant in each adoption case. On the other hand, there are cases where the court may issue an adoption order without revealing the fact of the adoption to the adoptee. There are two conditions that apply in this regard:

-The adoptee does not know that the adopter is not her/his parent

-All signs indicate that the adoptee desires the continuation of the relationship with the adopter

138.The best interest of the adoptee requires not apprising her/him of the adoption. In lieu of hearing the adoptee in person, the court may be convinced of the adoptee’s wishes in some other manner, for example, through a Child Protection Officer.

139.Additional changes regarding the Adoption Law shall be delineated below.

Changing one’s name

140.As a rule, under the Names Law 5716-1956 (the: “Names Law”), the names of minors are chosen and may be changed without their consent. However, in certain cases the court and the Minister of Interior are authorized to intervene in the decision of parents or guardians in this matter.

The right to a name

141.On 18 February 2008, an amendment to the Names Law was issued, addressing the determination of the father’s name (detailed in a minor’s State-issued identity card) if his identity is unknown. For a child under the age of sixteen, the mother may either determine the unknown father’s first name or make no determination at all. However, if the child is sixteen years or older and the father’s name is unknown or undetermined, the child may either determine the name of the father or leave it undetermined. Finally, the amendment stipulates that if the father’s name was determined by the mother, a person over the age of sixteen has the right to amend it.

Legal capacity to inherit and transfer property

Legal capacity to inherit

142.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No changes have occurred since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

Consumption of alcohol

143.Section 193 A (a) to the Penal Law stipulates that a person encouraging or persuading a minor under the age of eighteen to consume alcohol is subject to three months’ imprisonment.

144.Amendment No. 79 to the Penal Law issued on 9 July 2004 supplements Section 193A by adding Section 193A (a1): “Any person who sells alcohol to minors under the age of eighteen is subject to six months’ imprisonment.”

Driving

145.A minor’s receipt of a driver’s license depends upon the type of vehicle. From the age of sixteen, a minor may obtain a driver’s license for a tractor or a motorcycle with an engine up to 125 cc. If the intended driver has not yet reached the age of 17, she/he must obtain the written consent of her/his parents or guardian to receive the driver’s license.

146.At the age of seventeen, a minor may receive a driver’s license for most types of private and commercial vehicles, if the vehicle’s total weight does not exceed 3.5 tons and its maximum number of passengers does not exceed eight.

147.A driver is referred to as a “new driver” for the first two years after receiving her/his license. During the first three months after receiving her/his license, the minor must drive while being accompanied by an experienced driver. Subsequent to these three months, and until the minor is 21; she/he may not drive more than two passengers unless she/he is accompanied by an experienced driver. As of the age 21, an individual may receive a license to drive a bus, taxi or a rescue vehicle.

148.The Transportation Regulations 5721-1961 (the: “Transportation Regulations”) allow a minor to start taking driving lessons before reaching the age at which she/he is permitted to receive a license. Thus, it is possible to begin learning to drive a motorcycle (up to 125 cc) at age sixteen, a tractor and most types of private vehicles at age sixteen and a half.

149.At age seventeen a minor may file a request to receive an apprentice pilot’s license.

A right to a dignified death

150.On 6 December 2005, the Knesset enacted the Terminally Ill Patient Law 5766-2005 (the: “Terminally Ill Law”) in response to the medical-ethical dilemma presented by the treatment of terminally-ill patients. The Law is based on the recommendations of a public committee appointed by the Minister of Health in 2000. See further details below.

IV.General principles

A.Article -6- The right to life, survival and development

The right to life and physical development

151.Several amendments were proposed by the Rotlevi Committee concerning the scope and implementation of theYouth Law. The Committee advocated several mechanisms by which to guarantee the rights of minors — physically, mentally, socially and educationally — in any situation in which a minor is deprived of her/his liberty. These rights include the provision of essential necessities (such as clothing, food, medical treatment, and hygiene), psychotherapy, psychiatric treatment, protection from violence, aspects of leisure, physical activity and the promotion of family ties.

152.Another area that raises concern regarding the welfare of children and youth is that of accidents, including accidents in and around the home environment, on the road, at school or during social activities. Approximately one‑quarter of children’s deaths are caused by accidents. In recent years, efforts have been made to reduce car accidents through campaigns launched in the media and at schools (including the participation of children in safety patrols). Programmes to promote safe behaviour and encourage compliance with safety measures have been instituted (examples of these programmes will be provided throughout this report).

Emotional, cognitive and social development and the acquisition of skills

153.The total national expenditure on education in the year 2007, amounted to 56.2 billion NIS ($15.1 billion), comprising 8.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. The total national expenditure on education (in constant prices) in the year 2007 increased by 5 per cent following a 2 per cent increase in 2006 and in 2005 respectively.

154.In November of 2003, the Government of Israel established a public committee headed by Professor Hillel Schmidt to examine the state of children and youth at risk in Israel from birth to age eighteen. In 2008, the Israeli Government launched a national early childhood initiative called New Beginnings through Ashalim – The Association for Planning and Development of Services for Children and Youth at Risk and their Families.

155.In Israel, 80,000 children from birth to age six are defined as being “at-risk,” representing 8 per cent of Israel’s total child population. These children suffer from inadequate parental care, severe learning difficulties and poverty. In many poverty-stricken localities the New Beginnings Association offers programmes including the improvement of services within existing day-care centres, home visits by professionals, parent-child programmes, empowerment programmes for fathers, nutrition and health promotion, identification of developmental delays and accident prevention.

156.According to data reported by welfare authorities, 40,000 children are victims of abuse, exploitation and neglect each year and are eligible for treatment. Out of the children who were assessed by child investigators in 2007, many were classified as victims of abuse committed by family members (56.1 per cent), and nearly one third of those analyzed were sexually abused (31 per cent).

157.New medicines have been introduced as part of Israel’s Health Funds and are now included in the array of medicines available to insured individuals. Some of these medications are specific to children and assist in child care.

The right to life, survival and development of children with disabilities

General

158.In 2007, 293,000 disabled or chronically ill children resided in Israel, amounting to 12.8 per cent of the total population of children in the country. Approximately 176,000 children (out of the 293,000) are disabled or suffer from a chronic illness. Of these, 7.7 per cent suffer from disabilities that impinge upon their daily functioning for a period of at least a year.

159.The percentage of children who suffer from at least one disability among the Bedouin population (in the southern Negev area) stands at 9.1 per cent, at 8.3 among the total population of Arab children, and at 7.6 per cent among Jewish children.

160.Between the years 2001–2005 there was a decrease in the percentage of children with disabilities who were either sexually assaulted or were victims of family violence (from 11.2 per cent to 9 per cent).

161.In comparison with western countries, Israel has a relatively high rate of children born at a very low weight. The rate of children born with low birth weights increased from 15.8 per cent (on average) between 1995 and 1998, and 18 per cent in 2005.

162.Approximately 25 per cent of children with disabilities live with two unemployed parents, who in many cases depend on an income support pension. Among the Bedouin population, 50 per cent of the children with disabilities’ fathers are unemployed.

Sexual and family violence

163.The percentage of children with disabilities who were sexually molested, assaulted or were the victim of family violence and were questioned by a special child investigator (9 per cent), is higher than the rate in the total population of children in Israel (7.5 per cent).

Education

164.In Israel there are approximately 46,000 pupils in the Special Education System; which includes kindergartens for disabled children, schools for disabled children, and classrooms in regular schools which are allocated to disabled children. Between the years 2002–2005 the rate of disabled pupils and classrooms assigned to disabled children in regular schools grew by 16 per cent. In the same period, the number of kindergartens for disabled children grew by 26 per cent. In 2005, approximately 72,164 children with disabilities were incorporated into the regular education system.

165.Of the children who are schooled in the Special Education System, the number of children with learning difficulties amounts to 38 per cent of the total number of children with disabilities. Most of the children in this group study in classrooms in regular schools which are earmarked for children with disabilities. Children with mental disabilities constitute a significant group in the Special Education System – comprising roughly 20 per cent of the total population of children in the system.

166.As mentioned above, the Special Education Law 5758-1998 (The “Special Education Law”) was amended in 2002 and a chapter devoted to children with disabilities was added. In concluding observation No. 40 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee recommended that the State party continue to strengthen its efforts to ensure the needs of children with disabilities meet the necessary services. The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that the same level of services granted to children in regular schools is afforded to children with disabilities. Moreover, the amendment obligates the Placement Committee to favour the placement of a child with disabilities in a regular educational facility rather than in a special facility. Among the purposes of the amendment is the inclusion of children with disabilities within the regular education system while gradually enlarging the budget allocated for this purpose. Eligibility is determined by a Placement Committee composed of a representative of the local school system (the chairman), two Ministry of Education supervisors, an educational psychologist, a paediatrician, a social worker, and a representative of the national special education parents’ committee. The Placement Committee must hear the child’s parents or representative before making a decision; it may also hear directly from the child. Prior to the Amendment 2002, children with non-physical disabilities who required care beyond age six (when their eligibility for care under the National Health Insurance Law ends) could receive care through the special education system. These children previously received assistance by the “reinforcement basket”, which only partially covered their needs. This Amendment meets their needs and compares services of all children.

Data on children and institutions

167.As of 2009, 57,943 children with disabilities were placed in various educational facilities. This number represents 3.2 per cent of the total number of pupils (approximately 1.8 million) in Israel. 9,677 attend special education kindergartens, 27,592 study in special education classrooms within regular schools and 20,674 attend special education schools.

168.There are approximately 75,000 children with disabilities included in the regular educational system. Approximately 56,000 (75 per cent) are Jewish and the remaining 19,000 (25 per cent) are members of Israel’s Arab population. The Special Education Law applies to approximately 133,000 children, 103,000 of which study in regular education institutions (in regular classrooms or in special education classrooms) and 30,000 study in institutions designated for children with disabilities.

Table 1

Number of pupils and classrooms in special education institutions, 2009

Population groups

Classrooms

Pupils

Jewish

5 077

45 145

Arab

1 000

9 416

Druze

161

1 343

Bedouin

215

2 039

Total

6 453

57 943

Source: The Ministry of Education 2009.

169.The Dorner Committee (named after Justice Dalia Dorner – chairman of the Committee for the Examination of Special Education in Israel) was appointed by the Minister of Education in September 2007. The Committee submitted its recommendations to the Government in January 2009.

170.The Committee examined the Israeli school system for children with disabilities. The Committee recommended implementing a model based on “Parental Choice” which gives the parents the choice as to whether or not the child should attend a regular school or a special education school The Committee also recommended the adjusting of the allocation of funding according to the principle that “funding follows the child”. This principle would help to insure that the needs of every child are met and would also help to prepare future teachers and assistants on how to work with children with disabilities. The Committee recommended the establishment of more schools and kindergartens for children with disabilities alongside the existing regular educational institutions.

171.The Committee also highlighted problems resulting from the distinction drawn between children with disabilities who are included in the regular education system and those who receive special education services. The Committee recommended greater parental involvement in the education process Accordingly the Committee suggested that parents choose their child’s education structure that is whether their child will be educated in a special or regular educational framework. This model exists in other countries including several countries that are members of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).

172.The Committee concluded that the current method of budgeting is too rigid and does not always allow for the appropriate treatment of children with disabilities. Hence the Committee recommended that the budget be determined based on a model called the “funding according to needs – system “which stipulates that the budget is determined by the individual characteristics of every child with disabilities. The Committee also recommended that the placement of the child and degree of assistance offered to the child as well as the characterization of the child should be effected based on the child’s individual functioning abilities rather than the type of disability from which the child suffers.

173.In order to smooth the implementation of the above recommendations the Committee suggested the following approach: establishing a committee to examine each disabled child’s entitlement to special education services. Parents ought to be encouraged to participate in all stages of the various procedures and the case of every child with disabilities ought to be examined once every three years. Based on its recommendations the Committee formulated an amendment to the Special Education Law.

174.In accordance with the above mentioned concluding observation No. 40 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2002 the Knesset approved the amendment to the Special Education Law. Following the amendment a pupil with disabilities who is included in the regular school system is entitled to receive supplementary tutoring and studies as well as access to special services such as psychology services aid services medical services or any other services that the Minister of Education after consulting with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services establishes in a Directive (The Special Education Law (Amendment No. 7)).

Personal assistance

175.Moreover the Safe Transportation for Children and Infants with Disabilities Law 5755-1994 (the: “Transportation for Children Law”) has also been amended several times: in 2002, 2005 and 2008. According to this law a child with disabilities is entitled to transportation from her/his place of residence or a place nearby to an educational institution in accordance with her/his needs and the type of disability which the child has ((Section 2(a)).

176.An infant with a disability is entitled to transportation to a rehabilitation day-care centre and to be accompanied by one adult in addition to the driver (Section 2(a1)). The relevant local authority is responsible for providing transportation during the school year and school hours respectively (Section 3(a)). The local authority must employ a safe vehicle as determined by the Regulations of the Minister of Transportation unless there are less than five children or infants transferred at a time. Such transportation is available if sitting or lying in the vehicle does not harm the health or safety of the children and infants respectively (Section 4).

177.The Committee recommended that the Ministry of Education provide personal assistant services for children with disabilities The Committee recommended that the Ministry of Education periodically reassess its eligibility policy for personal assistance. The Committee recommended that these services be expanded.

178.In order to fully utilize the financial resources at the disposal of the Ministry of Education teachers from the regular education system must be educated and trained to work with children with disabilities who are included in regular education institutions.

179.The Committee recommended that the Ministry of Education instruct The National Insurance Institute (NII) to participate in the financing of any shortage of equipment in special education institutions. To this end the Committee recommended that the Ministry of Education set up financial funds for the purchase of the equipment required.

180.Finally the Committee recommended that the Ministry of Education advocate the establishment of schools and kindergartens for special education near the regular education institutions. In this regard the Planning and Construction Committees shall submit annual reports specifying the special education schools and kindergartens to be constructed by the local authorities.

181.In addition to the above the Rights of Pupils with Learning Disabilities in Secondary Education Facilities Law 5768-2008 was recently enacted. This law affirms the rights of pupils with learning disabilities to adjustments in the criteria for admission to secondary education facilities (academic technological rabbinical or professional) as well as in the exams and other assignments that they are required to sit and submit throughout school years.

182.Moreover modifications of matriculation exams for children with Learning Disabilities were approved. In 2007 62 912 out of 281 511 pupils (22.3 per cent) requested modifications to their matriculation exams due to learning disabilities. The majority of the applications were approved. Among the Arab population 3 207 of the 46 579 pupils (6.9 per cent) requested that adjustments be made and these requests were approved. Among the Druze population 246 of the 5 689 pupils (4.3 per cent) requested that adjustments be made and their requests were approved.

Case law

183.In a recent case the Tel-Aviv District Court residing as an Administrative Court addressed the scope of the State’s obligation to provide free education to children with disabilities. The petitioners contested an internal Directive of the Ministry of Education according to which commencing in the 2007/8 school year the supervisors of special education schools could authorize reinforcement assistants for special education classes; but could not authorize personal assistants for the children. The petitioners claimed that the Directive violates the rights of a child with a disability to free education as established by the Special Education Law.

184.The Court determined that the State has a substantial obligation under the Special Education Law to provide free education for children with disabilities and cannot release itself from this obligation once a child is placed in the special education system. A Directive that negates the ability of an individual or a group of individuals such as persons with disabilities to benefit from personal assistance impinges their fundamental right to education and therefore violates the State’s obligation. The Court determined that it is essential that the Ministry’s policy take individual circumstances into consideration as a strict framework of rules which does not allow for deviation in the event of exceptional cases arising may constitute a breach of the fundamental right of a child to education and as such would be invalid. The Court further held that the Ministry of Education’s Directive prohibiting the authorization of personal assistants in the special education system is void and had to be reworded so as to allow for the inclusion of personal assistants for pupils in exceptional circumstances (Ad.P 1214/08 Orel (minor) et. al. v. The Ministry of Education et. al. (07.09.2008)).

Special education in the minority populations

185.Children with disabilities are absent from school for longer periods of time during the school year than children without disabilities. Approximately 25 per cent of disabled children were absent four to seven days of school in the first three months of the school year 19 per cent were absent seven days of school in the first three months of the school year and a further 14 per cent were absent from between fourteen days to the entire first three months of schooling.

Health care

186.Approximately 18 per cent of children admitted to general hospitals with a stay of 21 days or more were hospitalized in psychiatric and rehabilitations wards. In 2004 756 children were hospitalized for psychiatric reasons.

187.According to a recent Amendment to the National Health Insurance Law 5754-1994 Amendment 43 (the: “National Health Insurance Law”) dated 5 November 2008 children with Autistic disorders shall receive 3 hours of paramedic treatment (physiotherapy speech therapy and occupational therapy). These treatments require a minimum co-payment of 23 NIS ($6) per session. The Amendment was gradually implemented as of January 2009.

188.The National Health Insurance (Children with Disabilities) Directives 5770-2010 (the: “National Health Insurance (Children with Disabilities) Directives”) enlarged the scope of eligibility for a disability pension of disabled children. The increase in the scope of eligibility was followed by the recommendations of 2009 Ornoy Committee (named after Professor Ornoy – Chairman of the Committee for the Examination of the Criterions for Disability Pension of Disabled Children). The Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services appointed the Committee that determined the following: children dependant on others due to a mental or a physical disability will be eligible for additional pension concerning their education. Such pension is intended for school assistance studies arrangements and exams accommodation adapted to their disability.

Case law

189.In July 2009 the High Court of Justice held that The National Insurance Institute was required to recognize all children who fall on the autistic spectrum that is who have diverse autistic disabilities (including PDD NOS and Asperser’s Syndrome) as children entitled to full disability pensions in accordance with The National Insurance Institute (Subsistence Allowance Studying Assistance and Arrangements for Disabled Child) Regulations 5758-1998. The petition was submitted in 2006 subsequent to the NII’s decision to cease payments of pensions to autistic children. The NII claimed that the payment of the pension was dependent on the child’s level of functioning. The ruling allows parents of autistic children to finance the expensive treatments that children who fall on the autistic spectrum require. The Court also held that essential services such as rehabilitation day care and the like will continue to be provided by the State (H.C.J 7879/06 “ALUT” The Israeli Society for Autistic Children v. The National Insurance Institute of Israel (19.7.2009).

190.Children with disabilities receive various services from the Social Welfare Department including family guidance education psychosocial aid and para-medical treatments. There is also an allowance granted by the NII for disabled children although only 12 per cent of the children with disabilities are entitled to it. Approximately 1 000 children are entitled to walking aids orthopaedic shoes or limb prosthesis funded by the Ministry of Health. In 2008 the number of families receiving child allowances increased by 1.4 per cent following a similar increase in 2007. In 2008 (monthly average) child allowances were paid to approximately 2.4 million children from 994 800 families.

B.Article 2 – Non-discrimination and equal opportunity

191.Non-discrimination is a central principle of Israeli legislation. Equality among population groups is promised in the State’s Declaration of Independence and in various pieces of legislation. The provision of equal opportunity for all citizens has guided social policy since the establishment of the State.

192.For the last two decades two groups of immigrants with radically different social and cultural characteristics came to Israel: immigrants from the former Soviet Union and immigrants from Ethiopia. Immigrant children and youth face major difficulties and in general experience higher rates of dropping out of school and of social deviance. The educational gap is particularly significant for Ethiopian immigrants and for certain groups of immigrants from the southern parts of the former Soviet Union.

193.In recent years concern regarding the quality of the integration of immigrant children into the school system has led to a range of initiatives taken to promote their educational and social integration (see details below).

194.The absorption of Ethiopian immigrant children presents a particular challenge given the dramatic cultural transition and their families’ socio-economic status. There is also a problem of demographic composition and their parents’ fairly low level of education. Policies have been developed to promote equal opportunity for these children and to support their absorption into the school system.

195.Nevertheless a certain percentage of them have scholastic difficulties and do not regularly attend school. The rate of school attendance and of eligibility for matriculation certificates among Ethiopian youth are low compared to the general population.

196.In May 2009 the Israel National Council for the Child applied to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services (as a final resort before filing a petition with the High Court of Justice) for equal medical treatment and social services for all children in Israel. In the request the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services was asked to issue an order granting equal services in the fields of medical care general assistance and social services for children who have no legal status in Israel.

Differences between Jewish and Arab children

197.Gaps between the Arab and Jewish population with respect to child development services have considerably decreased in recent years. Eight child development centres which provide health services have been opened in close proximity to Arab populations in addition to the opening of the development institute located at the French Hospital in Nazareth. Recent years have witnessed an increase in the establishment of Child Development Centers in majority Arab areas.

198.Currently there are 34 child development institutes and 65 units that are recognized by the Health Division of the Israeli Ministry of Health. These units primarily serve children who suffer from arrested development difficulties. In majority Arab areas there are six units that serve children with developmental difficulties and one development institute. The services provided at these facilities include access to preventive medical care tracking delays in development diagnostic services and support services (such as psychological and counselling services). This indicates significant progress in medical and therapeutic services for disabled Arab children and Arab children who suffer from arrested development.

Children of foreign workers

199.In 2007 approximately 1 000 children of foreign workers lived in Israel. According to Directive No. 5760/10(a) dated June 2000 of the Director General of the Ministry of Education the Compulsory Education Law applies to all children living in Israel regardless of their status in the Population Registry.

200.Since the submission of Israel’s initial report there has been progress in the legal status of foreign worker’s children. Government resolution No. 3807 dated 26 June 2005 was amended by Government resolution No. 156 dated 18 June 2006 and states the following:

“Upon request the Minister of Interior is entitled to grant permanent residency status to children of illegal immigrants who have been part of the Israeli society and culture if they fulfil the following conditions:

(a)The child has lived in Israel for at least six years (as of the date of the Resolution) and entered Israel prior to the age of fourteen. A short visit abroad will not be viewed as an interruption of this time period;

(b)Prior to the child’s entry or birth the parents must have entered Israel legally and with an entry permit in accordance with the Entry into Israel Law 5712-1952 (the: “Entry into Israel Law”);

(c)The child speaks the Hebrew language;

(d)The child is in first grade or above or has completed her/his studies;

(e)Those filing the request will be required to submit documentation or participate in hearings in order to prove that they meet the abovementioned criteria.

201.The Minister can grant temporary residency status in Israel to the parents and the siblings of the child as long as they have lived in the same household from the date of the child’s entry into Israel or birth in Israel and are in Israel as of the date of this Resolution. If there is no reason for objection the temporary residency status will be renewed until the child reaches the age of 21. At that point the parents and the siblings will be entitled to file a request for permanent residency status.

202.As of 1 June 2009 approximately 862 requests have been filed of which 436 were accepted 424 were rejected and 2 were still pending. In the case of 424 rejected requests 354 appeals were filed to the committee of appeals. On review 131 applications were accepted by the Ministry of Interior and 219 were rejected. Of the rejected appeals 31 were referred to the committee that reviews humanitarian issues and 4 appeals are currently under review. In total 567 files were accepted and 291 were rejected.

203.As of June 2009 there are 1 431 children of foreign workers who study in schools and kindergartens. Among them are 956 schoolchildren and 475 are kindergarten children.

Table 2

Distribution of children of foreign workers by grades 2009

Grade

Elementary school

Junior high school

High school

Total

Kindergarten

-

-

475

1

150

-

-

150

2

104

-

-

104

3

85

-

-

85

4

78

-

-

78

5

70

-

-

70

6

60

-

-

60

7

19

34

-

53

8

17

30

-

47

9

2

28

23

53

10

-

-

92

92

11

-

-

115

115

12

-

-

47

47

13

-

-

2

2

Total

585

92

279

1 431

Source: Ministry of Education 2009.

C.Article 3 – The best interest of the child

The best interest of the child as a guiding principle

Preserving the best interest of the child

Case law

204.The District Court determined that if child support payments impose a heavy burden, a father is entitled to request a reduction in payments, provided that the reason for the reduction accords with one of the causes listed by the law as sufficient cause. However, the father can only seek to enforce an indemnification agreement when his former wife can refund him without causing harm to the welfare of the child after she/he reaches the age of eighteen, or when his former wife has financial prosperity and if there is no conflict with the best interest of the child. (F.M.A 785/05 Anonymous v. Anonymous et. al. (03.01.2006)).

205.In a separate case, the Supreme Court accepted an appeal against a decision of the Family Matters Court which determined that a claim for child support should be regarded as a substantial claim, given that the children are not bound by the amount agreed to by their parents during their divorce. The appeal was submitted by a mother on behalf of two minors regarding their child support payments. The father did not oppose the change, but emphasized that from his viewpoint, the claim was essentially for a change of child support payments that had already been ruled upon. It is critical to understand the difference in the parents’ positions is since a substantial claim requires the Court to examine the needs of the minor(s) before it and then set the amount of child support accordingly. On the other hand, a claim for the alteration of child support payments means that the applicant must prove a change of circumstances which justify the alteration. (F.M.A 7916/03 Anonymous et. al. v. Anonymous (28.02.05)).

Preserving the best interest of the child in child welfare proceedings

206.The Supreme Court, residing as the High Court of Justice, was asked to revoke a decision reached by the Sharia (the Muslim Court System) regarding guardianship of three children, aged 7, 8t and a half, and 10. The Sharia Court and the Sharia Court of Appeals both granted the father of the children with guardianship, without examining evidence regarding their best interests or questioning the children themselves. Moreover, the Courts’ decisions violated the relevant laws, in particular the Legal Capacity Law and the Equal Rights for Women Law 5711-1951, which stipulate that guardianship is to be determined according to the best interests of the children and which apply to all courts, including those part of the religious court system. Therefore, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the applicant, revoked the decision and remanded the case to the Sharia Court so that evidence from social workers regarding the best interests of the children could be considered. (HCJ 1129/06 Anonymous et. al. v. The Shari’a’ Court of Appeals et. al. (05.06.2006)).

207.In another case, the Supreme Court determined that the judgment reached by the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court and affirmed by the High Rabbinical Court should be annulled. The Supreme Court determined that the rabbinical judges did not consider the best interest of the child when considering the father’s request to be awarded custody over the child. The family’s place of residence was in the United States and the child remained there with his mother following his parents’ separation and divorce proceedings, which were held before the courts abroad. Those courts awarded the father supervised visitation rights with the child. However, since the father opposed the requirement that his visits be supervised, he refused to visit his child. Subsequently, the father moved to Israel and upon learning this, the mother petitioned the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court for a “Get” (Jewish divorce document). The father, simultaneously, petitioned for custody. The Jerusalem Rabbinical Court determined that the custody issue should l be resolved after the finalization of the divorce, by agreement of the parties. The Jerusalem Rabbinical Court, after granting the divorce between the couple, awarded the father custody. The High Rabbinical Court affirmed the lower court’s decision. The decision was reached without considering the child’s best interest; and since the courts in the United States had already awarded custody to the mother, the Supreme Court determined that the courts in Israel were ‘Forum Non Convenient’ according to private international law applicable in Israeli courts, including the rabbinical courts, and that therefore custody should remain with the mother, and the judgments of the High Rabbinic Court should be annulled. (H.C.J 1073/05 Anonymous et. al. v. The High Rabbinical Court et. al. (25.06. 2008)).

Preserving the best interests of the child in out-of-home care

208.In Israel there are approximately 70,000 children and youth (3 per cent of all children) living separately from their families. For the most part the children are scattered among government-supervised facilities. 55,000 children (ages fourteen to eighteen) attend boarding schools. In most cases the decision to leave home is made by the children themselves or their families. Far fewer children and youth (approximately 8,500) have been placed outside their homes by Child and Family Services. 6,500 children were placed in boarding schools and the remaining 1,950, were placed in foster families.

209.Some children were placed in facilities operated by the Youth Protection Authority (a government agency of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services that is responsible for supervising correctional facilities), which is responsible for the placement of delinquent and near delinquent youth; while others were admitted to psychiatric hospitals, and certain disabled children were removed from their homes by Social Welfare Departments.

210.Another issue concerning children in out-of-home frameworks is their relationship with their parents. The welfare system is aware of the importance of maintaining a relationship between parents and their children, and a special programme has been designed for this purpose. A committee of experts that established standards for maintaining the relationship between boarding school pupils and their parents recommended that schools regularly report to parents on their child’s status, set times for telephone calls between parent and child, pre-arrange vacation dates, and host at least one event per year to which parents are invited. The Youth Protection Authority has also set guidelines and methods for including parents in the care of their child and reinforcing their relationship with their child. Such recommendations are already in effect.

Preserving the best interests of the child in immigration matters

211.On 2 October 2008 the Supreme Court overturned a decision reached by the District Court preventing the immigration of a seven year-old minor to Germany with his German mother, and determined that they may temporarily emigrate to Germany despite the objection of the Israeli father. The Court stipulated that the leading principle in the decision making process regarding custody and residency of children, as in any other case concerned with the relationship between parents and their children is the best interest of the child. This principle obligates parents and Courts alike, and is an individual and independent guiding principle in determining custody and residency issues.

212.In situations of parental separation, the Court must determine what is the lesser of two evils with regard to the minor. The Court is obligated to find an arrangement which will be a stable solution – awarding custody to the parent deemed to be fitter, while maintaining, as much as possible, the relationship between the child and the second parent, especially when the minor emigrates from Israel.

213.In the case in question, the Court imposed several restrictions on the emigration, including the continuation of the minor’s education in a Jewish school, and at least four annual visits of a minimum of seven days each by the minor to Israel, as well as awarding the father the right to visit the minor in Germany as many times as he desires following the giving of advance notice. The mother was required by the court to deposit a personal bond with the Family Matters Court to guarantee the fulfilment of these conditions, and it was decided that the Court would reconvene after two years to determine whether the conditions were met, as well as to determine whether to make the arrangement a permanent one. (F.M.A 10060/07 Anonymous v. Anonymous (2.10.2008)).

214.Subsequent to the immigration of families with children to Israel, requests for status in Israel are filed. The file is forwarded to the Ministry of Interior’s Inter-Ministerial HumanitarianCommittee for review. Since the best interest of the child is the leading criterion, requests for status which involve children are granted more often than not.

Preserving the best interest of the child in local authorities

215.Following the details presented in the initial report, according to a 2000 Amendment to the Municipalities Ordinance (New Version) 5724-1964, the municipality’s council should elect a Committee for the purpose of initiating and planning activities for the advancement of the status of children and youth. This Committee should act in order to protect children and youth, to ensure their rights, including the realization of the principle of the child’s best interest, non-discrimination, the right to decent conditions of development and the right of children and youth to participate in the decision-making process with respect to decisions concerning them.

216.The Committee should include between three and five members of the municipality’s council, the director of the education division and the director of the social services division, a principal of one of the schools in the municipality, representatives of the teacher’s union, the chairperson of the pupils council, the chairperson of the parent’s organization, representatives of youth movements and others.

D.Article 12- Respect for the views of the child

The right to be heard and respect for the views of minors in matters affecting them

217.Israeli Laws and policies support the broader consensus that a child’s opinion should be heard and considered in matters affecting her/him. Laws and administrative procedures tend to recommend, and even demand, that the child’s opinion be heard prior to making a decision that concerns the child.

218.In proceedings involving conversion, adoption or admission to a psychiatric hospital, the consent of the minor (once she/he has reached an age determined by the law) is required before a decision is made and actions are taken. Courts are authorized to rule against the minor’s wishes or even not to allow her/his opinion to be heard if doing so (allowing her/him to be heard) would cause harm to the child. Another reason for a court to disallow a child’s statement is if the information that would be revealed is confidential (Section 1B of the Youth Law).

219.The novelty in the above legislation is in the legislative requirement as opposed to merely a customary one. Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law stipulates that courts’ rulings should be given subsequent to the child in question having expressed her/his opinion. Judges and administrators are required to pay attention and give substantial weight to the minor’s opinion when ruling or making a decision that affects the child, bearing in mind the child’s age and level of maturity (though not to obtain her/his consent). The court will explain its decision to the minor in a comprehensible manner.

220.The Rotlevi Sub-Committee regarding the Child and her/his Family provided a valid argument in favour of the right of the child to be heard: it promotes the child’s independence (subject to the child’s age and level of maturity). This right is granted in a gradual manner, consistent with the child’s best interest. The committee also recommended setting up a mechanism to facilitate the child’s participation in court proceedings. Below are the primary mechanisms:

-Appointing a person to accompany the child throughout the court proceedings.

-Establishing a separate department within the Assistance Units of the Family Matters Courts, intended for children in legal proceedings.

Protection of children in legal proceedings

221.Amendment No. 1 to the Pupils Rights Law issued on 22 December 2004, amends Section 1 of the Pupils Rights Law, and stipulates that the purpose of the Law is to formulate principles for the rights of pupils which are in accordance with the spirit of human dignity and the principles contained in the Convention, while still preserving the dignity of all who operate in the education system (the pupil, the educational employee, and the education institution staff), and preserving the uniqueness of different kinds of educational institutions, and fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect in the educational institution community. The amendment also amends Section 4 of the Pupils Rights Law, and stipulates that the Director General guidelines, as well as the guidelines of each school principal, must include rules for the protection of dignity, discipline and the prevention of violence.

222.On 1 June 2007, an experimental programme entered into force at the Haifa and Jerusalem Family Matters Courts, with the participation of the children involved in Family Matters Court’s proceedings. The programme operates in association with the Courts Administration bodies within the Ministry of Justice, the Assistance Units to the Family Matters Courts within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services body and Ashalim (an NGO).

223.The participation of children in the decision-making processes that affect their lives is achieved by implementing the recommendations of the Rotlevi Committee, with the assistance of the Department for Child Participation in Family Matters Courts.

224.On 3 December 2007, the Minister of Justice signed the Civil Procedure Regulations (Temporary Order) 5767-2007, which adds Chapter K2 to the Civil Procedure Regulations 5744-1984. The practice embodied in Chapter K2 regulates the procedures for children’s participation in Family Matters Courts for the duration of the experimental programme, namely between 7 and 9 December 2007. (See also Supreme Court Decision HCJ 1129/06 Anonymous et. al. v. The Shari’a’ Court of Appeals et. al. (05.06.2006)) above.

Removal of p upils

225. In 2004, the Minister of Education published Regulations regarding the removal of pupils from the educational system (Compulsory Education Regulations (Rules for the Permanent Removal of a Pupil Due to School Achievement)5765-2004).

226.These Regulations include a prohibition on removing a pupil in the first to sixth grades from school due to a lack of achievement in their studies. Regarding pupils in the seventh to twelfth grades, removal from school shall not be made based on a lack of achievement unless the pupil fails at least 70 per cent of the mandatory subjects for that school year. Moreover, the failure must not occur due to illness, death of a family member, separation or divorce of the pupil’s parents, or other exceptional event which, according to the educational personnel, led to the failure.

227.The Pupils Rights Regulations (Publishing Orders and Pupil Removal) 5762-2002, establishes rules regarding the removal of pupils from school. Among them is the necessity of holding a hearing before finalizing the decision to remove a pupil (Section 4). The pupil or her/his parents can file an appeal with the Head of the Ministry of Education’s District, according to Section 6(a). A hearing should be held before a panel within fourteen days, according to the provisions of Section 6(b). According to Section 6(d) the pupil and her/his parents may state their claims in person or through an appointed person.

228.The Pupil Rights Law was amended on 27 July 2009. The amendment allows the removal of pupils from school following severe disciplinary or violence-related problems. Prior to the amendment the actual removal of a pupil was impossible until a final decision had been reached in the case. Section 6(d) to the Pupil Rights Law determines that a school principal is permitted to permanently dismiss a pupil who has presented repeated disciplinary and/or violence-related problems without delay, provided the principal has received the approval of the District Supervisor. Section 7(b) to this law was also amended with respect to a decision taken on appeal. As of the entrance into force of this amendment, the Discipline Committee will be presented not only with the pupil’s parents, but also with the person in charge of the educational institution or someone acting on her/his behalf.

Case law

229.Recently, the District Court of Jerusalem sitting as an Administrative Court, dealt with a case regarding the right of a minor to be heard in administrative appeal procedures. Specifically, the issue before the Court concerned the possible violation of the integrity of matriculation exams. The Court stated that in general, it is sufficient for an administrative authority (the Ministry of Education in this case) to allow for a written right of appeal – it is not required to alter the appeal procedure and allow for an oral right of appeal simply because the appellant is a minor.

230.The Court did however note that in several cases, the fact that the administrative authority was dealing with a minor justified their granting the right to appeal orally. For example, minors who cannot express themselves properly in writing, may give rise to a justification for holding an oral appeal.

231.The Court in the case held that the disqualification by the supervisor or inspector, on the basis of a breach of the integrity of a matriculation exam, violated the rights of pupils as defined in the Pupil Rights Law. Being disqualified in this way allowed for appeals to be lodged only after the administrative act was completed, which violates the requirement that the right to a hearing shall be granted prior to the relevant decision being finalized. Since the circumstances of the case in question did not fall into any of the exceptions to this rule, the Court held that the Ministry of Education had to revise the Director General’s Directive, and grant the right to a hearing prior to disqualification based on the suspicion of the supervisor or inspector. (Ad.P 362/07 Anonymous v. The Ministry of Education; Ad.P 377/07 The National Council for the Child v. The Ministry of Education (1.7. 2007)).

232.Additional protection in legal proceedings is found in the Crime Victims’ Rights Regulations 5762-2002, which were enacted following the enactment of the Crime Victims’ Rights Law 5761-2001, under which the rights of a minor under the age of fourteen may be realized by her/his parents or legal guardian (Section 18(b)). However, the rights of a minor over the age of fourteen may be realized by the minor herself/himself, as well as by the parents or legal guardian, unless the minor requested that she/he alone will realize her/his rights (Section 18(c)).

233.The realization of the minors’ rights will not be made by the parent or legal guardian if either of them is a suspect or an accomplice of the offence of which the minor was a victim, and if the realization of the minor’s rights by them may harm the physical integrity or mental stability of the minor (Section 18(d)). The realization of the rights of a minor, who is a victim of violence or of a sexual offence, includes a right to express an opinion with respect to the possibility of a delay in procedures and/or a plea bargain, as well as a right to express an opinion before a prison release board, and to express an opinion regarding the possibility of a pardon being granted.

234.Furthermore, reference can also be made to the Pupils Rights Regulations (Publishing Orders and Pupil Removal) 5762-2002; mentioned in this periodic report (paras 225-226 above, which stipulate the right of a pupil to express her/his opinion before her/his removal from school.

Legal representation of minors

235.Observation No. 61 made by the Committee in its concluding observations engaged in children and the criminal justice system. This recommendation, among others things, was aimed at ensuring that children have access to legal aid. Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law determines that a minor who is prosecuted is entitled to representation. The court is also authorized, based on what it believes to be the best interest of the child, to appoint a defence attorney to act on behalf of a minor even if an indictment has not been filed. In matters specified below, the court will rule only after the child’s parents have been given the opportunity to express their opinion on the matter.

236.The Amendment also determines that at any point during the legal proceedings, if a child is not represented or her/his parents are missing; the court is authorized to appoint a legal guardian based on what it considers to be the best interest of the child. Legal instructions and case law emphasize the importance of individual legal representation, principally when an absence of representation imperils the interest of the minor.

Legal r epresentation

237.On 24 January 2007 (A.A 000379/06 Anonymous v. The Ministry of Interior), the Haifa District Court accepted the appeal of a fifteen year old foreign minor who had been a victim of trafficking in persons (TIP). The Court decided to release the minor after eight and a half months in custody. This was the first decision of an Israeli court which recognized a person as a TIP victim for purposes other than prostitution.

238.The District Court held that in cases where an illegal resident is a minor and cannot speak Hebrew, the Detention Review Tribunal must appoint a Public Defenderto provide him with legal assistance. As the minor in question had not been provided with legal representation, the Court held that he had been deprived of his procedural and fundamental rights to such a degree as to amount to a distortion of justice.

239.The Court stated that ‘custody’ as it is referred to in the Entry into Israel Law, can be defined as “custody until the completion of the proceedings.” Subsequently, if proceedings cannot be completed, then custody which is based solely on this law is illegal. In this particular case, the proceedings could not be completed because they required the minor’s removal from the country. This was however impossible as a result of a lack of diplomatic relations between Israel and the child’s country of origin. Indefinite detention of the minor under these circumstances, and based only on the Entry into Israel Law, was thus considered to be invalid.

240.Subsequent to the above court decision and following proceedings that took place in the Detention Review Tribunal (14 February 2007), the General Director of the Ministry of Justice ordered the Department of Legal Assistance in the Ministry Of Justice to provide legal representation to minors and persons claiming minority, including on appeals. In a case where a minor is in custody during criminal proceedings and is not represented – she/he is entitled to legal representation and this information must be conveyed to her/him by the relevant authority. This Directive is retroactive, that is to say that people who began their criminal proceedings prior to this regulation’s coming into effect are also entitled to representation from the moment that the regulation came into effect.

E.Articles 7 and 8

Registration of children at birth and establishment of identity

241.Under Section 6 of the Population Registry Law 5725-1965 (the: “Population Registry Law”), there is a duty to notify a registration officer of the Ministry of Interior of every birth that occurs in Israel. The notification is to be made within ten days of the birth by the institution at which the birth occurred, or by the parents of the child.

242.Amendment No. 9 to the Population Registry Law issued on 14 December 2005 supplements Section 6, so as to include requirements regarding a birth that occurred outside a health institution. According to Section 6(b), if the birth occurred outside an institution and a midwife or a physician was present at the birth then the midwife or the physician should provide a written deposition stating that the mother of the infant is her/his natural mother. According to Section 6(c)(1), if the birth occurred outside an institution but was not attended by a midwife or a physician then the following additional documents should be provided: depositions from the infant’s parents stating that the infant’s mother is her/his natural mother, a medical certificate issued by an authorized physician who examined the pregnant women from the 28th week of her pregnancy, and a medical certificate issued by a physician who examined the women within 48 hours of the birth. If the parents fail to provide the abovementioned medical certificates, they will be required to provide the results of a genetic parental test confirming that the mother is the infant’s natural mother.

243.Section 32 of the Population Registry Law, stipulates that details that might reveal the identity of an adopted person, her/his adoptive parents or her/his biological parents and other relatives will not be disclosed other than to officials as prescribed in the Law. However, the Minister of Interior shall issue orders for allowing an official who registers marriages, or a person who needs the information in order to perform her/his duty in registering marriages, to ascertain whether the marriage-applicant was adopted. This provision is necessary to prevent consanguineous marriages.

The Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law (Temporary Provision), 5763-2003 (the: “Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law”)

244.According to a 2005 amendment to the Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law, the Minister of Interior is authorized to grant a permit to stay in Israel to a minor under the age of fourteen from the West Bank, in order to prevent her/his separation from her/his legal guardian who is lawfully residing in Israel.

245.Furthermore, the Minister is authorized to approve a request for a stay permit submitted by the Military Commander of the Judea and Samaria Area, for a minor over the age of fourteen, residing in the West Bank, in order to prevent her/his separation from her/his legal guardian, who is lawfully residing in Israel, as long as the permit shall not be extended if the minor does not reside in Israel on a permanent basis.

Case law

246.The Tel-Aviv District Court, while residing as an Administrative Court, dealt with the case of a child born to an Israeli mother and to a father who lacked legal status because he had illegally resided in the country for ten years, subsequent to overstaying his tourist visa. The Court found that the competent authorities failed to address the best interest of the child despite evidence presented before them regarding the emotional bond between the child and his father and the father’s financial support of his child. Thus, the Court ordered the Ministry of Interior’s Inter-Ministerial Humanitarian Committee to reconsider granting the applicant legal status in the State in accordance with the best interests of the child. (A.A. 002454/04 Collins Okthzuko Obi v. The Minister of Interior et. al. (06.03.2007)).

The right to acquire nationality and the protection of nationality

247.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this area since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

The right to know one’s parents’ identity

Case law

248.On 28 January 2008 the District Court of Haifa affirmed a judgment reached by the Family Matters Court in Haifa, which determined that the determination of the identity of the father of a child through paternity tests does not accord with the best interest of the child, as it might result in the child’s being labelled a ‘bastard’ according to Jewish “Halacha” resulting in her/his inability to marry a Jewish person other than another ‘bastard.’ Therefore, the Court ordered that the said test not be conducted. In the case in question, a couple who had two children, were in the process of divorce, during which time the woman was in a new relationship with a man whom she claimed was the father of her third child, born eight and a half months after the finalization of the divorce. A year and a half after the child was born, and a month after the mother requested an increase in the amount of the maintenance paid for the couple’s two children, the divorced husband submitted a claim to the Court to be recognized as the child’s father. The Court determined that although society in general supports the clarification of the identity of a child’s parent, and although it is the right of a person to know that he fathered a child, the rights of the minor prevail and his best interest is the primary concern of the court.

249.The Court determined that subjecting the minor to a paternity test in order to determine who her father was, may harm the minor’s dignity, her developmental needs, and the formation of her self-identity. The Court stressed that although the right of the child to know her/his father is an important right as it is stipulated in article 7 to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and is recognized at a national constitutional level as constituting the basic dignity of a person, this right can be realized at a later date if the need arises. (F.A. 526/07 Anonymous v. Anonymous (28.1.2008)).

250.On 22 January 2006 the Jerusalem Family Matters Court determined that a person, who refused to undergo a tissue analysis in order to determine whether he was the biological father of a minor, would be regarded as the father since there was external evidence to support such a conclusion being drawn. In the case in question, the Court determined that the child’s interest to know the identity of her father, and the need to know in case of a medical emergency in the future, overruled the alleged father’s right to privacy and to abstention from invasive examinations. Moreover, the alleged father tried to resist the request for analysis by pointing to the fact that the mother had several other relationships at the time that she fell pregnant and that she had previously unsuccessfully claimed that another man, with whom she claimed to have had an exclusive relationship, was the father. The Court held that even if the mother’s previous testimony was a lie, the proper response was not to deny the request for a paternity test, as the harm resulting from not holding the test would be inflicted upon the child and would impinge upon the child’s rights and not the mother’s. (F.M.C 26762/01 Anonymous v. Anonymous (22.01.2006)).

251.The Jerusalem District Court decided to allow a single woman to receive fertility treatments involving sperm donations from a married man, although such a practice is not in accordance with current regulations. The Court considered the rights of all parties involved, including those of the wife and children of the married man. The Court determined that becoming a parent is a fundamental right, and the couple made an agreement regarding the child as required by the regulations of the Ministry of Health. Moreover, the Court held that the rights of a child, even one that is not yet born, to know both his parents, takes priority over the property rights of the wife and children involved in this case. The rights of the child include the right to dignity, the right to know both parents, to receive emotional and financial support from both parents, and the right not to be considered a “Sh’tooki” – a Jewish term meaning the illegitimate child of an unknown father, who according to Jewish “Halacha” as interpreted by some rabbinical circles, cannot marry a Jewish person and may only marry a converted person. Therefore, the Court issued a declaration allowing the woman to receive fertility treatments with sperm donated by a married man. (O.M. 5222/06 Anonymous v. The Minister of Health, et. al. (26.07.2006)).

252.In another case, the Tel-Aviv District Court determined that in certain cases when two males claim parentage to the same child it is important to determine the identity of the biological father. In the case in question, the child was being raised by the mother and her new husband, who signed a child support agreement prior to the marriage, stating that in the event of separation, he would provide child support until the child reached the age of eighteen. This second marriage took place four years after the child was born, but the new husband claimed to be the child’s biological father, and stated that even if it was proven that the child was not biologically his, he wanted to adopt her. However, the first husband also claimed parentage of the child, paid child support and had visitation rights under the divorce agreement regarding the said child and two other children.

253.The Court examined the complex situation, in which the child recognized the new husband as her “psychological father” and while the visitation with the first husband took place, feared him and was intimidated by him. The Court held that under these circumstances, it is important to determine the identity of the father, due to the complex relationships between the parties involved and their effects on the child. The Court disagreed with the Family Matters Court who postponed the determination until the child reached the age of eighteen. The Court held that the decision should be made based on the best interests of the child; either by paternity tests or by external evidence, and therefore remanded the case to the Family Matters Court for a ruling. (F.A (Tel-Aviv) 1327/06 Anonymous et. al. v. Anonymous et. al. (18.12.2007)).

The right to parental care

254.As detailed in Israel’s initial report, parents are regarded as the natural guardians of their children. This means that children are entitled to be cared for by their parents and parents are entitled to care for their children.

255.Amendment No. 12 of the Legal Capacity Law issued on 28 June 2004 supplements Section 35 to include Section 35(b), which stipulates that when appointing a legal guardian for a minor, the court should give priority to a fit person who is a member of the minor’s family (including siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles, or a spouse of one of the parents) unless the court decides it is in the child’s best interest to appoint a legal guardian that is not a family member.

256.Section 24 of the Legal Capacity Law stipulates that if the parents of a minor are separated, whether they remain married or their marriage is annulled, they can agree on the issue of guardianship over the minor and each parent’s respective rights. Such an agreement requires the approval of the court. Amendment No. 13 to the Law issued on 23 March 2005 amends Section 24 so as to include unmarried parents. The Amendment also broadens the scope of the court’s approval which is needed to validate the agreement, so as to include recognition by the court that the guardianship agreement is in the best interest of the minor. Upon receipt of the court’s approval, the agreement will have the status of a court decision for all matters other than appeals. (See above).

F.Article 13 – Freedom of expression

257.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this area since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

G.Article 14 – Freedom of thought, religion and conscience

258.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this area since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

H.Article 15 – Freedom of association and peaceful assembly

259.TheNon‑Profit Associations Law 5741-1980the:“Non‑Profit Associations Law”) requires that the establishment of any association be by at least two adults, thus restricting the right of children to establish anassociation .Nevertheless, Amendment No. 5, issued in February 2005 amends Section 15 to stipulate that any person aged 17 andabove is eligible to be a member of a non-profitassociation.

260.Section 4 of theLegalCapacity Law states that legal action taken by a minor requires the approval of her/his representative (a parent or a legal guardian appointed) either in advance of the action or subsequent to the action. In contrast, Section 15(b) that was included in amendment No. 5 to the Non‑Profit Associations Law holds that a minor joining such an association and voting in its institutions does not require the approval of her/his representative.

Political assembly

261.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this area since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

Assembly of pupils and youth councils

262.The Ministry of Education encourages the establishment of pupils’ councils, which are elected bodies of pupils that represent the entire student body before the school administration, the local school board and the Ministry of Education. Members of Pupils’ councils are elected democratically, with adequate representation for every age group (see the Director-General’s circular nt/1(a) of 1 September 1998) A pupil council member also serves on the committee to promote the status of children, which was established in each local authority under Section 149G of the Municipalities Ordinance, as amended in 2000. The Pupils’ Rights Law stipulates that a school must encourage the establishment of a pupils’ council, and refrain from any action that would inhibit its establishment.

Freedom of protest and demonstration

263.In principle, the freedom of protest and demonstration enjoyed by adults also applies to children. The Ministry of Education prohibits pupils from taking part in political demonstrations during school hours, although it recognizes that pupils and teachers have a right to participate in demonstrations outside of school hours, subject to their own responsibility.

264.The Ministry also stipulates that parents of children who are absent from school due to participation in any gathering or demonstration are required to notify the school of the absence in writing. The school will handle this absence in accordance with the regulations applying to any absence from school.

I.Article 16 –The right to dignity, privacy and reputation

265.The Ministry of Education Directives include numerous provisions to protect pupils’ dignity, including their privacy. For example, the Directives prohibit anyone in the school from conducting a bodily search of a pupil to discover drug use, even if pupils and parents have given their consent to such searches. Another Directive of the Ministry of Education prohibits an educational institution from punishing a pupil for any act or omission of her/his parents. This is directed at parents who fail to make all of the payments requested by the institution. A pupil may not be removed from a classroom or suspended from school as a result of non-payment, nor can her/his grades or certificates be withheld for reason of non-payment. In fact, another Directive stipulates that matters of payment will be settled directly with parents, without involving pupils. A pupil’s dignity will not be violated due to a dispute with her/his parents regarding payment.

The right to privacy in the narrow sense

266.Juvenile court proceedings are conducted in camera. The Court must authorize the publication of a hearing conducted in camera, including a photograph of the courtroom. Sections 70 and 70(c) of the Courts Law prohibits publication of any detail including pictures, addresses or other details that are likely to lead to the identification of minor defendants or witnesses in criminal trials, or a complainant, or those affected in a trial for offences according to Sections 208, 214, 345–352 and 377A to the Penal Law, which includes the prohibition against allowing a minor to reside in a brothel, the prohibition against committing sexual offences and the prohibition against trafficking in persons. This provision applies to courts of all instances in which minors may be tried — not only juvenile courts — and its application is not restricted to cases which are heard in camera.

Genetic testing

267.Following previous information provided regarding the Protection of Genetic Information Law 5760-2000 (the: “Genetic Information Law”), an amendment was enacted in July 2008. The amendment entered into force on 30 November 2008.

The definition of Genetic Testing for Family Connections

268.The definition of “Genetic Testing for Parenthood” set out in Section 2 of the Law was amended and is now entitled: “Genetic Testing for Family Connections”, which is genetic testing for establishing the family connections of an individual.

The performance of genetic testing for establishing family connections

269.The Amendment added chapter E1 to the Genetic Information Law to regulate this issue through Sections 28A to 28Q.

270.Section 28A stipulates that genetic testing can be conducted only subject to an order granted by the Family Matters Court. Furthermore, Section 28B determines that the person’s consent to the testing is required. If the individual is under 16 years, the consent of her/his guardian is necessary. A minor over the age of 16’s consent is required; the Court shall not order the performance of such a test prior to hearing the minor’s objection (regardless of her/his age).

271.The court shall take into consideration the minor’s age and level of maturity, unless it is convinced that such a hearing may harm the best interest of the child. Nevertheless, if the minor is a parent or is alleged to be a parent, the court may order (for reasons noted) the performance of the test without the consent and presence of the minor’s guardian as long as an explanation is provided to the minor. This option is subject to the minor-parent’s consent to the test and consideration of the minor-parent’s best interest.

272.Section 28C stipulates that a court may order genetic testing of an embryo, only when such a test is required during the pregnancy. The test may be conducted subject to the mother’s informed consent and only after she was provided with a detailed explanation of the possible risks involved.

273.Section 28D refers to special circumstances. These circumstances are as follows: when the mother of a minor was married (in accordance with the Population Registry Law) for a period of 300 days prior to the minor’s birth, the court shall not order genetic testing. The reason for this is the best interest of the child, which prevent performing a test that may indicate that another person is the child’s father. However, the court may order the tests in cases where it is convinced that the necessity of the test outweighs the harm it may cause the child.

274.Furthermore, Section 28E to the amended Protection of Genetic Information Law amendment also stipulates specific rules regarding the performance of the test when the outcome is likely to indicate that the child is a ‘bastard’ (illegitimate according to the Jewish Halachic Law). This status prevents the person from marrying another Jewish person. Therefore, the Law tries to prevent such results from being reached by prohibiting the performance of the test in such cases.

275.The court may find that it is in the best interest of a minor to undergo such a test even though it may result in illegitimacy, however, it shall order that the test results will not be valid in a Religious Court.

Case law

276.In a related case, the Tel-Aviv District Court established the normative criteria to compel the performance of a paternity test. The Court held that a child has a fundamental right to know the identity of her/his biological father. And thus, the court can order a paternity test or draw the conclusions arising from a person’s refusal to undergo the test. As a rule, the court will not order that a paternity test be performed when there is a fear of illegitimacy. Still, this rule is not absolute; there are exceptional circumstances in which the court will consider ordering the performance of a paternity test despite the fear of illegitimacy. In such circumstances the court examines the child’s best interest together with the legitimate interests of the parents. When the court orders a paternity test it must examine the best interest of the child and be certain of the degree of any potential harm to the child as a result of the test outcome (M.A 1364/04 Attorney General v. Anonymous et. al. (5.7.2006)).

277.The Tel-Aviv District Court, while residing as Juvenile Court, agreed to disclose a minor’s identity, subsequent to the child’s fleeing from a closed residence where he was sent post-conviction. The minor was convicted of committing severe sexual offences against two small children, aged 6 and 10.

278.The Court faced a difficult decision, balancing between the defendant’s and his family’s right to privacy, as they were member of an ultra-orthodox community, and the protection and security that the court owed to the public. The Court stressed that the publication would in fact terminate the efforts to rehabilitate the defendant; however, by escaping from the facility the defendant had actually showed indifference to the rehabilitation efforts.

279.The Court held that the defendant’s identity would be publicized. However, the Court gave the defendant a chance to come forward and avoid such publication. (S.Cr.C 203/05 Anonymous v. Anonymous (08.12.2008)).

The right to privacy in the broad sense

280.In a recent decision of the Tel-Aviv Magistrate Court, the Court convicted a defendant for violations of the right to privacy and for the publication of profanities. The defendant was caught taking photographs of naked children at the beach with his cellular phone, which attracted the attention of bystanders. The Court found that these profane photos included images of children and thus violated Section 214(b3) to the Penal Law which states that a person who possesses profane photos, including images of children, will be sentenced to one-year imprisonment unless the possession is random and in good faith. The Court found that although the legislator did not specify what constitutes profanity, the concept involves emotions of repugnance and loathing. The Court determined that photographing children for the purpose of satisfying the sexual desires of the defendant qualified as profanity. The Court further stipulated that the interpretation of what profanity is should include reference to the nature of the Law, which is to protect children against paedophiles and sex maniacs.

281.Furthermore, the Court found that the defendant violated the Protection of Privacy Law, 5741-1981. These children were photographed without their parents’ consent. The Court held that there is a difference between an adult who exposes himself in public and can therefore be seen as consenting to any resulting photographs, and a child who does not have legal capacity, is naïve, and is being used for profane purposes.

282.The fact that the children were naked on the beach does not preclude their right to privacy, including the right not to be stalked or photographed. The defendant was eventually sentenced to one year imprisonment and 18 months of suspended imprisonment. (Cr.C (Tel-Aviv) 006136/07 The State of Israelv. Salomon-Ballivoy Korido (08.01.2008)).

J.Article 17 – Access to information: television, radio, and film

Protection of children

283.In accordance with recommendation No. 59 of the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee recommended that the State party shall take all necessary measures to increase the effectiveness to address commercial sexual exploitation by providing the necessary financial and other resources. Below are the measures undertaken to address this recommendation.

284.In 2001, the Knesset approved the Classification, Marking and Prohibition of Harmful Broadcasts Law 5761-2001 (the: “Broadcasts Law”). The Law determined that television broadcasts that allow visual, verbal or vocal elements of violence, sexual acts and cruelty or which could be seen as encouraging criminal behaviour or the use of illegal drugs, shall be classified as broadcasts that are not appropriate for children under a certain age.

285.The Classification, Marking and Prohibition of Harmful Broadcasts Rules (Commercial Broadcast, Advertisement and Issuing of a Notice) 5765-2005, (The: “the Broadcasts Rules”) distinguish between three categories of classification: programmes inappropriate for children under the age of eight, programmes inappropriate for children under the age of fourteen and programmes inappropriate for children under the age of eighteen. The classifications are made according to the content of the programme.

286.After a long process initiated by the Broadcast Cable and Satellite Council (the “Council”), which included a public hearing and a comprehensive examination accompanied by a professional counsellor, the Council decided on 9 July 2009, to recommend to the Minister of Communication, to change the existing rules in order to adapt the broadcast categories of classification in a more appropriate way to the stages of development of children and youth.

287.Therefore, the Council recommended classifying the broadcasts according to four categories of classification instead of three. The 4th category recommended is: “programs inappropriate for children under the age of twelve”. In addition to this, the Council recommended to cancel the category of “programs inappropriate for children under the age of fourteen” and to replace it by a category: “programs inappropriate for children under the age of fifteen”.

288.Furthermore, the Council recommended adding categories of description according to the characteristics classifying the broadcasts: “sex and pornography”, “violence and cruelty”, “fear of encouraging violence” or “using dangerous drugs”.

289.According to a 2002 amendment to the Communication Law (Broadcasting and Television) 5742-1982, a company licensed to transmit television broadcasts, shall not broadcast profanities including the screening of sexual intercourse that involves violence, abuse, humiliation, contempt or exploitation. Moreover, it is prohibited to broadcast sexual intercourse with a minor or a person impersonating a minor.

290.The Consumer Protection Regulations (Commercial and Marketing Directed at Minors) 5751-1991 (the: “Consumer Law”) creates principles for commercials and marketing directed at minors under the age of eighteen. The content of the commercials and marketing of a product must be appropriate to the understanding and level of maturity of the intended audience. The message transmitted ought to accord with moral values such as justice, equality, non-violent behaviour, integrity and tolerance. Moreover, the information broadcasts must contain accurate and valid information (Section 2 to the Consumer Law). Section 3 prohibits the making of commercials and any marketing that involves the abuse of children’s imagination and innocence, violent descriptions, nudity or sexual innuendos. Such content may result in a feeling of deprivation and inferiority among minors. Section 4 prohibits the making of commercials and marketing techniques that encourage minors to act carelessly, risk their health and/or safety and use dangerous accessories. Section 5 forbids commercials and marketing techniques that encourage minors to consume alcohol and/or tobacco, participate in gambling and games of chance, with the exception of lottery games entered for non-commercial purposes. The Consumer Law also prohibits the encouragement of any illegal act (Section 7). The Law further bans the publication of a minor’s personal details, directly or indirectly, without the consent of her/his parents or custodian (Section 7(a)).

Children’s television programmes

291.These prohibitions are also stipulated in the Second Authority for Television and Radio Regulations (Broadcasting of Television Programs by a Concessionaire) 5762-2002. Moreover, according to these regulations, a television programme that is intended for adults should not be broadcast before 22:00 p.m. whereas a television programme that is intended for adults and has blunt sexual scenes, severe violence, or foul language should not be broadcast before 24:00 p.m. In addition, the concessionaire is obligated to provide a diverse and balanced broadcasting programme. The concessionaire broadcasts at least eighteen hours a day, and such broadcast includes programmes for the family. Programs intended for children up to the age of twelve or programmes for youth between the age of twelve and fifteen must be broadcast at least during 90 per cent of the time between 16:00–24:00 p.m.

292.The Second Authority for Television and Radio Regulations (Insertion of Commercials in Television Broadcasts) 5752-1992 controls the transmission of commercials during children’s programmes. According to the regulation, programmes designated and/or that might be popular among minors ought not to include commercials for drinks that contain alcohol, elements that may start a fire or easily catch fire. It is also prohibited to air commercials concerned with medications, vitamin additives, sedatives and adult films before 22:00 p.m.

293.The Second Authority for Television and Radio Regulations (Ethics in Television Commercial) 5754-1994, prohibits the transmission of commercials that may encourage inappropriate acts. It is also prohibited to broadcast a commercial that tolerates the appearance of minor in an improper manner or transmit commercials that offend the dignity of minors.

294.In accordance with the recommendation contained in paragraph 26 of the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the right to non-discrimination must carry out comprehensive public education campaigns. Hence, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority devotes considerable efforts to encouraging tolerance and equality among children and youth. The Authority emphasizes the importance of impartiality and equivalence between dissimilar races, diverse skin colour, different ethnicities, origins and nationalities. The Broadcasting Authority — television and radio — transmits varied programmes on the subject of religious pluralism, co-existence between the Arab and the Jewish population, children and children with disabilities, children of immigrants, children of foreign workers and so on. These programmes aim to educate children, teach them about the various populations in the society and how to accept diverseness.

295.Attention is paid to fighting racism and communal segregation among youth. Daily news covers social and legal racial discrimination and struggles in order to raise awareness of the issue among adults and children.

296.“Kol Israel” – is a part of the Israeli Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and is required by law to air artists of different styles, and broadcast programmes in Amharic, Russian and other languages on a regular basis. It is also committed to objectivity and to raising the awareness among people by discussing matters of controversy online. For instance, recent debate concerning a dispute between certain private schools in the central region of Israel and the Ethiopian community was broadcast broadly by the majority of networks.

Protection against the publication of children in the media

297.In 2004, Section 24(a) (2) to the Youth (Care and Supervision) Law was amended. The amendment stipulates that photographs of minors aged 5 (rather than 9, as it was previously) without their cloth, which photographs can result in the identification of the minor cannot be published. Thus, whoever advertises such pictures is liable and can be imprisoned for a period of up to one year.

K.Article 37 (a)

Prohibition against torture and cruel treatment

298.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred in this regard since Israel’s initial report.

Corporal punishment of children – Remedies for parental cruelty

Case law

299.On 4 July 2006, the Tel-Aviv District Court sentenced a defendant to seven years’ imprisonment and two years’ suspended imprisonment. The defendant was convicted of multiple accounts of violence and abuse of a minor, which he performed against his two children over a period of several years.

300.The Court stressed that children should not be subject to corporal punishment, nor to strict discipline from their parents, but rather to parental care and warmth. Instead, the children in the case, were systematically abused, insulted, isolated from peers, and terrorized, all of which resulted in the children’s need for psychiatric treatment including medication. The defendant had been residing in Israel for over fifteen years and was well aware of the legal situation in Israel in this regard. The fact that the defendant himself was also brought up in a similar manner, does not warrant leniency by the Court. The defendant pleaded guilty from the commencement of the investigation, which spared the need for the children to testify. The defendant also expressed remorse for his actions. Nonetheless, due to the severity of the offences, and the impact on the children, the Court did not find reason to impose a light sentence (Cr.C 40362/05 The State of Israel v. Onimaya Theodor (04.07.2006)).

301.On 12 February 2003, the Be’er-Sheva District Court accepted the State’s appeal regarding the leniency of the punishment imposed on a defendant. According to the appeal, the defendant was convicted following a plea bargain reached with respect to two charges of abuse against minors and two charges of violence against minors. The Court stipulated that these offences were committed on numerous occasions.

302.The defendant, a father of seven children, abused them physically and mentally, and whipped them using a belt. The Ashkelon Magistrate Court sentenced him to 25 months’ imprisonment, of which seven months was to be served as suspended imprisonment. The Be’er-Sheva District Court held that due to the severity of the offences, and due to the fact that the defendant did not demonstrate genuine remorse, the defendant should be subject to 36 months’ imprisonment and one year of conditional imprisonment for the duration of three years following his release from prison, and provided he does not assault family members or injure minors and defenceless persons. The District Court held that violence towards children cannot be accepted as a method of education. Furthermore, the Court stipulated that a minor is a person, as underscored by the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, and therefore, beating him violates his basic human rights; and the parent is not entitled to violate the minor’s rights this way. (Cr.A (Be’er-Sheva) 7161/02 The State of Israelv. Z.Y. (12.2.2003)).

303.On 9 September 2007, The Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court sentenced the defendant to a period of two years’ imprisonment and one year suspended imprisonment, after he again attacked three of his children during 2006. The Court also activated the one year of conditional imprisonment which was included in the defendants’ previous conviction. The court stated that parents must protect, love and educate their children, rather than serve as source of violence, fear and terror. (Cr.C (Ashkelon) 1414/06 The State of Israel v. Zur Yehoshua (9.9.2007)).

304.On 17 July 2008 the Tel-Aviv District Court sentenced a father who was found guilty of committing an indecent act against his child during a period of two years, to eight years’ imprisonment and two years’ suspended imprisonment. Furthermore, the Court ordered the father to compensate his daughter with the sum of 50,000 NIS (13,500$) (S.Cr.C. 1043/06 (Tel-Aviv) The State of Israel v. Anonymous (17.07.2008)).

305.On 27 March 2008 the Tel-Aviv District Court sentenced a father who was found guilty of committing multiple acts of incest against his daughter, to twelve years’ imprisonment and two years’ suspended imprisonment. Furthermore, the Court determined that due to the severity and frequency of these acts, the father should compensate his daughter with the maximum compensation stipulated in the law in the amount of 228,000 NIS (61,500$). (S.Cr.C 1035/03 (Tel-Aviv) The Tel-Aviv District Attorney (Criminal) v. Anonymous (27.03.3008)).

The obligation to report

306.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. Certain changes have occurred with respect to the obligation to report since Israel’s initial report. In accordance with recommendation No. 37 of the concluding observation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, a State party ought to establish a national and comprehensive strategy violence and abuse within the family, in schools and other institutions carrying for children. Such strategy is now implemented by means of the Compulsory Education (Physical Violence Reporting Rules) Regulations 5770-2009. A recent enactment that obligate Principals of educational institutions to report in writing to the supervisor of such institution regarding any occurrence of physical violence between an educator and a pupil (additional details provided below).

Minors in need of protection

307.In a groundbreaking decision reached by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court, the Court ordered the Municipality of Tel-Aviv to pay 200,000 NIS ($54,000) as compensation to the plaintiff. This was awarded as a result of the Municipality’s failure to remove the plaintiff from his home, when he was 10 years old, despite the existence of evidence available to the Department of Welfare, regarding abuse and neglect inflicted by the plaintiff’s father. When the municipality finally acted based on the information before it, after severe emotional damage was inflicted upon the plaintiff, it failed to provide an appropriate out-of home placement, therefore the plaintiff ended up in the youth wing of a psychiatric hospital where he stayed for over a year, despite the fact that he did not exhibit any symptoms of psychiatric illness, other than distress that would be expected under the circumstances. As a result of the inappropriate hospitalization, the plaintiff suffered from several difficulties in his adult life, including the reluctance of the Israeli Defense Force to draft him, reluctance of the authorities to issue him a driving license and a permit to carry a weapon, all of which resulted from the stigma associated with mental instability. The Court agreed with the plaintiff that an evaluation conducted by a psychiatric hospital of the condition of a child removed from his home should last several weeks at most, and thereafter, the child should have been placed in a out-of-home facility according to his needs and according to the options available to the relevant authorities. The Court determined that the primary harm was the failure to remove the plaintiff from his home in due time, which resulted in extensive hospitalization, and was part of the pain and suffering caused by the municipality, therefore entitling him to compensation for non-pecuniary damages. (C.C. 3970/98 Yitzhak Goldstein v. The State of Israel (14.01.2007)).

Children suspected of a criminal offence

308.The Mentally Ill Patients Treatment Law was amended by Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law. According to the Amendment, psychiatric examinations, treatment orders etc, can only be issued by psychiatrists and professionals in child psychiatry.

Capital punishment

309.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. No change has occurred on this subject since Israel’s initial report.

Life imprisonment

310.On 18 January 18, 2006 the Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed against a sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment imposed on a minor. The minor was 17 and three months at the time he murdered his own father. The rationale of the appeal was anchored in Section 25(b) to the Youth Law that stipulates that there is no obligation to impose life imprisonment, mandatory imprisonment or a minimum penalty on a minor. The appellant claimed that the District Court that sentenced him to 25 years’ imprisonment was not authorized to sentence him to more than twenty years. The Court affirmed prior decisions determining that Section 25 of the Youth Law allowed courts discretion as to whether or not to impose severe punishment on minors and under what circumstances. The Court stressed that the legislator’s purpose in enacting Section 25 of the Youth Law was to broaden the scope of punishments that can be imposed on minors, excluding capital punishment which cannot be imposed under any circumstances. Therefore, the Court rejected the appeal and the punishment remained (Cr.A. 4379/02 Anonymous v. The State of Israel (18.01.2006)).

311.In another case, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal lodged by two defendants who were convicted of the joint perpetration of a murder when they were seventeen and a half years old. The convictions were passed down in separate trials, and the first defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment while the second was sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment. The appeals were heard together. The first appellant appealed his sentence of life imprisonment on the basis of the fact that he was a minor at the time he committed the crime. This outcome, he claimed, violated Section 25(b) of the Youth Law and the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. According to the appellant, his rights were violated.

312.The Court held that the legislator was aware of the sensitive issue of minors’ sentencing, namely that extra caution is required. Therefore, even though there is a mandatory sentence imposed on those who have committed murder, the court has the discretion regarding the punishment in cases of unusual circumstances, even if it results in a deviation from the mandatory sentence.

313.In Israel, a life sentence does not entail life-long imprisonment with no option of early parole. Therefore, it does not contradict or refute the provisions of the Convention that prohibits an imposition of life sentence in its literal meaning on a minor. This way, the proper balance is struck between the need to be lenient with minors, even if they committed the most severe offences, with the need to respect the rights of the victim. Thus, the practice in this matter is consistent with the Basic Law. The Court determined that the judgment should remain and the sentence should not be reduced.

314.The second appellant contested the severity of her punishment; while the State appealed to impose the same punishment on Sigalit Haimovich of life imprisonment as imposed on the first appellant, as they committed the crime together and should serve the same sentence. The Court held that even when the offence was jointly performed, there is space to consider each perpetrator’s specific circumstances. Therefore, the Court denied both appeals. (Cr.A 9937/01 Roei Horev et. al. v. The State of Israel (09.08.2004)).

V.Family environment and alternative care

The definition of the term “Family” under Israeli law

315.Both the Rotlevi Committee (2003) and it Sub-Committees recommended several changes to the Israeli legal definition of a family. Some of the recommendations were implemented by Amendment No. 14. It is worthwhile noting that in addition to the changes that this Amendment rendered, it had several implications for related legislation in particular the Criminal Procedure Law.

316.A recent amendment was made to the definition of a “Family Unit.” The amendment adds extended family members to the list of individuals who constitute immediate family. The addition includes grandparents. As a result of the amendment, less direct family members may hold rights with respect to minors. Moreover, a 2007 Amendment to the Limitation Law 5718-1958 (the: “Limitation Law”) includes the parent’s partner (even if they are not married), foster parents (and their partners, even if they are not married), as well as grandparents in the definition of immediate family members. The term family member was also amended to include persons over the age of 15, who are either biological or foster siblings, as well as their spouses, uncles or aunts including their spouses, and siblings’ in-law. This definition is also incorporated into the Penal Law following recent amendments.

317.A similar definition can be found in the Criminal Procedure Law, (Enforcement Powers – Physical Search and Obtaining Means of Identification) 5756-1996 (the: “Criminal Procedure Law (Enforcement Powers) Law”). This definition includes the parents, grandparents, their spouses (even if they are not married), siblings (including step-siblings), and their off-spring, aunts or uncles and their off-spring, and siblings-in-law.

Family structure

318.Israel’s population is relatively young. In 2008, 34.85 per cent of Israel’s population was classified as children, aged between newborn and the age of 18. In the same year, 43.3 per cent of Israeli households were families with children under the age of 17. More recent numbers are detailed below.

Family size

319.As indicated in table No. 3 below, in 2008 the average number of children per family was 2.38, which is similar to the average reported in Israel’s initial report. Large families with four or more children comprise 16.43 per cent of all families, while approximately one‑third of all families have only one child. The number of children in families varies greatly according to sub‑population: Jewish families have an average of 2.24 children, while Arab families have an average of 2.95 children. Large families with four children or more comprise 12.7 per cent of Jewish families and 30.8 per cent of Arab families. The ultra‑orthodox Jewish population is also characterized by large families.

320.New immigrant families that came to Israel during the 1990’s tend to be smaller: In 2005, 50 per cent of these families had one child, compared with 33 per cent of the general population (in 2006). Between 1996 and 2008, the population of Jewish children decreased from 35.84 per cent to 33.11 per cent, while simultaneously, the number of Arab children decreased from 50.8 per cent to 49.63 per cent.

Table 3

Number of children per family, by sub-population (average and percentage)

2001

2008

Number of children

Total population

Number of children

Total population

Average

2.35

Average

2.38

Percentage

-

Percentage

-

1 child

34.20

1 child

31.4

2 children

29.90

2 children

32.23

3 children

18.90

3 children

19.95

4 or more children

16.80

4 or more children

16.43

Source: The Central Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Abstract of Israel , 2009.

Family composition

321.In Israel, most families (90 per cent) with children are headed by two parents; the remainder (10 per cent) are single-parent families. There are fewer single-parent families in the Arab population (5.5 per cent), and significantly more such families among the new immigrant population (29.56 per cent). Most (57.6 per cent) single parents are divorced, 13.2 per cent of single parents are married but live separately, 18.8 per cent are widowed and 10.4 per cent were never married.

322.In 2008, 3,943 children were born to girls age 19 and younger. These births amount to 2.51 per cent of all births that occurred in Israel in 2008. Births to single minors are rather uncommon in Israel. In 2006, 581 children were born to girls under the age of seventeen, of which 432 were Muslim and 107 were Jewish, 10 per cent of these girls had given birth previously. In 2007, 2,811 girls aged 19 and younger approached the State Termination of Pregnancy Committees. 84 per cent of these girls were Jewish, 10.9 per cent had no religious affiliation and only 2.85 per cent were Muslim. Nearly all of these girls (96.8 per cent) were single. The majority of the abortion requests were granted.

323.Directive 4/08 of the General Director of the Ministry of Health Directives deals with an expansion of services provided in the State medical basket of services for the year 2008. Prior to this expansion, female minors below the age of eighteen were entitled to undergo a free abortion. However, as of 3 March 2008, all women below the age of nineteen are entitled to a free abortion.

Same-sex couples

324.Civil marriages are not recognized under Israeli law. Marriages are conducted in accordance with the couple’s religious law; therefore marriages between two persons of the same-sex are not possible. Nevertheless, in recent years two alternatives to the traditional institution of marriage were developed. The first is the recognition of Reputed Couples (common-law partners). Such a relationship is legally binding, and enjoys similar legal rights and duties as do couples who were legally married. Gradually, the legal status of same-sex couples has been encompassed within the legal concept of Reputed Couples. The second alternative for same-sex couples is the registration of a marriage which took place abroad with the Israeli Population Registration. According to a ruling of the Israeli High Court ruling in November 2006, same-sex couples who were married abroad can be registered with the Israeli Population Registration. This registration renders the civil (legal) status of reputed and/or same-sex couples equal to that of legally married couples, including with respect to National Insurance and tax benefits (the above relates to all religious groups in Israel).

325.Another leading case concerning same-sex couples was heard by the Supreme Court of Israel, residing as a Civil Court of Appeals. The Court accepted an appeal submitted by two unmarried woman, mothers to minor children, who were living together as a couple. The couple applied to adopt each other’s children. The Supreme Court emphasized that there are various aspects to the concept of the child’s wellbeing, some of which are personal and individual to each child and some of which are environmental. In order to reach a decision, a court is required to consider all potential aspects that may impact upon the child’s wellbeing as a result of her/his adoption; such as the future relationship between the child and her/his parent, difficulties that may arise within the immediate (and remote) family and with friends, and even the response of the child’s community to the adoption. The Adoption Law is formulated in a flexible manner (both in terms of its wording and its interpretation) as cases and circumstances vary. And thus, the Supreme Court revoked the lower court’s decision and remanded the case to the Family Matters Court in order for that court to re-evaluate the matter. The Supreme Court ordered that the re-evaluation must include consideration of the children’s wellbeing (C.A. 10280/01 Yaros-Hakak v. The Attorney General (10.01.05)).

Marriage and birth among minors

326.Please see Chapter III, above.

A.Articles 5, 9 and 18

Parental guidance and responsibilities

327.The Rotlevi Sub-Committee, which engaged with issues related to the child and her/his family, presented a conceptual basis for legislation addressing the issue of childrearing. The traditional legal presumption is that parents ought to be granted wide-ranging legal rights with respect to their minor children. In 2003, the Sub-Committee recommended principles that the Israeli legislator should adopt in this regard. By 2009, the majority of the recommendations had either been approved by the Israeli legislator or were in the process of enactment, as stated in this Report.

328.It is worth mentioning that in recent years there has been a change of perception with respect to children’s rights throughout the western democratic world. The previous legal, social and educational notions have evolved, and are now governed by a child-central perception. This perception acknowledges the value of the child’s autonomy and encourages the participation of children in decisions affecting them and their interests. The legal, welfare and educational systems respectively examine the child’s best interest in every proceeding, whether or not these accord with the parent’s points of view and/or their wishes.

329.The rights and the duties related to raising a child are granted legal recognition and are governed by diverse legal duties, including the acknowledgement of the importance of the extended family’s involvement in childrearing. The committee also suggested the adoption of new terminology, and the replacement of the phrase the “Rights and Duties” of parents, with the phrase “Parental Responsibility”. The novelty inherent in this conception lies in the aspect of “equivalency”. Parents no longer have the sole rights over their children’s lives; children now enjoy rights of their own over their lives.

330.Albeit, children still enjoy the right that an adult will bear parental responsibility for them. A child’s right to be cared for stems from, among other things, well-founded “child development psychology,” which recognizes that children need a stable home and a nurturing environment to ensure their healthy development.

331.Children enjoy a number of rights with respect to family and childrearing, for example:

-The right of a child to live, grow, and develop with her/his parents.

-The right of a child to dignity and security, and the right to be cared for by her/his own (not necessarily biological) parents.

-The right of a child to an intimate, steady, and continual relationship with her/his parents.

-The right of a child to guidance and consultation from her/his parents.

332.Few laws can shield children from emotionally neglected childhoods; nevertheless, the essence of the Sub-Committee’s recommendations is already regulated by the Legal Capacity Law and affected by the Social Welfare Department in her/his region.

Parents’ legal responsibilities

333.Section 361 of the Penal Law distinguishes between different types of neglect. The Section stipulates that leaving a child under the age of six without proper care, while subjecting the child to the danger of actual harm to her/his health or wellbeing, can result in three years’ imprisonment. If the act is done negligently, the offender may be sentenced to one years’ imprisonment. However, if the act was committed in order to abandon the child, the offender may be sentenced to up to five years’ imprisonment.

334.The Amendment also modified Section 323 of the Penal Law, stipulating that a parent or a legal guardian is obliged to provide the minor with all her/his substantial needs, such as providing healthcare, preventing them from being abused, and bodily or emotionally harmed. The guardian shall be liable for failing to satisfy her/his legal obligations, and if the guardian endangers the child’s life, she/he may be sentenced to up to three years’ imprisonment.

Parents’ tortuous wrong

335.On 31 August 2005 the Jerusalem Family Matters Court determined that a father, convicted of performing an indecent act against his child when she was three years old, could also be seen as violating other sections of the Penal Law, including violating the obligation to care for a child, committing assault, and committing abuse; and could be seen as violating his parental obligations to care for his child as stipulated under the Legal Capacity Law. Accordingly, these violations constitute a breach of statutory duties and assaults under the Civil Wrongs (Tort) Ordinance, 5728-1968 which establishes a right to compensation.

336.The Court held that this kind of harm, inflicted on a small child, would continue to affect the child at different stages of her/his life, thus qualifying as mental harm which would necessitate psychological assistance. The Court also found that this harm created a permanent mental disability of 20 per cent. Due to the breach of the obligation to care for the child in question, both under the Penal Law and the Legal Capacity Law, as well as a violation of Articles 16 and 19 of the Convention, the Court determined that the father should reimburse his child for the mental treatment she had already received. In addition, the Court ordered the father to compensate his child for future mental treatment, and for the infliction of misery and pain, in the total sum of 480,000 NIS (129,000 $). (F.M.C 2160/99 Anonymous v. Anonymous (31.08 .2005)).

337.In another case, the Rishon-Lezion Family Matters Court ordered a father who was convicted of committing an indecent act against his child, when she was 14 years old, to compensate her in the amount of 160,000 NIS (43,000$). The child was forced to change schools and move to a private school, as a result of the change in her behaviour caused by the trauma. Furthermore, the child dropped out of social work studies at university after only two months, after being asked to write a paper on sexual abuse. Therefore, the Court ordered the child’s compensation, which included compensation for the infliction of misery and pain, for past and future medical treatment, and for the costs of changing schools and dropping out of University. (F.M.C 10970/04 Anonymous v. Anonymous (29.10 .2006)).

Income support for families

338.The National Insurance Institute (NII) is responsible for the payment of income support benefits. In 2006, the NII paid income support benefits to approximately 130,341 families, which did not earn the minimum level of income as determined by the Income Support Law 5740-1980, and were not covered by any other income maintenance programmes.

339.As of 1 January 2006, women who are unable to work owing to their high-risk pregnancies are to receive a “maternity allowance” for a period of at least 30 days. The amount which is to be received per day is the lower of the following two amounts: the basic amount divided by 30–259 NIS, (70$); or the woman’s average salary, as determined based on her income in the previous three months, divided by 90 (starting from 1.1.2009). Following the Emergency Economic Plan and the Recovery Plan for the years 2002–2006, the sum of the maternity allowance was reduced by 4 per cent, effective as of June 2002 and up until December 2007. The 4 per cent reduction was annulled as of 1 January 2008.

340.As of 1 January2005, the NII of Israel makes payments of maternity grants, which are provided to post-natal new mothers in order to help cover the cost of a layette for the newborn child, directly into the mother’s bank account approximately one month after the date on which she gave birth. The maternity grant was previously paid by means of a check given to the mothers in the hospital in which the birth took place.

Table 4

Maternity allowance and birth grants, 1990–2008

Year

Recipients of maternity allowance (thousands)

Annual increase ( per cent )

Recipients of birth grant (thousands)

Annual increase ( per cent )

1990

43.7

0.5 (1986–1990)

103.6

0.5 (1986–1990)

1995

55.2

4.8 (1991–1995)

113.1

1.8 (1991–1995)

2001

71.2

0.8

127.1

-3.6

2003

73.9

3.5

136.4

6.1

2004

77.5

4.9

141.2

3.5

2005

77.0

-0.6

142.9

-

2006

82.7

7.3

143.6

0.5

2007

86.0

4.1

147.2

2.5

2008

93.6

8.8

152.0

3.3

Source: The National Insurance Institute, 2008.

Maternity Hospitalization Grant

341.Thisgrant is paid by the NII and is intended to cover the cost of childbirth and the cost of hospitalization for the mother and child, and is conveyed directly to the hospital. Women who enter offence prematurely are provided with a higher fee. Women who give birth overseas receive payment directly if they submit a claim therefore. Since April 2005, the amount paid for a premature delivery was increased by 50 per cent and by January 2007 it climbed a further 12.1 per cent. The added percentage amounts to 151.6 million NIS ($40 million) per annum. These grants are funded by the Ministry of Finance. In 2008, 2,500 grants were paid for premature childbirths, an increase of 5 per cent as compared to 2007.

342.As of 1 January 2009, a “maternity grant” given to a new mother upon the birth of her first baby, or to adoptive parents upon adoption, was 1,556 NIS, (420$). The maternity grant for a second child was 700 NIS, (175$), and for every third and additional child to the family was 467 NIS, (126$).

343.The NII grants a benefit to a mother who has given birth to three or more children in one birth, and again at the end of a 30-day period after the date of the birth, if at least three of those children have survived. The childbirth allowance is paid, in addition to the maternity grant, for the period from the first day of the month following the birth, up until twenty months from that date.

344.In 2006 and 2007, a number of significant Amendments were made to the Women’s Employment Law 5714-1954 (the: “Women’s Employment Law”). These changes prohibit the employment of women during their maternity leave; prolong the period of leave permitted after hospitalization; prolong the period during which an employer is prohibited from dismissing an employee returning from maternity leave to 60 days; prolong the period during which dismissal of a female employee staying in a battered women’s shelter is prohibited to 90 days (also requiring the consent of the Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services); extends maternity leave from twelve to fourteen weeks; and notably alters the pre-existing conditions so that after six weeks’ maternity leave, should a new mother decide to return to work, or otherwise waive her remaining leave, the father will be permitted permanent, (previously temporary), leave in her stead, for the duration of the maternity leave. Another significant Amendment was legislated in 2008 (Amendment No. 44), and stipulated that a female employee who worked for at least twelve months under the same employer up until the beginning of her maternity leave, is entitled to a leave of absence for a period of one fourth of all her employment period, but no more than twelve months (before the Amendment, the requirement was that the woman work for the same employer for at least 24 months).

345.Amendment No. 5 to the Sick Day Payment (Absence from Work due to Child’s Illness) Law 5753-1993 (the: “Sick Day Payment Law”) issued on 26 March 2001, increased the number of paid leave per year for a child’s illness from six to eight days.

346.Amendment No. 6 issued on 15 July 2002, supplemented Section 1(b) to the Sick Day Payment Law, stipulating that if the child in question is in the sole custody of a working or single parent, she/he is entitled to up to twelve days of paid leave per year on account of her/his child’s illness. Amendment No. 8 issued on 3 March 2008 further extended this to sixteen days.

347.Amendment No. 7 issued on 18 June 2007 supplemented Section 1B(a) stipulating that if a parent of a child with a disability works for the same employer or in the same workplace for one year, she/he is entitled to fifteen days leave per year. These may correspond with regular vacation time or sick days, so long as the assistance provided to the disabled child requires absence (including treatment, supervision, accompaniment, or other necessary assistance). Furthermore, the parent is entitled to fifteen additional days leave per year if she/he is a single parent, has sole custody of the disabled child, or if her/his spouse was not absent from her/his workplace under this amendment. The above Amendment supplements Section 1C, stipulating that the right accorded in Sections 1A and 1B will apply to foster parents if the biological parent or the adoptive parent did not take advantage of the right.

348.If the parent worked for one year in the same workplace or for the same employer, she/he is entitled to leave for up to 30 days per year (which may correspond to regular vacation time or with sick days) in the event of a child suffering from a terminal disease. If the second parent was not absent from her/his workplace or if the parent is a single parent, or the child is under her/his sole custody, then the parent is entitled to 60 days leave per year in the event that the child suffers from a terminal disease (Amendment No. 3, dated 2 April 1997). Many work places grant additional privileges such as shorter work days for mothers or employers’ participation in day care expenses.

Social insurance and entitlements

349.As detailed in Israel’s initial Report, all families residing legally in Israel, regardless of income, are entitled to receive a “child allowance”, a monthly grant which increases with the number of children in a family. The Government policy of instituting drastic cuts in the amount provided in child allowances — the first stage of which was carried out in 2002–2004 — was set to continue in subsequent years up until the year 2009. The policy was partially implemented by means of temporary orders, and partially as permanent legislation. By the end of the legislative process in 2009, the allowance was a set amount for every child in all families, regardless of the child’s position in the family. Beginning January 2006, for children who were born as of 31 May 2003, a family with one child received 159 NIS (42$) per month; a family with two children received 318 NIS (85$) per month; a family with three children received 509 NIS (127$) per month; a family with four children received 862 NIS (232$) per month; and a family with five children received 1,215 NIS (303$) per month. The amount per child born after 1 June 2003, is 159 NIS (42$) constantly. In 2005, 956,294 families received child allowances, amounting to 19 per cent of the total benefits paid by the NII. In 2006, 968,282 families received child allowances, amounting to 17.6 per cent of the total benefits paid by the NII. (For further details see chapter VI (C) on child allowance, below).

Social services support

Social welfare departments

350.Social welfare departments assist with the placement of children in day care centres so as to assist working mothers. In some cases, particularly in families that are unable to adequately care for their children, the Social Welfare Departments will refer the children to a centre and finance their care. As of May 2009, 14,000 children were placed in day care centres or family day care by the Social Welfare Department. Six various day care facilities operate within municipalities with an Arab majority, among them are 280 infants and 250 children that were placed in day-care facilities by the Social Welfare Departments.

351.After-school frameworks provide older children with supervision, hot meals, recreational activities, informal education and some therapeutic services. As of May 2009, approximately 10,000 children were placed in such frameworks by Social Welfare Departments – a dramatic increase from the 4,000 children who were placed in such frameworks in 1989. This increase was the result of cooperation between the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education, which worked together towards the increasing the number of after-school frameworks. (For more information on the after-school frameworks provided by the Ministry of Education, see Chapter VII.)

The Counseling and Psychological Services Department

352.The Counseling and Psychological Services (“Shefi”) Department is a department within the Ministry of Education responsible for providing counselling and psychological Services, as well as educational counselling for pupils, parents and educators.

353.Resource distribution is as follows: “Shefi” currently allocates a total of 1,302 educational psychologists to kindergartens and schools in every local authority in Israel. 1,023 psychologists are allocated to the Jewish population and 159 are assigned to the Arab population. Among these, 71 are specialized in educational counselling and psychological services, fourteen are allocated to work with the Bedouin population and five are assigned to work with the Druze population.

354.With respect to kindergartens, “Shefi” operates an educational advisory service for kindergartners composed of children aged 3 to 6. The guidance is given by M.A. graduate educational advisors who are trained to deal with infants.

355.With respect to schools, “Shefi” currently allocates approximately 4,300 educational advisors to all official educational institutions (440 of which work with the Arab population, 70 with the Druze population and 37 with the Bedouin population).

356.Shefi plays a major role in the process of assimilation and implementation of the new Directive 5770/1(A) (September 2009) of the Director General of the Ministry of Education, which was concerned with the creation of a safe environment, and treatment against violence in educational institutions. The Directive comprises policy for the prevention of violence and the creation of a safe environment. The scope of the policy includes the advancement of schools’ cultural environments, inter-personal communications, emotional and social studies, environmental studies, the importance of accepting children with disabilities and cooperation with parents. The Directive includes specific rules regarding violent behaviour while presenting a positive model of behavioural norms in accordance with the recommendations of the State Comptroller.

357.Since 2005, “Shefi” annually updates its website regarding the HIV virus and the Ministry of Education’s website (prior to World AIDS Day). The websites includes theoretical and preventive information, surveys, and educational job offers for HIV infected youth.

Separation of children from their parents

Out of home placements

358.Out of home placements refer to all kinds of child residences outside the nuclear family home that stem from the order of a court or welfare authorities. The Rotlevi Sub-Committee, which addressed the issue of the child and her/his family, examined out-of-home-placements while these were partially regulated by legislation. Below are the Sub-Committee’s recommendations with respect to out-of-home placements. Most of the recommendations were accepted and implemented by 2008, through Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law.

The Sub-Committee’s recommendations regarding out-of-home placement of children

Equality

359.The Sub-Committee recommended applying the principles of equality in a manner suitable to an out-of-home placement environment. One of the important factors emphasized by the Sub-Committee was adherence to children’s civil, political, social and cultural rights despite the change of environment. The child’s wellbeing is maintained by allowing her/him to obtain information relevant to her/him, to be protected, to be heard, to enjoy respect of her/his privacy, to ensure responses to the child’s claims, to obtain education, to enjoy leisure and to encourage the development of the child’s own personality. The Sub-Committee gave special attention to the rights of children with disabilities. Those taking part in out-of-home placement — parents, foster parents and the entire group home personnel — must adjust their care in accordance with the child’s abilities, potential and changing needs.

The decision-making process

360.The Sub-Committee’s premise is that a child is better off raised by her/his parents. Thus, a decision to place a child in an out-of-home placement ought to be seriously considered and based on the belief that such a placement is in the best interest of the child. The decision is subject to the receipt of permission from the child’s parents. The decision must be made by a group of professionals, specializing in child care.

361.When a child is placed out of home, the State is responsible for her/his wellbeing throughout her/his stay. The Minister of Social Affairs and Social services is bound (by regulations) to provide an appropriate and sufficient framework. All children must be placed in a framework suitable to their individual needs. Out-of-home placement is subject to periodical inspection and every child is accompanied by a person responsible for her/him during their residence.

Ending of placement

362.The Sub-Committee recommended establishing a mechanism to ensure continuous examination, designated to assist children return to their natural environment, namely their parents. The Sub-Committee paid special attention to the importance of particular guidance being given to children who reached maturity during their stay at their out-of-home residence (ages 18 to 21).

Qualitative out-of-home placement treatment

363.The Sub-Committee emphasized the importance of the presence of professional supervision at the facilities and accommodation of the placement concerned. Additional weight is put on the processes of training, guidance, documentation and research.

Divorced or separated parents

364.This issue was discussed in Israel’s initial report. Few changes have occurred in this area since the submission of Israel’s initial report.

Case law

365.On 27 September 2004 the Tel-Aviv District Court determined that pursuing the principle of the best interest of the child required granting custody to the father of two minor girls (ages nine and seven). The court-appointed expert, after evaluating both parents and their spouses, determined that both couples were qualified to be awarded custody of the girls. However, since the girls’ mother intended to immigrate to the United States, where her new spouse resided, a decision had to be made. The Court determined that according to the Convention several of the girls’ interests needed to be considered when a custody dispute involves emigration, such as: the right to maximum survival and development of the child (art. 6), the right to grow in a family environment (arts. 18 and 20) the right to education (art. 28), the right of the child to preserve her/his identity (art. 8) and the right of a child to form her/his own views and to express those views freely in all matters affecting him (art. 12).

366.The Court heard the girls unaided and together with each of their parents, and determined that the girls understood the situation and the desire of both parents to include them in their new family. The Court held that although the girls did not express a specific desire to live with one of the parents, mainly due to their desire not to take sides in the conflict, they indirectly expressed their desire to remain in Israel, by the emphasis they placed on their relationship with relatives and friends in Israel. In the eyes of the Court, fulfilment of the right to identity as well as the right to grow with family members meant that the best interest of the girls was to stay with their father, therefore the Court awarded the custody to the girls’ father. (F.A (Tel-Aviv) 1152/04 Anonymous v. Anonymous (27.9.2004)).

367.In another case regarding custody and emigration, the Tel-Aviv District Court determined that the children in question may immigrate to the U.K. with their mother subsequent to granting her custody. A year later the mother petitioned the Family Matters Court, requesting to be allowed to immigrate to the U.K since her parents and brother resided there, and provided the Court with detailed information regarding the relocation plan (such as place of residence and intended school for the children). While the motion was in process the mother revised her petition, informing the Court that she and the girls would reside with her new spouse in the U.K. The father objected to both of the plans suggested.

368.The Family Matters Court held that the mother may immigrate to the U.K., as she and the children were British citizens, and determined that this option would cause the least damage to the children, and it was in their best interest, since the father was not qualified to have sole custody, and forcing the mother to remain in Israel would harm the children psychologically. The father then appealed to the District Court and claimed that the children’s independent will was not determined nor was their voice heard in court proceedings. The Court determined that the children were interviewed by the court-appointed expert who determined that they did not want to express a preference for either one of their parents, and would be traumatized if forced to appear before the court.

369.Therefore, the District Court affirmed the decision rendered by the Family Matters Court, allowing them to immigrate with their mother. (F.A (Tel-Aviv) 1287/05 Anonymous v. Anonymous (26.12.05)).

370.The father requested permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, which was granted. Thus the Supreme Court served as a third instance in this matter. The Supreme Court reaffirmed the decision made by the District Court. The Court held that hearing a minor according to article 12 to the Convention, does not need to be done directly, and as the court-appointed expert ascertained that the children wished to avoid appearing before the court, it was sufficient to hear their wishes through the evaluation of the court-appointed expert. Furthermore, it held that the right of the child to express his will does not necessarily accord with the best interest of the child, which the court must determine in any given case. Moreover, the fact that the court proceedings regarding the immigration of the children lasted more than three years, did not comply with the best interest of the children either. (F.M.A. 27/06 Anonymous v. Anonymous (1.5.06)).

Maintaining contact with both parents

371.Please see Chapter I, introduction above.

Tax deduction for childcare services

372.On 3 April 2008 the Tel-Aviv District Court determined that expenses paid for childcare services, such as nursery and after-school programmes are expenses made for the purpose of generating an income, and can therefore be deducted from the taxable income of a mother each tax year. The Court determined that these costs are essential in allowing the integration of mothers with young children into the labour market. In the case at hand, the Court determined that a mother of two children, a lawyer with a private practice, who was required to work long hours in order to succeed in her work, was required to find a solution for the care and supervision of her children during her working hours. However, the tax authorities did not agree to deduct the expenses paid for childcare from the mother’s taxable income. The Court determined that a distinction should be drawn between the component of care and supervision (including the amount of money necessary to operate a childcare institution) and the component of education and enrichment the children receive while in those childcare institutions.

373.The Court emphasized the fact that the premise for its decision is the right of the two spouses to fulfil their career aspirations, their right to practice their occupation and create a livelihood for themselves and their family members. The placement of children who need adult supervision in childcare institutions is done for the purpose of allowing both parents to leave for work and to perform their offence. Therefore, the Court ordered that the tax authorities deduct two-thirds of the expenses paid in the years in dispute from the mother’s taxable income. (I.T.A (Tel-Aviv) 1213/04 Vered Peri v. The Income Tax Assessor of the Dan Metropolitan Area (03.04.2008)).

374.Following the judgment, a State appeal was submitted to the Supreme Court on May 12, 2008. On 30 April2009 the Supreme Court rejected the appeal and determined that child care during the time as a parent was at work is a deductible expense (C.A. 4243/08 The Income Tax Assessor of the Dan Metropolitan Area v. Vered Peri).

B.Article 10– Family reunification

Permanent residence in Israel

375.The Law of Return 5710-1950 (the “Law of Return”) and the Law of Citizenship 5712-1952 (the “Law of Citizenship”) entitle people of the Jewish faith, their spouses and their children (including adopted children) as well as grandchildren, to Israeli citizenship. Thus, family reunification is automatic if children and parents are both Jewish; the Minister of Interior is authorized to grant Israeli citizenship even to those who do not meet these requirements. For instance, if the person is a spouse of an Israeli citizen who is not Jewish (subject to the Citizenship (Temporary Order) Law) or if the person, usually a great-grandson of a person of the Jewish faith or a child from the first marriage of the spouse of a Jewish person, has served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The entitlement of Israeli citizenship is not limited to family reunion matters or subject only to the provisions of the Law of Return. A person is entitled to apply for citizenship based on several rationales, such as settlement, birth, adoption and more (Sections 1–5 to the Law of Citizenship).

376.However, once a person becomes a citizen, together with her/his minor children, in the course of a single procedure, citizenship is granted to her/his minor children – provided that they reside in Israel - and that the parent holding the citizenship has custody over the children. If the minor is a foreign citizen and both her/his parents share her/his custody, the minor will not be granted Israeli citizenship if one of the parents declares that she/he does not wish that the child acquire such citizenship. Parents of citizens and permanent residents of Israel are not entitled to family reunification, but the Minister of Interior may grant them citizenship or permanent residency at her/his discretion (See: Citizenship (Temporary Order) Law, detailed above).

C.Article 11 – Illicit transfer and non-return

377.Israel is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspect of International Child Abduction and has enacted the Hague Convention Law. Section 4 of the Hague Convention Law stipulates that the Attorney General is the sole executor of this Convention. She/he may appoint a Child Protection Officer who is subject to the supervision of the chief of the Child Protection Officer. The Child Protection Officer is empowered by the Youth (Care and Supervision) Law.

378.The Attorney General is authorized by Section 5 of the Hague Convention Law to transmit information to persons and/or an organization in Israel and/or abroad in order to execute the Convention’s Directives. Such information must remain confidential. A Child Protection Officer is authorized to convey information on behalf of the Attorney General, subject to her/his consent.

379.Family Matters Courts are authorized to issue an order that prevents abducted children and/or the person holding them from leaving the country. The Court can also instruct the Police to investigate the abduction, locate the abducted children and assist the Child Protection Officer in bringing the children to court. Injunctions that can prevent injury to the children, infringement of their rights, and ensure their return are advisable. Regulation 295/9(5) of the 1995 Amendment to the Civil Law Procedures 5744-1984 (the: “Civil Law Procedures”) stipulates that if the child’s age and level of maturity enables it, the court shall not make a decision prior to hearing the child’s opinion, unless there is a special reason not to do so (such reason must be documented). Regulation 295/9(5) of the 1995 Amendment to the Civil Law Procedures also allows the court to consider the child’s opinion in an indirect manner, namely via a professional in child care, in accordance with the Convention on the Right of the Child. The Israeli Courts formulated basic conditions to consider the weight given to a child’s opinion: (a) age and level of maturity; (b) free will; (c) rationality.

380.Table 5 below indicates the total number of child related cases handled by the Central Authority under the Hague Convention between the years 1993 and 1996. Among the 139 cases of children abducted to Israel in the above years, 52 were children abducted from the United States, fifteen from France and fifteen from the U.K. Of the 215 cases of abducted children from Israel, 60 were children taken to the United States and twelve to the U.K.

381.As another means of preventing the illicit transfer of children in situations of parental disagreement, in addition to the fact that both parents are the child’s guardian, the Ministry of Interior issues passports to children only with the consent of both of their parents. If a parent fears that the other parent may attempt to illicitly transfer the child to another country, she/he may request an injunction against the child leaving the country.

Table 5

Cases of abducted children handled by the Attorney General under the Hague Convention

Case resolution

Children brought to Israel *

Children abducted from Israel *

Total

139

215

Children returned following court ruling

47

60

Children not returned following court ruling

13

40

Waiting for appeal

2

7

Petition withdrawn

11

18

Re-abducted to the State of origin

12

2

Refusal by State authorities

1

7

State not party to Convention

2

8

Case not active

17

38

Child not located/never entered the country

7

1

Visitation arrangement (child remained by agreement in country to which abducted)

5

9

Voluntary return

18

21

Pending

4

4

Source: The Public Defenders Office Data, 2009.

* These statistics reflect the number of cases, not the number of children. Each case may contain more than one child.

Case law

382.The Tel-Aviv District Court held that two girls taken by their mother to Israel should return to their father in the United States. The couple married in the United Stated in 1996 and were divorced in 2000. The father filed suit with the New York Civil Court and the Court ordered that the children remain in the U.S. until the following hearing; nevertheless, the mother took the girls to Israel while the proceedings were still pending. In addition, the father was granted custody over the children, therefore, by taking the children out of the U.S. the mother violated the father’s custodial prerogative. The Israeli District Court held that Section 3 of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was breached. Thus, the Court did not grant the girls the opportunity to express their wishes, although it emphasized the significance of such proceedings in order to fulfil the rights as set out in Section 13 to the aforementioned Convention, and Article 12 to the Convention on the Right of the Child. (F.A 1085/01 Anonymous v. Anonymous (8.8.2001)).

383.In another case, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the return of two children to their state of origin in accordance with the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The mother had legal custody over her minor children and they were living with her in Italy. During one of the father’s regular visits to Italy to meet with his children, he took them with him to Israel without the knowledge and/or permission of the children’s mother. The mother filed a suit with the Israeli District Court – demanding the return of the children according to the Hague Convention. The father claimed that the children’s wish was to stay in Israel and therefore (according to Section 13 of the Hague Convention) they should stay in Israel.

384.The court held that under Section 13 of the Convention there is no duty to return the children to the State of origin, if the children explicitly object to the idea. The premise is that the best interest of the child is fulfilled by the child’s returning to the State of origin, and the exception cited in Section 13 must be limited to extreme cases, in order to accord with the Convention’s goal. In this case it was held that the children’s determination to stay in Israel was not established, therefore they should return to Italy and to the custody of their custodian parent. (F.M.A 672/06 Taufik Abu Arar v. Paula Ragozo (15.10.2006). (For a similar decision see, F.M.A 902/07 Anonymous v. Anonymous (26.4.2007)).

385.In another case, an Israeli citizen (the mother) and a Belgian resident (the father) were divorced in 2004. The couple had one child. In 2004, the mother applied to the Court for permission to leave with the child to France. The Belgium Court held that the mother could leave with the child (permanently) to reside in France. However, the Belgium Court of Appeals decided in 2005 that the child must return to Belgium to his father’s custody. In 2006 the mother took the child to Israel without the father’s permission. The Israeli Supreme Court examined the weight of Section 13 of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Supreme Court held that the best interest of the child outweighed the exception cited in Section 13 of the Convention in rare circumstances only. Such circumstances did not present themselves in this case; the return of the child to the State of origin was not proven to cause serious physical or mental harm to the child. Therefore the Court ordered the return of the child to Belgium. (F.M.A 1855/08 Anonymous v. Anonymous (8.4.2008)).

D.Article 27, paragraph4 – Recovery of maintenance for the child

386.The Maintenance (Assurance of Payment) Law 5732-1972 (the: “Maintenance Law”) statesthat the NII shall grant a Child Support Allowance to anyperson whom the court has awarded child support, but who is not receiving thesepayments from the person who by law is obliged to make them.

387.The 2002 Amendment No. 4 to The Maintenance Law broadened the scope of payments of Child Support Allowances by the NII, not only to decisions by Israeli courts, but also to foreign judgments, foreign interlocutory sentences or interim orders that were determined to be enforceable according to the Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Law 5718-1958 (the: “Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Law”). The Amendment also amended Section 2 of The Maintenance Law, stipulating that a person who is an Israeli resident and who received a court decision in her/his favour for the payment of child support, is entitled to request the NIIfor a monthly allowance if the person who was found liable to pay child support was an Israeli resident on the day the court gave its decision or is that person was an Israeli resident for at least 24 out of the 48 months prior to the court’s issuing the decision for child support. With regard to foreign judgments, foreign interlocutory sentences or interim orders, the court’s decision date is the day the decision was announced as being enforceable under the Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Law.

Case law

388.See Chapter IV (C), article 3 of the Convention – The best interest of the child, a father’s claim to reduce payments and the determination of the Court to allow such reduction subject to the keeping the welfare of the child (F.A 785/05 Anonymous v. Anonymous et. al. (03.01.2006)), was discussed above.

389.In another case, the Supreme Court accepted an appeal submitted by a mother on behalf of two minors regarding their child support allowances. The suit, which was filed by the children four years after the divorce of their parents, requested the determination of the amount of child support payments. The Supreme Court held that the Rabbinical Court did not consider the children’s best interest, and therefore remanded the case to the Family Matters Court in order for it to determine the claim as if it was an original claim coming before it. (F.M.A 7916/03 Anonymous et. al. v. Anonymous (28.02.05)). (See Chapter IV (C.)- The best interest of the child above).

390.In a different case, the National Labor Court discussed the meaning of a child’s entitlement to alimony. According to the Maintenance Law, The National Insurance Institute pays alimony when the debtor fails to pay and the person entitled to the alimony is an Israeli resident. The NII argued that the parent is the lawful creditor of such alimony, and since the mother was not an Israeli resident she was not entitled to the payments. The court rejected the NII’s claim and held that the child herself/himself is the rightful person to whom alimony payments should be made. The judgment indicated that alimony is a part of the child’s legal rights to dignity and property. The parent is only the child’s means of fulfilling her/his rights. The child in question was an Israeli resident, and thus entitled to the NII alimony. (La.A 592/07 The National Insurance Institute of Israelv. Gaya Assi (1.6.2009)).

E.Articles 20 and 25– Children deprived of a family environment

The alternative care system in Israel

391.Out-of-home placement of children and youth can be divided into several groups. The majority, 61,726 (ages fourteen to eighteen) reside at boarding schools (mostly out of personal choice). A smaller group (9,599) of children and youth are placed in residential facilities and foster homes by social services. A yet smaller number of youth are placed in Youth Protection Authority facilities equipped to handle juvenile offenders and youth with severe behavioural problems.

Children placed outside their home by social services

392.In 2009, a total of 8,500 children, newborn to age eighteen, resided in an out-of-home facility arranged by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services. Contrary to the situation in most western countries, the majority of children placed in out-of-home facilities are the older ones. 6,500 of them are placed in boarding schools and 1,950 live with foster families (1,830 in standard foster families and 120 in special care foster families). 35 per cent of the children are placed out-of-home by court order and 65 per cent agree to out-of-home placement as a result of parental dysfunction or as a result of serious behavioural problems (such as acts of violence, involvement in sexual offences or post-hospitalization difficulties).

Residential facilities

Residential settings and boarding schools

393.In recent years the State has accelerated the development of new residential-care models. For instance, community-based residential settings and group homes have been established in collaboration with Non-Government organizations. The residences located in the child’s home community encourage her/his parents to participate in her/his daily activities and in decisions concerning her/him. In addition, family units are being built for twelve to fourteen member families. Some of the units are part of larger residential settings whereas others function as individual Group Homes scattered throughout the community. Some residential facilities provide a “Day-Care” programme where the children arrive in the morning and return to their family homes mid- afternoon.

Children and youth in residential facilities

Table 6

Presents status of placement in boarding schools by social services

Distribution by age

Number of children

(iii) 0–5

(iv) 62 (0.9%)

(v) 6–12

(vi) 2 400 (36.6%)

(vii) 13–18

(viii) 3 899 (59.5%)

(ix) 19 +

(x) 196 (3%)

Distribution by educational population

Children (in %)

(xiii) Arab and Druze

(xiv) 14%

(xv) State

(xvi) 45%

(xvii) State-religious

(xviii) 18.6%

(xix) Orthodox

(xx) 22.4%

Source: Welfare department the pedagogy clerkship – Welfare supervision department 2009.

Protecting the rights of children in out-of-home placements

Laws protecting children in out-of-home placements

394.Sections 368A-368F of the Penal Law addresses injuries to minors and defenceless persons. Amendment No. 94 to the Penal Law issued on 30 May 2007, added certain individuals to the definition of a family member (Section 368A(2)) including foster parents, their spouses, their parents or offspring, their siblings and the spouse of each of these.

395.The observation contained in paragraph 37(c) of the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child suggests a mechanism that investigates and monitors complaints and suspicion for abuse. This Amendment added Section 368D (c1), which creates a duty to report to the Police or to the Child Protection Authority any grounds that give rise to a suspicion of sexual offences performed against a minor or a defenceless person, by a family member who has not reached the age of eighteen years. Failure to report such abuse is a criminal offence, which carries a term of three months’ imprisonment. This Amendment also imposes a sentence of six months’ imprisonment on professionals who fail to report the abuse of a minor to the police or Child Protection Authority (e.g. physicians, nurses, educators, social workers, police officers, psychologists, criminologists, and school principals and staff; (Section 368D(c2)). The Amendment also imposes a sentence of six months’ imprisonment on the person responsible for a minor or a defenceless person who, despite having had reasonable ground to believe that a sexual offence was committed against the minor or defenceless person by a family member who had not reached the age of 18 years, failed to report the abuse to the Police or Child Protection Authority (Section 368D (c3)).

396.On 28 July 2000, the Knesset enacted the Infants at Risk (Entitlement to Day Care) Law 5760-2000 (The: “Infants at Risk Law”). This law was amended in 2002. According to Section 2 of the Law, infants at risk are infants who are less than three years old, and whose development is believed to be in jeopardy. A decision to this effect is made by a professional committee, which will order the stay of the infant in day care to avoid her/his removal from home.

397.According to Section 3 of the Infants at Risk Law, perilous situations applicable under the Law are:

-According to the evaluation of a social worker and a medical opinion given by a physician, the infant is either physically abused or her/his developmental needs are continually ignored.

-One of the parents does not function properly as a result of domestic violence, a mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, severe disability, retardation, prostitution, criminal behaviour or a chronic disease of one of the family members.

-The infant is evaluated and found to be able to develop normally. This determination must be made either by a paediatrician, who is an expert in child development, or a developmental psychologist. Moreover, the decision is to be accompanied by severe family circumstances which give rise to developmental problems or which actually cause them.

398.Section 4 of the Infants at Risk Law specifies the conditions that must be met, after an infant is found to be at risk, in order for the infant to stay in day care near her/his place of residence. The Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services, in conjunction with the Minister of Finance, determines the participation rate for the person obligated to pay child support, calculated based upon their income. The operator of the day care centre is responsible for 5 per cent of the total cost of the infants’ stay in day care. The local municipality will fund 25 per cent of the cost of the infant’s stay in day care, after deducting the amount funded by the day care operator and the payments of the person obliged to provide child support. This funding will not apply to infants at risk whose participation in day care is provided for by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services according to laws other than the Infants at Risk Law.

Case law

399.The Israeli Supreme Court residing as the High Court of Justice held that visitation arrangements agreed to by a divorced couple regarding their children, did not bind the children in question. As a rule, the Court stated that when an agreement regarding a minor’s welfare (such as a place of residence) is reached without considering the minor’s opinion, it might not be binding. The High Court of Justice clarified that a lower instance decision, which stated that a divorce agreement concerning alimony payable for a child does not bind the children involved, could be extended and applied to child visitation rights. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty both strengthen the recognition of the child as an independent entity who holds separate rights from those of her/his parents. (H.C.J 2898/03 Anonymous et. al. v. The High Rabbinical Court et. al. (21.1.2004)).

F.Article 21 – Adoption

Circumstances of adoption

400.Amendment No. 6 to the Children Adoption Law, (issued on 20 July 2004), stipulates that a court’s ruling that a child should be taken from her/his parents for adoption shall be given within twelve months of receiving the request for such a proclamation unless the court postponed its decision in view of reasons specified (Section 13(b)).

Case law

401.The Supreme Court recently ruled that an adoption should be a ‘closed adoption’ – therefore, from the date the adoption was approved, there should be no further contact between the biological parents and the adopted child.

402.The Court debated whether to allow contact between the biological mother and the child, as she had had supervised visitation rights for three years prior to the court hearings, thus rendering the adoption as an ‘open adoption’ (where some contact remains between the parties). The Court, after examining psychological reports admitted in earlier proceedings, as well as the report of a court-appointed psychologist, determined that it was in the child’s best interest to approve the adoption as a ‘closed adoption’ and, to deny further visitation with the biological mother. The Court found that further visitation would require the approval of the adoptive parents in order to avoid further confusion for the child and to prevent forcing him to take sides between the adoptive parents and the biological mother; and would also require the biological mother’s expressing opinions concerning the raising of the child. Such an opinion, assuming it would be a negative one, would significantly harm the child. The Court further determined that according to reports submitted by the adoptive parents, visitation with the biological mother was harmful to the emotional stability of the child, causing him to fear being detached from the family, to suffer sleep disorders, etc. The Court decided to approve the adoption as a ‘closed adoption’ and denied the biological mother’s appeal. (F.M.A 366/06 Anonymous v. The Attorney General (14.02.2007)).

Adoption in practice

403.In a recent case, the Supreme Court accepted an appeal submitted by a father who requested the cancellation of a decision which declared that his minor child was adoptable, since he had not been aware of the proceedings. The Court noted that the declaration of a minor as adoptable would not be reversed if it would cause the minor significant harm. The court would only revoke such a decision after having examined the child’s wellbeing. The Court considered the rights of the biological parent and the interest of the adoptive parents. (F.M.A 778/09 The Attorney General v. Anonymous et. al. (29.11.09)).

404.On 21 April 2005 the Supreme Court decided to revoke a decision handed down by the District Court, and determined that the child in question was eligible for adoption, despite the fact that the child’s biological father did not know of his existence nor of the decision to give him up for adoption. The mother, who gave the child up immediately after giving birth, refused to reveal details of the child’s father; and therefore the welfare authorities could not locate him, and determined that the child was eligible for adoption with regard to both biological parents. The father learned that he fathered a child only after the mother changed her mind, and began legal proceedings in order to regain custody of the child. Upon learning of the existence of the child, the father made efforts to have the decision regarding the child’s status revoked.

405.The legal proceedings were conducted over a period of two years, during which the child was raised by a foster care family that intended to adopt him. The potential adoptive parents appealed to participate in the legal proceedings as they believed that they represented the child’s best interest.

406.The Supreme Court held that the father did not express his desire to raise the child immediately upon receiving information regarding his existence, but rather hesitated for a few months, and that this period of time was crucial for the child.

407.The Court emphasized that the first period of time in a child’s life is the most significant with regard to the relationship formed with the primary caregivers. The Court stressed that continuity and stability in the relationship was extremely important for a child’s development. The longer the child stays with the potential adoptive parents, the graver the damage to the child if her/his is removed and therefore the greater the weight of the interest of the potential adoptive parents. Moreover, removing the minor from the custody of the individuals he views as “psychological parents” could result in damage to the minor, and may render him a minor at risk, who needs parents with special parental skills, the kind of skills that his biological parents lacked. The Supreme Court held that the child in question would therefore stay with the adoptive parents, as he should not have to pay a heavy price solely to ease the pain of his biological parents. (F.M.A 377/05 Anonymous and Anonymous v. Anonymous et. al.(21.4.2005)).

408.In another case, the Supreme Court debated whether a minor could be declared eligible for adoption, after the mother put him up for adoption and refused to reveal the identity of the father but did provide several details about him in the event that the child would need the information at a later point in life.

409.The Court considered the right of the biological father to know his child, the right of the biological mother to give her child up for adoption, and her interest in not providing details of the biological father, and the right of the child to know his parents and be raised by them, as well as the public interest in encouraging adoptions that might be endangered if the biological mother was forced to reveal the identity of the biological father, and the public interest to know the identity of one’s biological parents. The Court determined that a child can be declared as being eligible for adoption despite the fact that the biological father is unknown and that forcing disclosure of the father’s identity might reduce the number of adoptions and harm the relevant children’s best interest. (F.M.A 5082/05 The Attorney General v. Anonymous et. al. (26.10.05 )).

Inter-country adoption

410.Section 28 of the Child Adoption Law is the primary section stipulating the conditions for inter-country adoption. Amendment No. 5 dated 5 July 2004 modified several provisions. The amendment also modified several provisions regarding inter-country adoption.

411.In Section 28G that defines the eligibility of an Israeli person to request inter-country adoption, the Amendment replaces the words ‘permanent resident’ with “an Israeli citizen, or a person holding a “Teudat Ole” (provided by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption), a document stating that a person is a “New Immigrant” (to Israel)”. In addition, a permanent resident is eligible to adopt from abroad provided she/he resides in Israel for a period of three out of the last five years prior to the submission of the adoption request or twelve out of the eighteen months prior to the submission of the request. The Amendment also stipulates that the request should be submitted with additional information from a social worker regarding the competence of the person to be an adoptive parent.

412.The Amendment also amended Section 28H that requires the prospective parents to hand over an evaluation by the social workers to the adoption agency of information received from the prospective parents which attests to their competence as parents.

413.Further, the Amendment amended Sections 28–33 of the Child Adoption Law, which sections stipulate that an adoption agency shall not request, charge or receive, directly or indirectly, payments in return for inter-country adoption, in Israel or abroad, save for authentic expenses paid by the agency towards the adoption.

414.Sections 28–36(a) were amended to stipulate that if the competent authorities in the relevant foreign country affirmed the issuance of an adoption decree or the granting of a judgment, in terms of which the adoption is made final, the legal status of the adoption in Israel will be the same as intra-country adoption, provided that the relevant authorities have determined that the adoption is in the best interest of the child and does not offend public morality.

415.According to the Central Authority for Inter-Country Adoptions in the Department of Personal and Societal Services in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, between 1999 and 2007, a total of 2,059 children were adopted abroad and brought to Israel. Most of these children arrived from the Ukraine, Romania, and Russia. The following tables demonstrate the number of children arriving per year and the total number of children adopted in each country.

Table 7

Countries of adoption, 1999–2007 (in absolute numbers)

The country

Number of children

Ukraine

692

Russia

629

Romania

381

Guatemala

115

Belarus

79

Georgia

39

Moldova

39

Kazakhstan

25

Azerbaijan

19

Kirgizstan

17

Bulgaria

17

Other

7

Source: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, 2008.

G.Articles 19 and 39 – Abuse and neglect, recovery and reintegration

Legislation

416.Amendment No. 6 to the Special Education Law was issued on 24 July 2002. This Amendment obligates the Minister of Education to promulgate regulation regarding the placement of children with disabilities in educational institutions. The idea is to allocate placement based on requests made by parents, in addition to the receipt of a professional opinion affirming that the child has a severe disability which requires her/his placement in the educational institution and that her/his integration in a regular educational institution is not feasible. Furthermore, the regulations promulgated should include information for parents with reference to the rights of children with disabilities and alternative educational institutions which are available to them.

417.Amendment No. 7 to the Special Education Law supplemented the Law to define disability as including physical, mental, intellectual, emotional-behavioural, cognitive, linguistic or any other developmental problem. The Amendment supplements regulation regarding the integration of a child with disabilities in the regular education system.

418.The purpose of the Amendment was to ensure that services of the same quality were provided to children integrated in regular schools as those provided to children in special educational institutions. The Amendment further obligates the inclusion of children with disabilities within the regular education system while increasing the annual budget designated for this purpose (See recommendations of the Dorner Committee, above). The Compulsory Education Law was amended in 2007 (Amendment No. 29). The Compulsory Education Law applies to children aged 3 years and older. (See also under: “The right to life, survival and development of children with disabilities” chapter IV (A) above).

419.A 2002 Amendment to the Rehabilitative Day-care Centers Law 5760-2000 (the: “Rehabilitative Day-care Centers Law”), expanded the basket of services provided to infants with disabilities to include not only treatment and educational services available in rehabilitation day-care centres, but also the infants’ transportation from their private residence to day-care and back. When transported, the child is accompanied by an adult, other than the driver, who is available to assist the child when necessary.

420.According to a 2005 Amendment to the Rehabilitative Day-care Centers Law, a rehabilitation day-care centre provides treatment and education throughout the day to a minimum of ten infants with disabilities, either through the central rehabilitation day-care centre or through one of its smaller branches. A Rehabilitative Day-care extension is considered to be one which provides treatment to a minimum of six infants with autism, hearing deficiency, sight deficiency or other recognized deficiency, or an infant whose place of residence is located over 25 kilometres outside the area of the original rehabilitation day-care centre.

421.According to a 2008 Amendment, an infant with a disability is a child between six months to three years of age, who is entitled to the NII pension; or is a child between one and three years of age with respect to whom it was determined, by a Diagnosis Committee, that the child suffers from a developmental disability. The 2008 Amendment stipulated that a recognized child development institute is qualified to determine the immediate placement of such an infant in a rehabilitation day-care centre under certain circumstances in order to prevent significant damage to the child. This Amendment entered into force in February 2009.

The Penal Law

422.Amendment No. 59 to the Penal Law, enacted on 29 March 2001, replaces Section 361 of the Law (See under parents’ legal responsibilities, above). If an act was performed negligently, the offender may be sentenced to one years’ imprisonment. However, if an act was committed in order to abandon the child, the offender may be sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

The Prevention of Stalking Law 5762-2001 (the: “Stalking Law”)

423.The Stalking Law, enacted on 16 October 2001 amended the Prevention of Domestic Violence Law 5751-1991 (the: “Prevention of Domestic Violence Law”) to include subsection 2(h1) which stipulates that when a court considers an appeal for a protective order according to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Law, it may also issue an order to prevent stalking the Prevention of Stalking Law.

424.Amendment No. 15 to the Youth (Supervision and Care) Law issued on 30 October 2001 stipulates that a court considering the interests of a minor, may issue a restraining order against stalking, according to the Stalking Law (Section 3A).

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Law

425.Amendment No. 9 to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Law was enacted on 21 March 2007. The Amendment supplements Section 3A which states that a request for a protection order against a minor shall only be submitted to the Family Matters Court (Section 3A(a)). The following orders will apply to the request presented by a family member (Section 3A (b)):

-The court will refer the applicant and the minor to the ‘Assistance Unit’ within the court (Section 3A(b)(1)).

-The Assistance Unit shall inform the court if the parties were able to find a solution to the conflict and the recommendation of the Assistance Unit on the issue (Section 3A(b)(2)).

-If the parties were unable to find a solution, the Assistance Unit will inform the minor of her/his right to be represented by a lawyer in a court hearing according to the Legal Aid Law 5732-1972 (the “Legal Aid Law), unless the minor chooses to be represented by a lawyer of her/his choice (Section 3A(b)(3)).

426.The court will consider the circumstances of the matter and the best interest of the minor, against which the protective order is requested. The aim of the protective order against a minor is to defend a family member (or particular persons) that the minor constitutes a threat to. If the court finds that there is a need to issue a protective order, it may issue such an order subsequent to granting the minor the opportunity to appear before the court. However, the court shall not issue a protective order according to Section 2(a)(1) to the Law, stipulating a prohibition against entering the home of her/his family member, unless an appropriate out of home arrangement was reached for the minor and only after receiving the evaluation of a social worker (Section 3A(b)(4)).

427.Amendment No. 9 also amended the Legal Aid Lawregarding the availability of legal assistance which is granted to a minor whose family member applied for a protective order against her/him. Such an order is available in terms of Section 3 of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Law, in a hearing under Section 3A (b) (4) or an appeal on a decision reached under this section. The representation is not subject to a written request for assistance and cannot be terminated according to Sections 3 and 4 of the Legal Aid Law. However, an appeal regarding a decision reached by a court regarding a minor may be subject to termination according to Section 4 of the Legal Aid Law.

428.Amendment No. 11 issued on 4 March 2008 supplements Section 4 to include subsection (d), which stipulates that the court can deny a request for a protection order only after granting the applicant or her/his attorney an opportunity to present their claims verbally, unless the court finds that there are irregular circumstances and for reasons that will be recorded. This section is inclusive to minors and adults.

429.According to the Compulsory Education (Physical Violence Reporting Rules) Regulations 5770-2009, the Principal of an educational institution will report in writing to the supervisor of such institution any occurrence of physical violence between an educator and a pupil (Section 2(a) (1)). In addition, incidents of physical violence that take place within the educational institute or during school hours that resulted in injury must be reported (Section 2(a) (2)). Such a report is submitted immediately, as well as conveyed to the district supervisor of the school in question (Section 3).

Case law

430.The Israeli High Court of Justice struggled with the legal presumption that parents enjoy a legal and moral right over their minor children, which is to be free from State interference. The High Court of Justice held that childrearing is not absolute and it is subject to the child’s best interest and her/his right to a good life as a separate entity. Thus, the State is entitled to intervene in the parent’s prerogative when circumstances present themselves – that is if the child’s welfare or wellbeing is placed at stake. According to the principle legal presumption, parents are the sole legal guardians of their minor children; though, the State has discretion to act when necessary. In the case at hand, the Supreme Court held that the parent’s lack of desire to keep in contact with their minor children despite the children’s continuous need, indicated a lack of competence on behalf of the parents. The parents petition to “subordinate” their children to their authority was therefore denied. (H.C.J 927/05 Anonymous et. al. v. The Social Welfare Departments – Municipality of Bnei-Brak et. al. (15.5.2006).

431.A mentally ill mother appealed to the Supreme Court after her children were declared to be “needy minors.” These children had no father involved in their lives and their mother was ill. The Family Matters Court revoked the mother’s custody and ordered the Netanya Welfare Authority to serve as primary custodian. The mother submitted an appeal to the District Court, but it was rejected. A second appeal was submitted to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rejected the appeal since the lower instance court had already examined the wellbeing of the children, and thus there was no reason to interfere with its decision. Moreover, the Supreme Court held that since the mother was not capable of raising the minors and there were no other family members responsible for the kids, the Welfare Authorities were required to care for the children, afford them a good life and end their deterioration. (C.M.A 369/08 Anonymous v. The Welfare Authority of Natanya (10.4.08)).

432.In another Case, the Supreme Court discussed the implementation of Section 12 of the Youth (Care and Supervision) Law. This Section enables the court to use its discretion with respect to temporary custody orders. The court acknowledged the parents right to childrearing, but it also established the boundaries. Such limitations include the child’s right to a good life and to a minimum standard of living. When the parents do not fulfil their parental duties and responsibilities, the State may take over. The Supreme Court emphasized that Section 12 is feasible only when the child is legally defined as a “needy minor” or in immediate need of assistance. Under such circumstances, such assistance is necessary for the child’s wellbeing. Significant consideration must be given to the harm that can be caused to a child by her/his neglectful or unfit parents as well as the harm that can be caused by revoking parental custody. Revocation of parental rights may only occur as an act of last resort, in exceptional cases and in order to maintain the child’s wellbeing. (6041/02 Anonymous et. al. v. Anonymous et. al. (12.7.2004)).

Non-governmental organizations

433.The Beit Lynn Center is a child protection centre based in Jerusalem, which serves minors who have been victims of sexual, physical and psychological abuse. In order to provide holistic care, Beit Lynn employs a team of professionals from several sectors of the work force, including a child protection officer, a child investigator, a youth investigator, a housemother, a paediatrician, and an attorney. This team works jointly so as to ensure sensitive and holistic treatment is provided in each case of abuse. Beit Lynn serves several of the minor’s most immediate needs, and for example provides immediate intervention when necessary and offers children and youth a safe environment in which to seek shelter. Beit Lynn also provides medical check-ups and initial urgent treatment; as well as referrals and recommendations for further treatment. In addition, Beit Lynn aims to prevent further trauma to the youth by shortening and centralizing the interview and diagnosis process which follows reports of abuse.

434.The Haruv Institute is dedicated toward the development of a capable and skillful professional community able to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of children who have suffered from various types of abuse and/or neglect. In pursuit of this end, Haruv provides high-level study and training programmes for professionals working in the field of child abuse and neglect, and has developed a range of advanced approaches and methodologies in the prevention of abuse, and the care of children who have been abused and/or neglected. Professionals who attend the seminars and programmes offered by Haruv are drawn from diverse sectors of the workforce, including welfare, education, health, judiciary, local authorities, and academia. In addition to its work with individual professionals, Haruv works with both governmental and non-governmental agencies which operate in the field of child welfare. Through this interaction, Haruv has contributed to the formation and influence of Israeli public opinion and social policies. Finally, Haruv brings together local and international experts working in the field of child care, and thereby ensures a fruitful exchange of information and ideas.

VI.Basic health and welfare

A.Article 23 – Children with disabilities

Table 8

Pupils with special needs in primary and post-primary education according to the type of disability and type of setting, 2006–2007

Type of disability*

Type of setting

Total

Type of setting

Total

Integrated

Special classes

Special schools

Integrated

Special classes

Special schools

Percentages

Absolute numbers

Total **

100

100

100

100

65 728

23 687

16 829

106 244

Developmental delay

6.5

0.5

0.6

3.9

3 405

129

109

3 643

Language disorders

3.7

0.6

0.1

2.2

1 930

135

9

2 074

Learning disability

67.1

72

18.3

59.5

34 963

17 051

3 066

55 080

Behaviour al disturbance

10.2

5.1

16.6

10

5 286

1 207

2 792

9 285

Borderline IQ

4.2

11.8

-

5.4

2 177

2 785

-

4 962

Suspicion of mild retardation

-

0.5

0

0.1

-

115

6

121

Mild retardation

0.5

1.2

12.1

2.8

276

278

2 023

2 577

Moderate retardation

0.1

0.7

12.8

2.6

48

176

2 146

2 370

Multiple diagnosis moderate retardation

-

0.1

9.5

1.7

-

18

1 599

1 617

Severe/profound retardation

-

-

12

2.2

-

-

2 019

2 019

Cerebral palsy/severe physical handicaps

1.1

0.4

4.5

1.5

553

101

762

1 416

Autism

0.6

4

5.5

2.4

323

946

918

2 187

Psychiatric disorders

0.4

0.2

5.5

1.3

223

36

916

1 175

Rare diseases

0.5

-

-

0.3

257

-

-

257

Deafness/hearing impairment

3.5

3

2.1

3.1

1 813

710

351

2 874

Blindness/vision impairment

1.6

-

0.4

1

818

-

67

885

Source: Statistical Abstract of Israel , CBS, Central Bureau of Statistic. 2009.

* Type of disability is determined by the type of class in which the pupil is enrolled, except for pupils in integrated classes, for whom the source of the data is based on the main disability assessed by the integration committee.

** Including pupils in special schools who have not been characterized by type of class, as well as pupils in integrated classes who have not been characterized by type of disability.

Table 9

The number of children who received prostheses, medical devices for rehabilitation and mobility, all funded by the Ministry of Health in accordance with age and diagnosis (2008)

Diagnosis

Total

Age

0–4

5–9

10–14

15–17

Prosthesis

Total

65

18

23

13

11

Congenital Malf.

63

18

22

12

11

Tumor

2

0

1

1

3

Device for rehabilitation or mobility

Total

1 282

306

564

326

86

Cerebral palsy

911

217

402

242

50

Spina Bifida

122

32

49

31

10

Polio

10

1

3

5

1

Cong. Malf.

94

29

36

21

8

Muscular Dystrophy

33

2

18

8

5

Hemiplegia

112

25

56

19

12

Medical shoes

Total

232

12

48

94

78

Cong. Malf.

132

11

37

46

38

Cerebral palsy

63

0

1

35

27

Polio

6

0

2

1

3

Other

31

1

8

12

10

Source: The Ministry of Health, Lewis Institute, Tel Hashomer, 2008.

Table 10

Provision of hearing aids between the ages of 0 and 18, according to year and type of device

Year

Referrals

FM *

Bilateral

Unilateral

2006

1 436

176

585

266

2007

-

174

610

356

2008

-

135

567

235

Source: The Ministry of Health, Department of Mother, Child and Adolescent Health, 2009.

“Aleh Negev” (“The Southern Israel leaf”)

435.Aleh is an organization that provides services to children with severe cognitive and physical disabilities, as well as making employment available to the adult residents. These services consist of high-quality medical care. Aleh Negev is a modern communal Rehabilitative Village situated in the city of Ofakim. It is home to over 500 residential adults with disabilities and each year serves approximately 12,000 children and young people with disabilities based on an outpatient treatment method. The village also provides vocational training, occupational therapy and medical facilities. Approximately 650 severely disabled children receive the best possible care, educational and rehabilitative treatments. Aleh cares for children with serious medical conditions such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome and genetic disorders. Many of the children learn how to overcome their handicaps and conduct themselves in the same manner as other children. Many of Aleh’s children come from families lacking the financial resources or time to adequately care for their children.

“Mechina L’Chaim”

436.The “Mechina L’Chaim” (“Readiness for Life”) programme was established in 2005. To date, “Readiness for Life” has enrolled 68 physically disabled, blind and visually disabled young people in two regions – Bustan Hagalil in the north, and Sderot and Netivot in the south. The programme is operated by JDC-Ashalim, associated with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, the NII and the “Kivunim” and “Gvanim” associations. This project is a two-year residential programme designed to assist young adults with disabilities who are between the ages of eighteen and twenty with the transition to an autonomous, independent and productive adult life. It offers these young adults an alternative to other frameworks for people their age, such as IDF service, National Service and higher education common among young adults. In the course of the programme the young adults share their lives with peers who also face challenges with their own disabilities and volunteer for the National Service program. This programme assists its graduates to settle in life, find group apartments and become accustomed to their independence.

Rates of disability and handicap among children in Israel

437.In 2007, 300,000 disabled or chronically ill children resided in Israel, comprising 12.8 per cent of the total child population of the country. Approximately 190,000 children (out of the 293,000) were disabled or suffered from a chronic illness that affected their daily functioning and had persisted for more than one year. These children comprised 7.7 per cent of the total child population. (See Chapter IV General principles above).

438.In accordance with the 2008 report of the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities, most disabled people living in Israel are not born with the disabilities but rather become disabled at some point during their life.

The system of services available for disabled children in Israel

The health system

439.When developmental problems are suspected, or when they are discovered by a primary care physician or nurse at a family health centre, the child is usually referred to a centre for child development. There are 29 such centres in Israel: eleven are operated by the Ministry of Health, nine by Clalit Health Funds (Israel’s largest health fund) five by the Maccabi Health Fund, two by the Meuhedet Health Fund and two by the kibbutz movement and the Sisters of Mercy in Nazareth. Most of the centres are operated by the Ministry of Health and located in hospitals.

440.The needs of children with non-physical disabilities who require care beyond the age of 6 years old (when their eligibility for care under the National Health Insurance Law ends) are not being met. If deemed eligible by a Placement Committee, these children receive care from the special education system. Most children with non-physical disabilities who receive care at a child development centre are ineligible for special education and have been included within the regular educational system. The children receive assistance through the “Reinforcement Basket,” which only partially covers their needs. Other needs are met by ongoing programmes, offered in other frameworks.

441.Section 7 of the second appendix of Amendment No. 43 to the National Health Insurance Law stipulated what Paramedical Servicesincluded when it came to Child Development. For children aged 7 to 18 who are diagnosed as Autistic – children whose diagnosis is located on the Autistic spectrum by the DSM-4 (the leading guidance book accepted by the international medical community) are entitled to multi-professional medical team treatment. Such services are granted subject to an observation by a neurologist of an Israeli Health Fund or subject to a medical opinion provided by a Paediatrician who is specialized in Child Development.

442.A further problem relates to the implementation of the National Health Insurance Law, which rendered the Health Funds responsible for financing developmental services for children under the age of eight. According to this law, these services are conditional upon a co-payment being made by the parents of the child; however, co-payments cover only a small proportion of the cost of service – which may be substantial, if a child requires more than one type of service, or if a family has a limited income. In the past, parents could petition a special committee to be exempted from having to make the co-payment.

Mental health services for children and adolescents

443.Services for children whose mental health problems require them to be hospitalized are provided in the in-patient departments of hospitals for the mentally ill. There are a total of thirteen in-patient departments for minors under the age of eighteen located in general and mental hospitals.

Table 11

The number of minors admitted to mental health facilities according to religious-national denominations between the years 2006 and 2008

Religious affiliation

2006

2007

2008 (January–June)

Jewish

861

775

391

Muslim

71

78

44

Christian

11

6

5

Druze

2

6

6

Other

78

72

28

Total

1 023

937

474

Source: The Ministry of Health, 2008.

444.According to the above data there are approximately 1,000 hospitalizations of minors under eighteen per annum, of which 83 per cent–84 per cent are Jewish, 9 per cent–11 per cent are Muslim, Christian and Druze, and 6 per cent–7 per cent are of another affiliation.

445.As of 2008, there are 65 out-patient clinics for children and adolescents. During 2007, 11,300 minors were treated in out-patient clinics, with 147,400 individual sessions.

446.The in-patient hospitalization of minors is regulated by two laws – the Treatment of Mentally Ill Law and the Youth (Care and Supervision) Law. In recent years, in accordance with these laws, hospitals do not report all hospitalizations of minors, but only hospitalizations of those who have suffered from a mental illness and posed a violent threat. According to the Treatment of Mentally Ill Law, an expert psychiatrist reviews all hospitalizations of minors (Section 3). A minor’s custodian can request the admission of the minor to a psychiatric hospital as well as consent on her/his behalf to treatments received during the hospitalization (Section 4a (b)). However, if a minor who has reached the age of fifteen refuses to be admitted, a court order is necessary in order to admit the minor. Such order is issued based on regular causes cited in cases of the compulsory hospitalization of minors (Section 4a(c)). If the minor has not yet reached the age of fifteen and her /his caregivers understand that, she/he does not consent to the hospitalization; a District Psychiatric Committee shall make the relevant decision. The Committee is comprised of professionals: a psychiatrist specializing in children and adolescents, a clinical child psychologist, an educational psychologist and a social worker (Section 4a (d)). A minor who has reached the age of fifteen may request of her/his own free will to be admitted to a psychiatric ward; if the custodian refuses, court approval is necessary (Section 4b). The District Psychiatric Committee for Children and Youth also functions as consultant to the court and has the authority to decide whether or not to continue the hospitalization of an individual minor.

447.The Mentally Ill Law was amended by Amendment No. 14 to the Youth Law. According to the Amendment, psychiatric examination, treatment orders etc. can only be issued by psychiatrists who have specialized in child psychiatry.

448.In 2008, the Ministry of Health sponsored an annual meeting to discuss mental health issues that was open to the public. Over 1,000 people participated in the meeting, including mental health professionals, non-profit associations and families. Emphasis was placed on attempts to de-stigmatize and rehabilitate disabled individuals in the community.

449.In order to promote children’s rights to health care in general, and mental health care in particular, the Mental Health Services of the Ministry of Health, along with other institutions, carried out a nation-wide study: “The prevalence of mental disorders among adolescents in Israel.” The purpose of this research was to identify the relevant areas of need and to recognize groups at high risk for mental disorders, in order to plan appropriate services to cope with the needs The research included 1,000 adolescents (together with their mothers), aged 14 to 17, who were from different population groups. Preliminary analyses revealed that the prevalence of mental disorders among adolescents in Israel is 11.7 per cent, similar to the prevalence in other western countries. No significant differences in prevalence of mental disorders were found between Jewish and Arab adolescents, but it was found that there was higher risk of having a mental disorder for children of divorced parents, dysfunctional families, children who have a learning disability or children who suffer from a chronic disease. The study also provided important data regarding geographic regions that may not have access to treatment. The study will help to facilitate plans for the treatment of mentally ill children and adolescents that most require such treatment.

The social welfare system

The National Insurance Institute

Children with disabilities

450.The National Insurance Institute pays a special benefit on behalf of disabled children, defined as follows: children under eighteen (including an adopted or step-child) of an insured person, or of an insured person who died as an Israeli resident, who is of the following:

-A child (from age three) dependent on the help of others for the performance of everyday functions (dressing, eating, washing, mobility in the home, and requires the permanent presence of another, as defined in the regulations) to a degree significantly greater than is normal for her/his age group.

-A child (over 91 days) in need of constant supervision.

-A child with a special impairment, that is (from birth) Down’s syndrome or deterioration in hearing, or (over 91 days) vision impairment, Autism, psychosis or severe developmental disabilities (the latter till the age of three).

-A child (over 91 days) in need of special medical treatment as defined in the regulations, due to a severe chronic disease.

Table 12

Children receiving National Insurance Institute disability benefits in 2008 by age (in absolute numbers)

Year

Total number of recipients (thousands)

Aged 0–3

Aged 3–8

Aged 8–18

Annual increase ( per cent )

1990

5.8

-

-

-

7.7 (1986–1990)

1995

10.3

-

-

-

12.2 (1991–1995)

2001

16.4

-

-

-

7.2

2003

18.36

1.46

4.57

12.67

5.1

2004

19.54

1.58

4.86

13.09

6.0

2005

21.09

1.7

5.2

14.04

7.2

2006

22.2

1.81

5.47

14.91

6.0

2007

23.81

1.89

5.84

16.06

7.2

2008

25.25

1.97

6.17

17.11

6.3

Source: The National Insurance Institute, Publications, Statistical Quarterly, 2008.

451.In 2008 (monthly average) the number of benefit recipients (on behalf of children with disabilities) increased by 6.1 per cent. That is 25,255 recipients as compared with 23,810 recipients during 2007.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

452.As noted, the social welfare department has primary responsibility for providing out-of-home care. At present, 1,500 children with developmental problems and a small number of children with other disabilities, reside in various frameworks. A small number of children currently reside in several community-housing frameworks. One is for children with mental disorders and the other is for children with physical disorders. While most of the community-housing frameworks serve children with mild disabilities, four new facilities are geared for severely mentally disabled children. In recent years, after-school and holiday activities are operated for mentally disabled children as well as for children residing at rehabilitation centres. Autistic children are provided with out-of-home activities like all children. The services are financed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services.

The education system

453.In Israel, there are approximately 46,000 pupils in the special education system; which incorporates special kindergartens, special schools and special classrooms in regular schools. Between the years 2002–2005, the rate of school pupils in special schools and special classrooms in regular schools grew by approximately 16 per cent. In that time period, the number of kindergarten-aged children in special kindergartens grew by approximately 26 per cent. In 2005, approximately 72,164 children with disabilities were integrated within the regular education system.

454.Among the special education children, the number of children with learning disorders makes up 38 per cent of the total number of children with disabilities. Most of the children in this group studied in special classrooms in regular schools. A significant group of children who study in the special education system is comprised of children with mental disabilities, who constitute roughly 20 per cent of all the children in the system (for more details regarding learning disabilities see: Chapter IV (A)-Personal assistance- and for special education in the minority populations see Chapter VI).

455.Two groups of disabled children in the special education system are of special interest: those who are blind or have impaired vision, and those who are deaf or have impaired hearing. Although these children are portrayed as being part of the special education system, most have been mainstreamed into the regular system and attend regular classes, receive special education assistance and assistive devices that enable them to function like other pupils. These two groups, along with children who have learning disabilities, are the only ones mainstreamed into the regular education system as a group.

Children with disabilities attending regular schools

456.The Ministry of Education allocates some 84,000 weekly special education hours (integration hours) for mainstreamed pupils. Each local authority is allocated a quota of teaching hours based on the number of pupils in its jurisdiction, the school’s “development index,” and the percentage of pupils with minor disabilities who are referred to Placement Committees in an effort to encourage their mainstreaming. A Local Resource Center for Special Education Services is the operational organizational division of the inclusive education; it provides educational services dependent on the regulation of the special education in every municipality.

457.The Ministry of Education allocates 350 positions for full-time assistants to pupils with severe physical disabilities who have been mainstreamed into regular schools and require assistance. The Dorner Committee recommended that placement and assistance, as well as the characterization of the children’s needs, should be performed based on the children’s specific functioning abilities rather than the type of deficiency. The current resources appear limited, and are provided mainly to children with severe disabilities. As a result, the Dorner Committee concluded that the current budgeting method is too rigid and does not always enable appropriate treatment to be provided to children with disabilities. Thus, the Committee recommended budgeting be performed on the basis of a model called: “Funding according to needs – system,” namely that the budget is determined by the characteristics of every child. These recommendations are already in effect.

The involvement of parents and children in determining placement and a programme of care

Case law

458.The Nazareth District Court, residing as an Administrative Court, was asked to address a decision of the Ministry of Education to close a school for children with disabilities in the village of Al-Dihi. The school’s closure was the result of a decline in the number of pupils from 32 (which is the minimum according to the Ministry’s regulations) to eighteen. Such a decrease in the number of pupils required the placement of seven different age groups in one classroom (a maximum difference of three age groups is allowed in unique circumstances according to the regulations). This situation caused financial cutbacks within the local authority and a decision to cutback was approved by the District Director of the Ministry of Education. The decision was annulled by the District Court, which stated that the District Director’s approval was issued in contradiction to the principles of proper governance. In the school year following the court order, only nineteen pupils attended; therefore, in accordance with the Ministry’s regulations, a reduction was made in the number of classrooms.

459.During the re-examination of the above mentioned decision, consideration was given to the opinions of parents, the suitability of alternative placements for the pupils in light of their disabilities, the opinions of relevant Ministry personnel, etc. Nevertheless, the decision to close the school was once again reached.

460.The parents petitioned the decision again, questioning the sincerity of the reasoning given in the decision to close down the school. The Court determined that the Ministry of Education’s decision was reached after proper examination and consideration of the best interests of the pupils. Moreover, the decision allowed the parents to choose from three different schools and promised the full cooperation of the Ministry’s personnel in registration and integration into these schools. Therefore, the Court rejected the petition and the decision to close the school was finalized. (Ad.P 1114/07 The Board of Parents for the School of Bustan-Almargh et. al v. The Ministry of Education, et. al. (30.07.07)).

Discounts and tax breaks

461.The parents of disabled children receive tax breaks and discounts on fees as compensation for having to invest financial and other resources in the care of their children. These include:

-Parents with a physically disabled, blind or autistic child, or a child with an emotional disorder or chronic illness, are eligible for an income tax credit; they are also eligible for these credits if the child resides in an out-of-home framework.

-Parents of a child with disabilities may receive a discount of up to 25 per cent on their municipal taxes, at the discretion of the local authority.

-Parents of a child who receives a full disability benefit, and parents of a blind child or a child undergoing dialysis, are eligible for discounted telephone services. The discounts include a 50 per cent reduction on regular monthly charges; 60 free telephone units per month for a disabled child and 300 units for a blind child; and a 50 per cent reduction on the cost of the installation or transfer of telephone lines. Parents with two children who each receive a full disability benefit are eligible for double discounts.

The accessibility of public areas and services

462.In September 2008, new regulations were promulgated, requiring the modification of various public sites to accord with the needs of persons with disabilities. The Equal Rights for People with Disabilities(Site Accessibility Adjustments) Regulations 5768-2008, laid down the accessibility requirements for archaeological sites, national parks and nature reserves, as well as other areas, mainly forests, managed by the Jewish National Fund or on its behalf. According to these Regulations, new sites are not to open for public use unless the accessibility requirements are met (Section 5). Existing sites are compelled to gradually meet the requirements within ten years (Section 7).

463.Recently, a number of resort sites have been made accessible for the disabled with the help of funds from the National Insurance Institute. The duty of the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities, among other things, is to enforce the law, and thus the Commission insists on the implementation of any law or regulation that concerns persons with disabilities.

464.On 1 August 2009, a new Directive dealing with accessibility entered into force. This Directive enforced accessibility for people with a disability in public places, and was added to the Planning and Construction (Permit Application Conditions and Fees) Regulations 5730-1970. The new accessibility Directive applies to all public structures as opposed to limited developments (public buildings and other forms of construction) that are legally obligated to make public areas accessible as required by the Directive. The scope of the new Amendment is extensive and details modification, accommodation and accessibility for persons with disabilities. Moreover, these Directives are applicable to different kind of disabilities, considerably more than the previous directives, including blindness, hearing deficiencies, physical disabilities and so on.

465.In addition, a number of dispensations included for the families of disabled children are meant to ease access. For example, special parking permits are given to the parents of children who have lower limb motor disorders or who need a respirator. These permits allow them to park in spaces designated for disabled drivers, as well as to park free of charge in areas where parking is available for a fee. The parents of children with mobility problems (i.e., who have been declared to be at a 60 per cent degree of disability by the District Health Bureau or have been designated by a physician as having a disability that requires a motor vehicle for purposes of mobility) are exempt from annual motor vehicle registration fees.

466.For children, access to schools is particularly important. According to the Planning and Building Law 5725-1965 (the: “Planning and Building Law”) and the Planning and Building Regulations (Permit Application-Permit Terms and Fees) 5730-1970, a permit will be denied for the construction of a public building that does not comply with regulations concerning access for the disabled. According to these Regulations, in schools and other public structures, only one storey need be accessible to the disabled. As such, even when the Law is implemented, it is difficult for disabled children to become integrated into schools – a fact often cited as the primary difficulty with mainstreaming disabled children.

Case law

467.An NGO, together with parents of children with disabilities, petitioned the Supreme Court to order the State to finance the integration of children with disabilities (who are deemed fit) into ordinary schools. Such integration would require the State to finance personal assistance for the children. The petitioners claimed that the right to education is a fundamental one, and therefore, should not be confined to financing the children’s education in special schools, but rather their integration into ordinary schools. In this way, equality would be achieved for children who study in special education schools. If the State did not cover the costs, it would compel parents without means to send their children to special schools despite the fact that they were found fit to be integrated into the ordinary system. The Court determined that the right to education is a fundamental one, which is enshrined both in article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in articles 28 and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Court stipulated that the right to special education derives from the right to education, even if it was yet to be determined whether the right to education was part of the right to human dignity. Moreover, the Court referred to Article 23(2) of the Convention, which stipulates that the States recognize the rights of disabled children.

468.In light of the Supreme Court ruling that both customary and treaty law affect Israeli law, since Israeli law operates under the presumption of compatibility between the domestic law and international norms Israel has undertaken to uphold; human rights treaties constitute an important tool for the interpretation of national legislation, and serve to further enhance and entrench international human rights norms in the domestic sphere.

469.Therefore, the Court determined that the purposive interpretation of the Special Education Law obligates the State to execute the law in an equal manner, which means changing the budgetary policy to enable allocation of budget to both the special schools, and children with disabilities in ordinary schools. (H.C.J. 2599/00 Yated – Non-Profit Organization for Parents of Children with Down Syndrome v. The Ministry of Education (14.8.02)). For that reason the Dorner Committee was established and its recommendations, as cited above, have since been implemented.

B.Articles 6 and 24 – Health and health services

A right to a dignified death

470.On 6 December2005, the Knesset enacted the Terminally Ill Law in response to the medical-ethical dilemma presented by the treatment of terminally ill patients. The Law is based on the recommendations of a public committee appointed by the Minister of Health in 2000.

471.The Law presumes that every person has the will to continue living, unless proven otherwise. Furthermore, in the event of doubt, the will to live shall be presumed (Section 4). One shall not avoid granting medical treatment to a terminally ill patient unless it is clear, according to specific conditions, that the patient has no will to continue living (Section 5). If the terminally ill patient has “capacity,” meaning that she/he is older than seventeen years old, can express her/his will, and was not declared incapacitated, or excluded from this status as a result of a documented, justified medical decision, then any decision concerning her/his medical treatment shall be subject to her/his implicit will (Section 5(a)). If the terminally ill patient does not have “capacity”, any decision concerning her/his medical treatment shall accord with her/his preliminary instructions, the instructions of an empowered person, or the decision of an “institutional committee” as defined below (Section 5(b)). If no such instructions or decisions exist, then the responsible physician, in consultation with the patient’s relatives or guardian (only in the absence of a relative), will determine the appropriateness of withholding medical treatment (Section 5(c)).

472.The Law states that a terminally ill patient’s desire to forego treatment to extend her/his life shall be respected, and medical treatment shall not be provided, for so long as she/he has “capacity” (Section 15(a)). However, the Law does not allow for an act to be committed, including a medical act, that is intentionally directed at causing the terminally ill patient’s death or which will result in certain death, even if motivated by grace and compassion (section 19). In addition, assisting the patient to commit suicide or the cessation of continuous medical treatment are both prohibited (Sections 20 and 21 respectively). However, it is permitted to cease the renewal of continual and/or cyclic medical treatment that has been terminated unintentionally as long as it was not against orders (Section 21).

473.The Terminally Ill Law contains different provisions as to the manner and procedure in which a person can express, in advance, her/his will with respect to medical treatment she/he will receive in the event of being diagnosed as terminally ill. In addition, the Law states that every medical institution will appoint, in consultation with a state committee, institutional committees which are to determine treatment in cases of conflict or in the event of doubt as to the course of treatment. These committees will consist of three physicians, a nurse, a social worker or a clinical psychologist, an academic specializing in philosophy or ethics, a jurist qualified to be appointed as a district judge, and a public representative or religious persona.

474.The Terminally Ill Law contains different provisions regarding the applicability of the Law to minors, and defines a minor as any person who has not reached the age of seventeen. The parent of a minor is authorized to represent her/him with regard to medical treatment and may choose to decline treatment. A legal guardian, who is a related person, may express her/his opinion regarding the treatment, and the physician in charge may act accordingly. If the minor is parentless, or if the legal guardianship of the parents was negated and there has not been a determination of a new guardian, or if the guardian is not a related person (as defined above), the medical institution’s commission shall make the decision regarding the minor (Section 24).

475.The Law stipulates that a terminally ill minor shall have the right to participate in decisions concerning her/his medical treatment if she/he understands her/his condition, requests to participate in decisions regarding her/his treatment, and if the physician in charge determines that her/his mental capability and maturity allows her/him to participate (Section 25(1) and (2)). The Law also states that the physician in charge shall provide the minor with information regarding her/his medical condition or treatment so long as the physician determines that her/his mental capability and maturity enables her/him to fully grasp the meaning of such information and that it will not harm her/his physical or mental health or pose a risk to her/his life (Section 26(1) and (2)).

476.The Law states that the decisions as to whether to inform the minor of her/his medical condition (Section 26) and as to the minor’s ability to participate in decisions as to her/his treatment (Section 25) shall be made after consulting with the minor’s parents, the legal guardian if one has been appointed, caregivers, relevant physicians and specialists, as well as with her/his personal physician if possible (Section 27).

Discrimination

477.In accordance with the Patient’s Rights Law 5756-1996 (the: “Patient’s Rights Law”), detailed in Israel’s initial report, every member of the health system is committed to refrain from all forms of discrimination and maintain the patient’s privacy, in the spirit of the Law. The Patient’s Rights Law was amended in 2004, and Sections 4 and 28(a) prohibit discrimination on grounds of gender inclination. The Law and its provisions are an integral part of the basic training of the personnel working in the Health System with respect to the health of children and youth in Israel.

Maternal mortality, infant mortality and underweight births

478.3The maternal mortality rate for Israel has declined steeply over the past 50 years. At present, it equals the rates found in the most developed nations: 0.04–0.12 per 1,000 births, with no variance among sub-populations between the years: 1990–2000.

479.Maternal mortality in Israel is relatively rare and in recent years the rate of maternal mortality remained generally low. The following table displays the number of maternal deaths in Israel in recent years.

Table 13

Maternal mortality, 1990–2006

Year

Number of maternal deaths

1999

10

2000

3

2001

8

2002

6

2003

7

2004

9

2005

7

2006

9

Source: Ministry of Health, 2008.

480.Progress in medical knowledge and technologies and changes in lifestyle and behaviour have resulted in infant mortality rates dropping significantly. Throughout the 1970’s, Israel’s infant mortality rate was 21.9 deaths for every 1,000 live births. By 2007, Israel’s infant mortality rate was 3.9 deaths for every 1,000 live births. However, there remains variance among population sub-groups: 2.9 deaths for every 1,000 live births among Jews, 2.8 among Christians, 6.0 among Druze, and 7.2 among Muslims. According to data from the Ministry of Health, there was an 11 per cent decrease in the infant mortality in the Arab population in 2005 compared to infant mortality in 2004.

481.In 2007, the infant mortality rate of Bedouins decreased to 11.5 deaths for every 1,000 live births and the Government is continuing to open Mother and Child Health clinics in unauthorized villages and Mother and Child Health clinics to better serve the population.

Table 14

Causes of infant death by population group, 2005–2007 (rate per 1,000 live births)

Causes of death

Jews

Others

Congenital malformations

0.8

2.5

Causes of prenatal mortality

1.5

2.4

All other unspecified causes

0.6

1.9

External causes

0

0.2

Infectious diseases

0.1

0.1

Total

3.0

7.2

Source: The Central Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Abstract of Israel , 2009.

482.The Arab infant mortality rate is higher than the infant mortality rate in the Jewish population (7.2 versus 3.0). The higher Arab infant mortality rate is due in large part to a higher rate of deaths from congenital malformations. This is related to the high rate of consanguineous marriages in the Arab population, particularly among the Bedouin population.

Table 15

Contagious and infectious illnesses among children, newborn to 14 years of age, by age and population group, 2008 (per 100,000 in each age group)

Illness

Population group

Age group (years)

Newborns

1–4

5–9

10–14

Rubella

Jews

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Arabs

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Measles

Jews

98.7

47.5

26.5

23.4

Arabs

22.9

4.3

0.9

0.0

Salmonellosis

Jews

178.1

94.4

19.3

12.7

Arabs

150.1

48.2

7.9

3.0

Campylobacteriosis

Jews

301.1

228.1

89.7

65.6

Arabs

885.5

176.6

19.6

9.1

Source: The Ministry of Health, October 2008.

Table 16

Infant mortality rates, by selected causes, religion and age (rates per 1,000 live births)

Cause of death

2000–2004

2005

0–27 days

28–364 days (1–11 month)

Total

Total

Grand total

3.3

1.8

5.1

4.4

Intestinal infectious diseases

(0.0)

(0.0)

(0.0)

-

All others infectious and parasitic diseases

-

0.1

0.1

(0.0)

Pneumonia

(0.0)

-

(0.0)

-

Congenital anomalies

0.9

0.4

1.3

1.4

External causes

(0.0)

0.1

0.1

(0.1)

Causes of per natal mortality

2.2

0.3

2.5

1.9

All others and unspecified causes

0.2

0.9

1.1

0.9

Jews – total

2.7

1.1

3.8

3.1

Intestinal infectious diseases

. .

-

(0.0)

-

All other infectious and parasitic diseases

(0.0)

-

(0.0)

-

Pneumonia

(0.0)

-

(0.0)

-

Congenital anomalies

0.5

0.3

0.8

0.9

External causes

(0.0)

0.1

0.1

. .

Causes of prenatal mortality

2.0

0.2

2.3

1.6

All others and unspecified causes

0.1

0.4

0.6

0.6

Other religions – total

4.9

3.5

8.4

7.7

Intestinal infectious diseases

0.0

(0.1)

(0.1)

-

All other infectious and parasitic diseases

-

0.1

0.1

-

Pneumonia

-

(0.0)

(0.0)

-

Congenital anomalies

1.9

0.8

2.6

2.9

External causes

-

0.2

0.2

(0.3)

Causes of prenatal mortality

2.5

0.5

3.1

2.6

All others and unspecified causes

0.4

1.8

2.3

1.8

Source: The Central Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Abstract of Israel , 2008.

Infant mortality rate in Israel

483.In 2007, the overall infant mortality rate in Israel was 4.1 per 1,000 births (compared to 5.5 in 2001). Among the Jewish population the rate was 3.0, and among the Arab population the rate was 7.2. The trend in the rate of infant mortalities per 1,000 live births has been as follows.

Table 17

Infant mortality, 2004–2007

Druze

Christians

Muslims

Jews

Total population

Year

Rates

Absolute

numbers

Rates

Absolute

numbers

Rates

Absolute

numbers

Rates

Absolute

numbers

Rates

Absolute

numbers

4.3

11

3.3

8

8.8

319

3.1

315

4.6

670

2004

5.9

15

3.2

8

8.1

277

3.1

313

4.4

628

2005

5.0

13

-

4

7.3

252

3.0

312

4.0

594

2006

6.0

15

2.8

7

7.2

250

3.0

309

4.1

586

2007

Source: The Ministry of Health and the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, Abstract of Israel 2008.

484.In 2007, there was a 2 per cent decline in infant mortality among the Jewish population and a 22.7 per cent decline among the Arab population, compared to 2003. A large part of the decrease in infant mortality rates is attributed to the decrease in mortality caused by infectious diseases, a decrease in prenatal mortality and a decrease in infant mortality as a result of the contraction of pneumonia. Death from congenital disorders also indicates a downward trend.

485.In 2008 infant mortality rates decreased further to 2.9 infant mortality cases per 1,000 live births among the Jewish population and 6.5 cases among the Arab population (compared to 7.2 cases in 2007). The infant mortality rate among the Arab population is still relatively high despite the continuing decrease in the rate. The difference in the rates between the populations stems from a number of factors, among them the high rate of consanguineous marriage – approximately 35 per cent among the Arab population and approximately 60 per cent among the Bedouin population, a religious prohibition against abortion among the Arab population, even in medically recommended cases, as well as socio-economic differences.

486.According to a report issued by the Ministry of Health, and published in February 2009, the infant mortality rate of Bedouin infants in 2008 was 11.5:1000, representing a decline from the rate in 2005 (15:1000). The high rate is mostly attributed to high rates of congenital anomalies and hereditary illnesses due to the high rate of consanguineous marriages. Another element impacting upon mortality rates is the religious prohibition against abortion among Muslims even in medically recommended cases, as well as the high rate of births among elderly women. It should be noted that the infant mortality rate among Bedouin infants living in unauthorized villages was actually lower than that among Bedouin infants living in established towns. The Government is continuing to open Mather and Child Health Clinics in unauthorized villages and new Clinics are being built to serve the population.

487.Furthermore, the Government has been funding several special projects to improve the health and expand the health-care services provided to Bedouin living in unauthorized villages. One of these programmes is a special long-term intervention programme to decrease infant mortality among the Bedouin. The programme is community-based, and boasts a wide-consortium of participants, including representatives from the Bedouin community leadership and the educational system, along with providers of curative and preventative health care services, the Department of Health in the Community and the Epidemiology Department of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

488.Free genetic testing is also funded by the Government, along with genetic consulting, for any member of a Bedouin tribe in which the prevalence of a serious inherited disease is above 1:1000, and has an available genetic test.

489.The Ministry continues to work intensively to reduce the Israeli Muslim Arab infant mortality rate through a Health education/information project. The central aims are to discourage marriage among close relatives, attempt to encourage pregnant women to make more use of diagnostic procedures during pregnancies, and encourage mothers to make more use of the Mother and Child Care Services available throughout the country.

490.There has also been an important improvement in the growth of Bedouin infants and toddlers over the past two decades, indicating improved nutrition. Moreover, there has been increased compliance with recommendations for supplemental folic acid among Bedouin women in their fertile years, and a decrease in the incidence of open neural tube defects (NTD’s) among Bedouin foetuses and infants. Unfortunately there are still high rates of congenital malformations and inherited diseases among Bedouin infants, due to multiple factors including the tradition of consanguineous marriage (approximately 60 per cent), as well as cultural-religious-social barriers to pre-marital and pre-natal screening for inherited diseases.

491.According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in the last decade the infant mortality rate has decreased by nearly 40 per cent, from 6.0 per cent to 3.9 per cent per 1,000 live births. The largest decrease was among the Jewish population – a decrease of 38 per cent (from 4.7 per cent to 2.9 per cent per 1,000 live births), and among the Arab population a decrease of 26 per cent (from 8.8 per cent to 6.5 per cent per 1,000 live births).

Preventive care and control of epidemics

492.The Ministry of Education Director General’s Directive dated 1 September 2004, forbade the collection of fees from parents in order to finance medical services in schools. This issue arose due to financial cutbacks that reduced funding for school nurses from levels allowing a nurse’s full-time presence to levels only allowing a nurse’s presence once a week. Some parents were willing to pay to fill the budgetary gap.

493.Following the filing of a petition with the Supreme Court, on 21 November 2005, the Ministry of Education made several suggestions in order to resolve the situation. The latest suggestion was dated January 2007, and included the publishing of a tender to create regional motorized centres, manned by professionals. The petitioners did not agree to this suggestion, arguing that the arrival of paramedics would be delayed if several calls were received simultaneously, and that such a delay could lead to harmful consequences.

494.On 7 June 2007, the Ministry of Education decided that in order to best prepare the timetables for the following school year (commencing on September 1st), it was best to postpone the tender. Therefore, the Ministry contracted with MDA (the provider of emergency medical services in Israel) so that it would provide the services. The State emphasized before the Court that this was a temporary solution until the end of 2008, and that during this period; lessons would be learned.

495.The Supreme Court held that the State has an obligation to provide first aid care to pupils in the education system and that the prohibition on collecting fees from parents was meant to maintain equality between children. The Court found that the contract with MDA was a reasonable solution, primarily because of the convening of a follow-up committee to examine the results of this solution. However, the Court held that the petitioners may petition again if they feel that the solution is not satisfactory and if the State fails to provide a proper solution. (HCJ 10794/05 Dudy Landoi et. al. v. The State of Israel (26.08. 2007)).

AIDS

496.In the years 1981–2007, 5,358 new cases of HIV/AIDS were notified in Israel. Taking account of fatalities and those who left Israel, 4,239 people registered as living with HIV/AIDS remain in Israel. Approximately 5,940 HIV/AIDS carriers presently reside in Israel. Between the years 2003–2007, an annual average of 333 individuals were notified of their being HIV carriers.

497.An assessment of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Israel incorporates several tools, both qualitative and quantitative, which are meant to promote and evaluate the National Evidence-Based Policy. A National multidisciplinary Steering Committee (NAC) advises the Minister of Health and its Director General on the overall national HIV prevention and treatment efforts. This NAC includes representatives from several Ministries, directors of AIDS treatment centres, academic professionals and representatives from two NGOs (Israel AIDS Task Force and Physicians for Human Rights). A dedicated department at the Ministry of Health (the Department of Tuberculosis and AIDS) promotes and evaluates both prevention and treatment programmes, in coordination with several other departments, within and outside the Ministry of Health (including the Department of Health Promotion).

498.National HIV/AIDS registration has been available since the beginning of the epidemic in 1981. HIV testing is systematic amongst blood donors and amongst certain selected groups. In addition, HIV testing is available at all community clinics around the country, confidential and free of charge for any person requesting the service. Each year, approximately 5 per cent of the adult Israeli population is tested voluntarily. Health education programmes are developed for both the general population and groups at high-risk, usually in conjunction with NGOs. Medical treatment and follow-up counseling is provided by seven specialized regional AIDS centres that offer comprehensive treatment (including HAART, and highly effective medicine) to all patients. The financial burden is placed on the Health Fund to which the patient belongs, with minimal or no financial contribution being required on behalf of the patient. Since 2005, HIV drug resistance testing became part of the standard care in Israel.

499.From 1996–2006, 35 HIV+ women gave birth to 45 infants. 31 (88 per cent) of these women were of Ethiopian origin and gave birth to 39 infants. Of the 35 HIV positive women, 30 were aware of being HIV positive. They gave birth to 40 infants. Another five women (14 per cent) were not aware of being HIV positive at the time of delivery. They gave birth to five infants. Of the group of women who knew of their HIV positive status, 26 (87 per cent) were Ethiopian immigrants who delivered 34 infants and four were non-Ethiopians who delivered six infants. In the group of five women who were not aware of their HIV positive status, all were Ethiopians.

500.A programme launched by an Israeli medical infectious disease specialist has succeeded in decreasing the fatalities among Ethiopian children infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. The programme involves treating the children with anti-retroviral therapy. Since the anti-retroviral therapy began, the number of children who have died from the virus and related diseases has been reduced to three. Treatment has been given to 130 children, who are all doing very well.

HIV education

501.The Ministry of Education invests a great deal of effort in the education of students and educational institution’s personnel regarding illnesses, the rights of ill persons, and ways to include them in educational institutions and within the community. Children with an immunodeficiency virus are included in kindergartens and schools and participate in every school activity (unless there is a specific medical condition that prohibits their participation). Children receive all the support possible without breaching their right to privacy. According to the law, children are entitled to check whether they carry the HIV virus without their parents’ knowledge. Principals must circulate information on the HIV virus among pupils in the ninth to twelfth grades.

Encouraging breastfeeding

502.The Ministry of Health is presently establishing a Breastfeeding Committee in order to advise the Head of Public Health Services on the implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes in Israel. The promotion of breastfeeding has been included as an objective of the guidebook for the “Healthy Israel 2020” initiative. The guidebook was created by the Ministry of Health to lay out the Israeli policy of disease prevention and health promotion.

Table 18

The objectives defined specifically for the promotion of breastfeeding

2000

Objective for 2020

Breastfeeding initiation rate

85%

90%

BF rate at 3 months

56%

75%

BF rate at 6 months

38%

55%

BF rate at one year

14%

25%

Exclusive BF rate at 3 months

25%

40%

Source: The Ministry of Health, National Health and Nutrition Survey, 2000.

503.A Breastfeeding Promotion Committee was established in 2001 with the purpose of further advancing the Ministry of Health’s activities. The objective of the Committee is to continue encouraging breastfeeding. The Committee is composed of several representatives of different Departments in the Ministry of Health. The Committee has been successful in accomplishing the following:

-Provision of professional breastfeeding training programmes for nurses and delivery-room teams.

-Professional training programmes for nurses and dieticians in the Public Health Services.

-Organizing discussion forums for graduates of the above mentioned breastfeeding programmes.

-Publication of informational bulletins on the subject of breastfeeding for the general population.

-Provision of breastfeeding information for hospital staff conveyed by the World Public Health Organization.

-Setting up breastfeeding spaces in public places as a part of public service.

-Publication of a guide for Mother and Child Health Clinics and information on breastfeeding.

-Participation in various parliamentary committees engaged in encouraging breastfeeding.

-Encouraging public health services’ personnel to attend an International Breastfeeding Course for Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and obtain certification.

- Encouraging workers of the health and hospital services to support breastfeeding.

- Organizing a public campaign that promotes breastfeeding in the workplace (associated with Israeli Health Funds).

-Advertisements on the Ministry of Health website of: the “Baby-Friendly Work Place.”

-Including the promotion of breastfeeding in the objectives of the Ministry of Health for the year 2020.

-Encouraging cooperation between the Civil Service Commission and the chairperson of the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women in the Ministry of Health.

Road safety

504.In recent years, various Amendments concerning the safety of children were passed:

505.Amendment No. 80 to the Transportation Ordinance (New Version) issued on 8 February 2007, supplemented Section 65C. The Section stipulates that a person may not ride a bicycle and/or carry another person, unless they wear a safety helmet with a strap to prevent from loosening during the ride. A parent, a legal guardian, or the adult in charge, must prevent the minor from riding a bike with no helmet on her/his head while in their care.

506.An owner of a bicycle business must place a noticeable sign in her/his shop regarding the obligation to wear a helmet. For the purpose of this section, the term bicycle includes skateboards, roller-skates, rollerblades, and a motor scooter, while excluding a tricycle.

507.According to Section 83 to the Transportation Regulations only an authorized vehicle is allowed to transport children. Furthermore, children must sit down inside the vehicle: they can no longer remain standing while moving. The permission that once existed to seat three children in a seat designated for two children was abolished.

508.The duty to fasten children into a safety seat while in a vehicle has been expanded. A child under the age of three must be fastened into a baby seat. A child between the ages of three and eight must be fastened into an elevated seat which fits her/his height and weight. Above the age of eight, there is a general duty to fasten a safety belt (Section 83A to the Transportation Regulations).

509.In order to prevent the transportation of young children on motorbikes, it is prohibited to carry a person on a motorbike if her/his legs cannot reach the side pedals (Section 119 to the Transportation Regulations).

510.The legal Directives dealing with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs have been expanded. The requirement of an exhalation test to determine if a driver is a drunk driver is legitimate even when there is no valid suspicion of drunkenness. The police officer at the scene has the discretion regarding whether to demand that the driver undergo an exhalation test. The saliva-test that determines intoxication is performed at the police station subject to the consent of the person.

511.In 2008, the Minister of Transportation approved a comprehensive reform for the qualification of drivers. This reform will enter into force in May 2010, and improves the level of driving schools and prolongs any probationary periods. For instance, the requirement that a mature driver accompany a new driver for her/his initial three months of driving following her/his receipt of a license shall be extended by three more months and a further three months with respect to driving at night.

512.The National Road Safety Authority was re-established in 2007 under new standards. It is a statutory corporation that was established due to temporary order, for a limited number of years. This authority practices road safety and acts to promote awareness among educational frameworks. These standards accord with the National Road Safety Authority (Temporary Order) Law 5766-2006 (the: “National Road Safety Law”). According to Section 6 of the Law, one of the duties of the Authority is to advise and assist the educational system as well as conduct research in the field of road safety.

513.The National Road Safety Authority carries out activities for the protection of children, as delineated below.

514.Involvement in determining the curriculum of the educational system – the Authority, together with the Road Safety Division in the Ministry of Education, develops, manages, and finances studies on the issue of road safety in kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools. Representatives of the Authority and the Ministry of Education lead committees that approve activities and presentations on road safety within educational settings. In 2008, the Authority succeeded in receiving the consent of approximately 98 per cent of high school principals to assimilate a grading system on the issue of road safety as a condition for receipt of a matriculation certificate. The Authority also boasts approximately twenty guidance centres for guidance regarding safe cycling. The centres are intended for fourth and fifth grade children across the country.

515.Coordinating with youth movements – the Authority conducts national campaigns on the issue of road safety by youth movements in coordination with the Council of Youth Movement in Israel.

516.“At High risk” – the Road Safety Authority Information Centers undertakes explanatory activities for the Bedouin population. Such activities raise the awareness concerning accidents ‘around the home’, the importance of fastening safety belts and wearing bicycle helmets while riding.

517.Media – the Road Safety Authority produces explanatory activities for children’s television programmes, in playgrounds, and in locations where children frequently gather.

518.General research – the Road Safety Authority researches road accidents that involve children. The Authority studies the cause of these accidents and then seeks solutions to avoid their recurrence.

Accidents

519.Approximately 2.3 million children between the ages of 0–17 currently reside in Israel. Child injuries result in approximately 150 deaths per year, 25,000 hospitalizations and 180,000 visits to emergency rooms. Half of Israeli children sustain injuries that require medical care. Such care is available within the community medical services.

Child injury trends in Israel

520.Over the past decade, injury-related mortality rates in children between the ages of 0–17 have decreased by 28 per cent, from 8.1 deaths per 100,000 children in 1995 to 5.8 deaths per 100,000 children in 2005.

Chart 1

Child injury deaths, 1995–2005

Source: ‘Beterem’, a special analysis of the Israeli Bureau of Statistic Data on Mortality, Unpublished (Mortality). 2005.

Causes of childhood injury

521.During the years 2003 and 2005, the leading cause of injury-related death in children aged 1 to 17 was road accidents. As for infant’s aged up till one years old, half of the injury-related deaths occurred in domestic and playground environments, with the leading cause of death being choking/strangulation. The primary causes of injury-related death among children aged one to seventeen are: drowning, suffocation, falls, poisoning, fire/burns and firearm related injuries.

Injury by population groups

522.Between the years 1999 and 2005, injury-related mortality rates decreased in both Arab and Jewish children. In 1999, there were 12.3 and 6.7 injury-related deaths per 100,000 Arab and Jewish children respectively. In 2005, the injury-related mortality rate was 9.3 and 4.4 in Arab and Jewish children respectively (a 34 and 24 per cent decrease respectively). Injury-related mortality among Arab children is still higher when compared to injury-related mortality among Jewish children.

523.A report published by the Israel Medical Association Journal (IMAJ) in 2007, indicated that road accidents constituted the most frequent causes of mortality among children older than one year, and were second in causes of hospitalization. A secondary cause was found to be falls from high altitudes.

Sexual behaviour and birth control

Table 19

Live births among minors by age and religion in 2007

Religion

Total

Age

14

15

16

17

Total

20

137

747

2 177

Jews

530

31

105

394

Muslims

2 371

12

102

602

1 655

Christians

23

-

-

23

Druze

22

-

-

-

22

No religion stated

134

10

38

86

Source: CBS, Central Bureau of Statistics, 2008.

Table 20

Unmarried girls up to the age of nineteen who requested authorization for pregnancy termination, by religion and number of previous induced abortions, 2006

Religion

All ages

Up to age 19

Absolute numbers

Percentage

Rate per 1,000 for age group

Jews

14 818

2 215

79.5

11.3

Muslims

1 619

92

3.3

1.7

Christians

496

44

1.6

7.4

Druze

204

11

0.4

(2.0)

No religion stated

1 893

355

12.7

32.8

Number of previous induced abortions

0

-

2 229

80.0

-

1–2

-

412

14.8

-

3+

-

8

0.3

-

Source: The Central Bureau of Statistics, 2008. (Data based on estimates).

Emotional well-being

524.Suicide ranks as the second most common cause of death among children and youth in Israel, similar to other developed Western countries. The extent of the phenomenon of suicide and the attempts at suicide are not precisely known.

525.In order to understand and deal with the phenomenon of suicide among youth at the national level, the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Prevention of Suicide among Youth has made great efforts with children and youth under the age of 24. The Committee includes representatives from various bodies and has prepared a suicide prevention kit for personnel working with children.

Table 21

Number of suicide attempts among children and youth in emergency departments, by age and gender, 1999–2007

Year

Total

Boys

Girls

Total

Up to 9

10–14

15–17

Total

Up to 9

10–14

15–17

1999

469

124

5

24

95

345

1

59

285

2000

525

110

8

20

82

415

0

82

333

2001

484

99

3

12

84

385

4

108

273

2002

535

97

4

19

74

438

0

109

329

2003

621

135

3

32

100

486

1

133

352

2004

691

117

6

28

83

574

4

154

416

2005

694

148

5

34

109

546

1

147

398

2006

638

133

1

31

101

505

1

147

357

2007

685

128

7

40

81

557

0

158

399

Source: The Ministry of Health, Department of Health Information, 2008.

526.In 2007 there were 685 reported suicide attempts among children that resulted in their being brought to emergency rooms. Since 1996, there has been an increase of approximately 30 per cent in suicide attempts. This can be attributed to an improvement of the data collection system, rather than an increase in the number of suicide attempts. The rate of suicide attempts among girls is much higher than that among boys.

Dental health

527.Following a petition submitted to the Israeli High Court of Justice by the NGO Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR) in March 2008, the Ministry of Health announced on 7 June 2009 that dental checks for every pupil in Israel between the ages of five and eighteen would be financed by the Government. The Ministry also declared that it would triple the budget of Dental Health Services by up to 30 million NIS (8,100,000$) per year. Pending this solution, dental checks were partially financed by local authorities (depending on their financial situation). The treatments that are funded by the Ministry of Health include routine checks, preventive treatments and guidance. It does not include dental treatments (the National Health Insurance Law). On 14 December 2009, the Israeli Government decided to include children’s dental treatments within the State Medical Basket that is covered by the National Health Insurance.

Traditional customs that may affect a child’s health

528.Recent data indicates that over the last few years there were no reports of women who underwent female genital mutilation in Israel.

Preventive services for young children

Mother and Child Health Services (MCH)

529.In recent decades, the proportion of pregnant women making use of the MCH services as their principal source of prenatal care has declined dramatically – from close to 100 per cent in the mid-1980s to approximately 20 per cent of Jewish women and 50 per cent of Arab women as of 2002. Women opt to receive their prenatal care through State health insurance coverage, namely through their Health Funds or from their private doctors.

530.The MCH services remain essentially the sole source of Mother and Child Health Clinics. In 2006, approximately 145,000 infants received care at over 1,200 clinics that belong to the Ministry of Health, the Israeli Health Funds and two localities (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv). The Ministry of Health operated 44 per cent of the clinics and cared for approximately two-thirds of the infants. The Israeli Health Funds operated 50 per cent of the clinics, including many relatively small clinics in rural areas and cared for 20 per cent of the infants. All of the services operate under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and conform to the service guidelines promulgated by the Ministry.

531.In 2004, the Government of Israel approved an experimental plan for the responsibility of MCH services to be transferred from the Ministry of Health and municipalities to the Israeli Health Funds that are funded by the Government. In 2007, the Prime Minister decided to halt the pilot project and his decision was confirmed by the Government.

532.A new service was added to the Israeli Health Funds on 1 January 2009, a Metabolic Disease Screening for 11 diseases, which is performed for all newborns. This service is funded by the Ministry of Health and expands the former service that detected only Congenital Hypothyroidism and Phenylketonuria (hereditary disease PKU).

Vaccinations

533.New vaccinations were added to the childhood vaccinations schedule. Two doses of Varicella, an additional two doses of Pertussis and 2+1 Pneumococcal are scheduled in 2009.

Table 22

Children at age two who received inoculations, by population group and type of inoculation for the years 2003, 2005, 2006 (percentages)

Pop. group

DTP 4 doses

Polio IPV

MMR

Hep B

Hep A

Hib

2003

2005

2006

2003

2005

2006

2003

2005

2006

2003

2005

2006

2005

2006

2005

2006

Total

93

93

95

93

95

94

96

94

96

98

96

98

90

84

93

94

Arab

97

98

97

97

98

98

100

96

96

98

Jews

91

91

91

94

95

93

97

96

88

91

Source: The Ministry of Health, Lewis Institute, Tel Hashomer Hospital , 2008, Source: The Central Bureau of Statistics, 2009.

Table 23

The percentage of children in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades who received routine vaccinations from the Association of Public Health, 2008

1st grade MMR

2nd grade IPV + dTaP

3rd grade dT

Abs.

%

Abs.

%

Abs.

%

Candidates

136 199

100.0

138 206

100.0

117 158

100.0

Vaccinated

124 236

91.2

123 684

89.5

99 250

84.7

No need*

3 220

2.5

4 142

3.2

6 618

6.2

Refusal

1 306

1.0

1 376

1.0

1 130

1.0

Source: The Ministry of Health, Public Health Services, 2008.

* Children who did not need the vaccine or were already vaccinated.

Preventive programmes for special populations

The Ethiopian community

534.In 2006, there were approximately 27,000 Ethiopian-Israeli youth between the ages of ten to nineteen in Israel. 12,000 were born in Israel to immigrant parents and 15,000 were born in Ethiopia.

535.Israeli national data indicate that there are significant gaps in the educational results of Ethiopian-Israeli youth compared to the general population.

536.However, the country’s 115,000 Ethiopian-Israelis are a particular priority and JDC’s (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) chief PACT (Parents and Children Together) operate a programme designed to facilitate Ethiopian-Israelis’ inclusion within the Israeli educational system. This programme tackles critical educational and social gaps between Ethiopian-Israeli children under the age of six and their veteran Israeli peers by promoting inclusion of every Ethiopian-Israeli child into a pre-school framework. The programme thereby, provides culturally sensitive support, and PACT assists the children to acquire social and cognitive skills that Ethiopian-Israeli parents who were in most cases raised in a rural society, cannot provide. This, in accordance with recommendation No. 20 of the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning Israel’s previous periodic report, recommending that cooperation with NGOs and international organizations should be strengthened.

537.Since 1998, the city of Be’er-Sheva together with the Jewish Community PACT (Parents and Children Together) operates in fourteen locations. In 2007, over 11,000 Ethiopian-Israeli children and their parents benefited from PACT and the city’s assistance to the community.

Science and technology

538.In the recommendation contained in paragraph 53 of the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child it was recommended to increase the budget allocated for education in the Arab population. Accordingly, the Ministry of Science and Technology operates regional Research and Development Centers in Arab localities. Between the years 2003 and 2008, 4,307,984 million NIS (1,164,320$) were conveyed to the Galilee region and another 5,086,680 million NIS (1,374,778$) was transferred to a centre in the “Meshulash” (Triangle) region in the north of Israel. In addition, since 2005, 948,200 NIS (256,270$) have been transmitted to the regional centre for the Bedouins in the Negev.

539.The Ministry of Science and Technology also supports projects that promote Arab student’s academic achievements. During the 2006/7 school year, 500 financial grants were awarded to Arab students. In 2007/8, an addition of 300 scholarships were granted, 50 per cent of which were to Arab students. During the 2008/9 school year, 700 scholarships were granted, 480 of which were to Arab students.

540.The Ministry of Science and Technology also allocated an exceptional budget in 2008/9 in order to establish two new centres for the teaching of science in the “Meshulash” region in the north of Israel. In the Galilee, the budget for the 2008 fiscal year was 1.5 million NIS 405,000$) per centre in addition to a new National Research Center which was opened for the Druze population and which was funded in the amount of 400,000 NIS (108,000$).

Table 24

Financial aid granted by the Ministry of Science and Technology between the years 2001–2008 (by million NIS )

Project

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Studies in regional research and development centre s

0.699

0.317

0.093

0.441

2.548

0.495

1.95

1.258

Operating Arab-population research and development centre s

0.67

0.536

0.536

0.536

-

-

-

Support for regional research and development centre s

0.536

0.707

0.552

0.505

0.591

0.827

0.548

0.654

Support for Bedouin regional research and development centre s

-

-

-

-

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.15

Supplying for regional research and development centre s

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

0.94

Minorities scholarships

1.415

1.637

0.48

0.4

0.48

0.09

0.33

0.15

Inauguration scholarships

-

-

-

-

-

-

2.52

2.8

Psychometric test scholarships

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

0.5

Source: The Ministry of Science and Technology, 2008.

The budget for culture, entertainment and sports

541.The Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Ministry of Education provide financial aid to 850 artistic and cultural institutions, including children’s theatres, dance schools and choirs. Moreover, museums are recognized by law as beneficial and qualitative enrichment institutions for children. The State accepted the Holon Children’s Museum as such an establishment. The State encourages the conservation of Arab, Druze and Circassian traditions.

Table 25

The budget for Arab, Druze and Circassia culture 2001–2008

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Arab culture

7 500

7 175

6 919

6 017

6 703

7 106

10 362

12 453

Druze and Circassian culture

2 026 NIS (547$)

1 919 NIS (518$)

1 874 NIS (506$)

1 653 NIS (446$)

1 593 NIS (430$)

1 638 NIS (442$)

2 075 NIS (560$)

1 866 NIS (504$)

Source: The Ministry of Culture and Sports, 2008.

Preventive services for schoolchildren

542.Preventive services for pupils are no longer provided directly by the Ministry of Health. This responsibility was outsourced in 2006 when the Ministry was replaced by a non-governmental organization. Dissatisfaction with the level of services led to the advertising of a public tender for the next five years, beginning in the summer of 2009. At this date, the provider of the service has not yet been chosen. (See: Preventive care and control of epidemics section B, above).

Psychiatric services

543.The Israeli child and adolescent mental health services are available in both inpatient and outpatient settings. These services aim to prevent developmental difficulties as a result of emotional problems. The services enable young people with mental disabilities to return rapidly to their daily lives.

544.Recent technological developments have introduced new drugs available as part of the National Health Insurance. The availability of treatment in the community environment contributes to the care of children and youth, as it allows young patients to remain in a familiar environment.

545.The psychiatric hospitalization system includes fourteen psychiatric hospitals. Eight of these are governmental, two belong to the Clalit Health Services Health Fund (the leading Israeli HMO), one is owned by a public non-profit organization and the remaining three are privately owned. There are also twelve psychiatric wards in the general hospitals. These wards specialize in treating all age groups.

Table 26

Children and youth admitted hospitalized, by gender, age and diagnosis (2005)

Diagnosis

Gender

Age

Up to 11

12–17

Total

Total

155

856

1 011

Males

129

454

583

Females

26

402

428

Schizophrenia and delusional disorders

Total

9

123

132

Males

8

76

84

Females

1

47

43

Acute psychotic disorders

Total

10

99

109

Males

8

67

75

Females

2

32

34

Affective disorders

Total

4

149

153

Males

4

55

59

Females

0

94

94

Organic disorders

Total

3

11

14

Males

2

9

11

Females

1

2

3

Neurotic disorders

Total

15

95

110

Males

10

32

42

Females

5

63

68

Personality disorders

Total

2

51

53

Males

2

10

12

Females

0

41

41

Childhood disorders

Total

99

202

301

Males

83

127

210

Females

16

75

91

Drug and alcohol use

Total

1

15

61

Males

1

11

12

Females

0

4

4

Mental retardation

Total

8

17

25

Males

7

9

16

Females

1

8

9

Other

Total

4

94

98

Males

4

58

62

Females

0

36

36

Source: The Ministry of Health, Department of Information and Evaluation.

Education, health care and welfare in Jerusalem

546.There are 28 Mother and Child Health Clinics located in the Jerusalem municipal area. Among these clinics, there are four situated in the eastern neighbourhoods and 24 located in the western neighbourhoods. Since 2001, no additional centres have been opened. Additionally, according to the Jerusalem municipality’s data, 407 social workers are currently employed in Jerusalem. 343 are allocated to facilities in the western neighbourhoods and 64 to facilities in the eastern neighbourhoods. Over the course of eleven years (1997–2008), fourteen kindergartens and 340 schoolrooms were added for the benefit of the residents of the eastern neighbourhoods of Jerusalem.

The Bedouin population

Environmental factors that affect health

Medical care and infrastructure

547.The medical facilities in the vicinity of Bedouin villages are fully equipped, Mother and Child Health Clinics are computerized, air conditioned and maintained in good condition.

548.The Ministry of Health operates special health services and Health Clinics for the Bedouin population in the Negev. The service includes an ambulance, run by the Bedouin population that resides in the Negev. The purpose of this service is to ensure an open gateway between the nearest hospital and the Bedouin community. This enables professional workers from nearby residencies to evaluate the living arrangements of patient’s subsequent to their release from hospital. Such personnel can view the patient’s sanitary living conditions prior to their release and provide recommendations accordingly. The cost of a visit to the Health Clinic is identical throughout the State.

549.There are 42,400 Bedouin Israeli children under the age of 6 (53 per cent) who live in Bedouin towns, whereas 47 per cent of Bedouin children live in unauthorized villages. In 2007, the Ministry of Health operated 27 Family Health Centers providing services to the Bedouin population in the Negev, in addition to 51 clinics operated by the various Health Funds.

550.There are 18 Mother and Child Health Clinics located in Bedouin villages. In addition six Mother and Child Health Clinics have been established within the illegal clusters. There are 32 Medical Clinics run by the various Health Funds located in Bedouin communities; nine of which provide services to the unauthorized Bedouin villages.

551.According to a large-scale study conducted by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute during 2003–2005 in association with the Ben-Gurion University, the “Shatil” organization and the Council for Unauthorized Villages in the Negev, approximately 9 per cent of all Bedouin children in the Negev suffer from functional disabilities or chronic illnesses that require ongoing medical treatment and/or monitoring. This percentage is slightly higher than among the general Arab and Jewish populations in Israel (8.3 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively).

552.For most types of disabilities, the proportion of children in the Bedouin population who suffer from the disability is higher than that among the Jewish population. The number of children in need of continual medical and paramedical treatment is higher in the Bedouin population than in the general Arab and Jewish populations (4.9 per cent, 2.8 per cent, and 2.1 per cent respectively). Furthermore, the percentage of sensory disability among Bedouin and Arab children is twice as great as that found among the Jewish population (2.0 per cent 2.2 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively).

553.In March 2009, the Israeli NGO, Physicians for Human Rights, published a report regarding the absence of paediatricians in the unauthorized Bedouin villages. Since most of the Bedouin villages are unrecognized by the State, health services are not available to the inhabitants. Although eleven villages were recognized by the State in 1999, it was claimed that they were not yet receiving the services they are entitled to by law. Twelve clinics and eight Mother and Child Health stations are located in unauthorized villages, yet their working hours are limited. However, no paediatrician, gynaecologist or pharmacy was found within a reasonable radius of the area. According to the PHR report, based on data provided by Soroka Hospital, when compared to Jewish children, more Bedouin children approach emergency rooms, are admitted to the hospital and intensive care units, and die from disease. Consequently, many inhabitants turn to private health services or the Health Care clinics available in the large cities.

554.Some of the major improvements in the past decade in the field include improved immunization coverage of Bedouin infants in the Negev. Thus, there has been a significant decrease in vaccine-preventable infectious diseases; with the 2006 figures indicating that 90 per cent–95 per cent of Bedouin children have completed all necessary vaccinations by age three – a sizeable improvement compared to a rate of 27 per cent in 1981. Two mobile immunization teams managed by the Ministry of Health also provide home immunizations to infants in unauthorized Bedouin communities, whose families do not bring the infants to one of the Mother and Child Health Clinics for treatment. A computerized tracking system allows the Ministry of Health to identify infants who are behind on their immunization schedule and to send one of the mobile immunization teams to immunize them.

555.There has also been an important improvement in the growth of Bedouin infants and toddlers over the past two decades, indicating improved nutrition. Moreover, there has been increased compliance with recommendations for supplemental folic acid among Bedouin women in their fertile years, and a decrease in the incidence of open neural tube defects (NTD’s) among Bedouin foetuses and infants. Unfortunately there are still high rates of congenital malformations and inherited diseases among Bedouin infants, due to multiple factors including the tradition of first-cousin marriages, as well as cultural-religious-social barriers to pre-marital and pre-natal screening for inherited diseases.

556.In 2007, the infant mortality rate among Bedouins decreased to 11.5 deaths for every 1,000 live births. The Government is continuing to open Mother and Child Health clinics in unauthorized villages and MCH centres to better serve the population.

557.Furthermore, the Government has been funding several special projects to improve the health and expand the health-care services provided to Bedouins living in unauthorized villages. One of these programmes is a special long-term intervention programme aimed at decreasing infant mortality among Bedouins. The programme is community-based and boasts a wide-consortium of participants, including representatives from the Bedouin community leadership and the educational system, along with providers of curative and preventative health care services, the Department of Health in the Community and the Department of Epidemiology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

558.The Government funds genetic testing and counselling for members of tribes which have a prevalence of serious inherited diseases. The diseases included in the funding scatter among the population in a 1:1000 relation.

559.There has been a sustainable decline in the incidence of infectious disease among Bedouin infants over the past decades. There is, however, generally a higher rate of infectious disease among Bedouin infants than among Jewish infants of the same age. Bedouin infants and children have lower rates of Pertussis, Tuberculosis and HIV infection. Furthermore, due to high immunization coverage among Bedouin infants, indicating improved access and utilization of preventive health care services, there have been no cases of measles since 1994 and no cases of poliomyelitis, diphtheria, congenital rubella, neonatal tetanus or tetanus in Bedouin children in the Negev since 1990. During the period 2000–2003, no cases of mumps were reported. Additionally only one to two cases of Homophiles influenza disease was reported in 2000–2002, and none in 2003.

560.Specialty physician services are provided to the Bedouin community in the Negev, including: Paediatrics, General Internal Medicine, Neurology, Family Medicine, Dermatology, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Ear, Nose and Throat, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Surgery and Trauma, Paediatric Surgery and Paediatric Pulmonary Medicine. In addition, every resident has equal access to all the specialty clinics at the Soroka University Medical Center, with no discrimination made between Bedouin or Jewish patients.

561.The Government, as well as the main HMO serving the Bedouin population, has made substantial efforts to train and recruit Bedouin physicians and nurses. The Government provided all the funding required for three classes of Bedouin students to complete their training as registered nurses, including funding their transportation to nursing school, a meal allowance during their studies, and special remedial lessons to assist those who needed it. The Government has similarly provided special funding to hire Arab physicians and nurses.

562.A course for qualified Bedouin nurses opened in 1994. It should be noted that students who participate in the course are committed to serving their first three years of practice after graduation wherever the Ministry of Health decides their services are needed. This will guarantee that the trained nurses serve the target population: the Bedouins. In addition, the first female Bedouin physician in Israel, Rania al-Oqbi, recently completed her degree. She was part of the special “Cultivating Medicine in the Desert” programme, which is aimed at incorporating more Bedouin into the health services. Currently, six Bedouin women are studying medicine; 35 Bedouin women have completed degrees in various health professions; and 45 additional women are studying health sciences.

563.Seventy per cent of Bedouins live in planned, urban towns, with municipal infrastructure, including running water in every home (with the water in question meeting the Israeli standards for drinking water quality). The percentage of bacterially contaminated drinking water samples followed previous downward trends reaching 0.25 per cent in 2007 (7.6 per cent in 1990 and 1.9 in 2001).

564.Nearly 62,000 Bedouin live in illegal clusters throughout the Negev; these villages cause difficulties in terms of supplying the residents with necessary services, especially the provision of water. While the Government does not question its duty to supply its inhabitants with services such as water, it is practically impossible to supply it to sporadic destinations which disregard the national construction and planning programmes.

565.Nevertheless, until the completion of the establishment of permanent Bedouin towns and the regulation of water supply systems, the Ministerial Committee for the Arab Population has decided to build “Water Centers”.

566.Following this decision, instructions were given concerning the planning of water supply systems to several “Water Centers”. The Water Centers are part of the Government’s understanding of the needs and current realities of the Bedouin population and its efforts to improve their living conditions. The planning of the centres takes into account an amount of water suitable for the magnitude of the population expected in 2020, and the establishment of the centres is very costly.

567.These systems will enable the supply of water to a significantly larger portion of the Bedouin population, than the portion receiving a water supply today through individual connections. There are currently 5 Water Centers, which are located in the most populated areas of the Bedouin Diaspora, compatible with the Government’s plans for the establishment of permanent towns.

568.An additional method employed, is through direct water connections to the main water pipeline, granted to a minimum of ten families. Due to the problematic nature of these connections, which require the transfer of water to unauthorized villages, this method is less frequently used than in the past. The Water Committee, which evaluates requests for connections to pipelines, approves the connection to such a pipeline, as well as negotiates agreements in cases of disputes between residents of the Diaspora over ownership of such connections.

569.In addition, according to “Mekorot,” the Israel National Water Corporation, numerous pirated connections to pipelines are being made without the authorization of the Water Committee.

Case law

570.On 13 September 2006, the Haifa District Court (sitting in its capacity as a Water Tribunal) rejected an appeal filed by Adalah-the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (“Adalah”) on behalf of 767 Israeli-Bedouin living in the Negev’s Diaspora, demanding access to sources of water (D.C.H. Appeal 609/05, Abdallah Abu Msaed, et. al. v. The Water Commissioner). The appeal was submitted against prior decisions of the Water Commissioner, who had also denied these requests.

571.In its decision, the President of the Haifa District Court emphasized that while the case deals with connections to the primary water pipe, behind it lies the complex issue of the organization of “unauthorized villages”. The Court added that it is not disregarding the fact that all citizens possess the basic human right to water and health, which must be granted by the State in order to guarantee the right to dignity, but explained that, in its opinion, providing connections to the water mains is not the way in which to resolve the problem of unauthorized villages. According to the Court’s decision, the right to water is not absolute, but can be made conditional upon a “clear” public interest “not to encourage cases of additional illegal unauthorized villages”.

572.On 18 November 2006, Adalah submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court against the ruling delivered by the Haifa District Court.

573.In the appeal, Adalah argued that the Water Commissioner’s decisions to deny the petitioners the right to water were based upon improper and arbitrary considerations. Adalah asked the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the Water Tribunal, and to order the provision of water access points via the existing main water distribution network.

574.Adalah further argued in the appeal that in reaching its decisions, the Water Commissioner relied entirely on the recommendations of the Water Committee, which is administered by the Bedouin Development Authority. To date, the appeal is still pending. (C.A. 9535/06, Abdullah Abu Musa’ed, et. al. v. The Water Commissioner and the Israel Lands Administration).

Air pollution

575.On 22 July 2008, the Knesset enacted the Clean Air Law, 5768–2008, which will enter into force on 1 January2011 (the: “Air Law”). The purpose of this law is to prevent and treat air pollution by establishing an arrangement which enables the imposition of greater responsibility and obligation on the Government, local municipalities and factories.

576.Government Ministries are compelled, by this law, to establish a national monitoring station and to allow access to data. Each local authority is obligated to act in favour of reducing sources of air pollution in their municipality and facilities. A detailed course of action must precede any such operation. Instructions as mentioned are consistent with standard air pollution provisions in other developed countries. These provisions also accord with international organizations and the European Union recommendations and directives. (Section 19(c) to the Air Law).

577.Infecting and polluting factories listed in the Air Law’s third Appendix must ensure that they hold a valid emissions license. Factories that are not listed in the Appendix are subject to the conditions of the environmental protection legal terms described in their working license – operating contrary to the provisions of these Directives constitutes an illegal act. Factories that produce toxic waste are sources for air pollution, and hence must obtain authorization from the Minister of the Environmental Protection in order to operate.

578.The new Air Law grants the Ministry of Environmental Protection the authority to initiate Directives to prevent and reduce sources of air pollution. Sources of air pollution particles may also be discharged by vehicles, aircraft and fuel machinery. The Air Law empowers local authorities to act against pollution by imposing penal sanctions, and warrants, as well as seeking the assistance of the court. The Ministry of Environmental Protection has the power to take legal measures against corporations that violate the Directives. The Air Law determines that air pollution may carry criminal responsibility and liability for damages.

C.Article 26 – Social security

Case law

579.On 7 January 2009 the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in a petition submitted by the Association of Defense for Children International(DCI) (Israel) against the National Insurance Institute (NII). The DCI requested the translation of the NII forms into Arabic, which would enable the population living in the eastern neighbourhoods of Jerusalem to submit forms to the NII in Arabic, and for the NII to send letters and notices to the population of the eastern neighbourhoods of Jerusalem in Arabic.

580.The purpose of this petition was to enable the population residing in the eastern neighbourhoods of Jerusalem access to the social rights granted by the NII, as the majority of the population does not know Hebrew. The petition was submitted in 2001, at which point the NII committed to translate all of its forms. However, this commitment was not fulfilled, and in May of 2007, the Court issued a conditional order against the NII. In July 2008, the Court criticized the NII and ordered the NII to present, within 90 days, a concrete plan of action, together with a detailed schedule, regarding the translation of its forms. On 1 December 2008, a time schedule in which to translate the forms was presented to the Court. Furthermore, the NII confirmed that they would accept forms submitted in Arabic. Thus, the Court issued an order according to which the NII was required to complete the translation of the forms into Arabic, and to accept forms which were submitted to it in Arabic. However, the Court held that the demand that the NII send letters and notices in Arabic to the population of the eastern neighbourhoods of Jerusalem should not be granted, as translators were available in the offices of the NII should clarification be sought. (HCJ 2203/01 The Association of Defense for Children International (DCI) v. The National Insurance Institute (07.01.2009)).

Child allowance

581.In addition to the child allowance payments paid to families with minor children, school funding is granted by the NII to single-parent families with four or more children, in accordance with NII criteria for social security pensions. This funding is provided to children between the ages of six and fourteen, for the purpose of facilitating the purchase of annual school supplies. In 2008, approximately 145,500 children received a school funding grant, compared with 141,000 children in 2007. The grant comprises 18 per cent of the basic cost (1,323 NIS/ 357$ in 2008) for children between the ages of 6 and 11, and 10 per cent of the basic cost for children between the ages of twelve and fourteen (735 NIS 198$). The cost of the grant in 2008 amounted to 147 million NIS ($ 39 million). (See also Chapter V(A), above).

Maternity l eave p ayments

582.For further details on Maternity Allowances see Chapter V (A), above).

583.In 2007 (the monthly average) the number of women who received maternity leave payments was 86,285. In 2008, (the monthly average) the number of women who received maternity leave payments was 93,630, constituting an increase of 8.8 per cent.

584.In 2008 (the monthly average) the number of woman who received childbirth grants increased by 3.3 per cent to a total of 152,319 recipients compared to 147,245 recipients in 2007.

Table 27

Number of woman who received maternity leave grants and childbirth grants (monthly average) between the years 1990–2008

Year

Recipients of maternity allowance (thousands)

Annual increase (%)

Recipients of birth grants (thousands)

Annual increase%

1990

43.7

0.5 (1986–1990)

103.6

0.5 (1986–1990)

1995

55.2

4.8 (1991–1995)

113.1

1.8 (1991–1995)

2001

71.2

0.8

127.1

-3.6

2003

73.9

3.5

136.4

6.1

2004

77.5

4.9

141.2

3.5

2005

77.0

-0.6

142.9

-

2006

82.7

7.3

143.6

0.5

2007

86.0

4.1

147.2

2.5

2008

93.6

8.8

152.0

3.3

Source: The National Insurance Institute, Annual Survey 2008.

Dependence allowance

585.Section 135 of the National Insurance Law stipulates that once a widow remarries she is entitled to receive two benefit payments, but forfeits her claim to the monthly dependence allowance. It should be noted that the Law defines the term “wife” (and therefore someone who marries) as including a women who cohabitates with a man and who is jointly responsible for the household.

D.Article 27, paragraphs1-3 – Standard of living

586.As mentioned in Israel’s initial report, the right to enjoy an adequate standard of living is well recognized in Israeli society and under the Israeli legal system, under which the Judiciary, Executive and Legislative branches are all committed to pursuing the fulfilment of this right.

587.A prominent example of the State’s adherence to provide people with an adequate standard of living can be found with respect to the NII and its activities, which are designed to guarantee that forsaken segments of the population and needy families, who find themselves facing temporary or long-term difficulties, will have a financial basis which will ensure an adequate level of existence. The NII services, described in further detail above, are equally accessible to the various populations in Israeli society.

588.The courts in Israel continue to play a pivotal role in the protection of the right to enjoy an adequate standard of living. The issue of minimum standards of living was addressed by the Supreme Court, residing as the High Court of Justice, in a petition filed by the Commitment to Peace and Social Justice Association – (HCJ 366/03, The Commitment to Peace and Social Justice Association v. The Minister of Finance (12.12.2005)). In its ruling, the Court emphasized that while the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty does create an obligation for the State to ensure human dignity, it does not guarantee an absolute guarantee of social rights. In this regard, however, the State is obligated to maintain a ‘safety net,’ which is designed to ensure that the condition of the underprivileged does not deteriorate to one of existential deprivation, in the sense that they would suffer from a shortage in food, or a lack of shelter, sanitation, health care services and such.

589.On 14 March 2008, the Jerusalem District Court determined that in order to ensure the receipt of child support payments, a parent may take action to receive a stay of exit order against the second parent when there is evidence which suggests that the second parent intends to violate their obligation to pay child support.

590.In the relevant case, the Court determined that the right of a child to receive child support derives from two separate rights – the right to dignity and the right to property. These rights override the right of the father, who is obligated to pay child support, to travel abroad even when he is a permanent resident elsewhere. The Court stressed that when dealing with a child, the opinion of the Supreme Court, as reflected in its rulings, is that the right of the child to fulfil his physical and material needs is a fundamental right deriving from the right to human dignity which is enshrined in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.

591.According to the Court, the right of the child to receive child support is stipulated in article 27 of the Convention, according to which the State is required to recognize the right of a child to enjoy a standard of living that is adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. The Court emphasized Article 27(2) of the Convention, as imposing the primary obligation of care for the child on the child’s parents.

592.The Convention, although not anchored in internal legislation, constitutes an important interpretative instrument, which can be used in balancing the constitutional right of the father to travel abroad with his obligation to provide for his children tilts the aforementioned balancing act in favor of the obligation to provide for one’s children. (M.A 3284/07 Merav Pelman et. al. v. Erez Pelman (14.03.2008)).

Poverty

593.The year 2000 witnessed a slight decline in the incidence of poverty in Israel. The percentage of families, whose net income (after transfer payments and the payment of direct taxes) was below the poverty line, fell from 17.8 per cent in 1999 to 17.6 per cent in 2000. In 2002, there was no ch