Public Sector Reform Program

IDI’s program for reform in Israel’s civil service promotes a broad variety of structural changes and better policies relating to Israel’s public sector, including: strengthening public trust in government; consolidating the checks and balances that are fundamental to Israeli democracy; enhancing equal opportunity; preventing harm to underprivileged sectors of the population; improving public services; streamlining regulations and bureaucracy, and minimizing incentives for corruption.

The program promotes trust building in an efficient, effective, smart, proactive public sector.

Some of the systemic challenges for which the program’s researchers are seeking solutions include: a lack of long-term strategic planning and the erosion of accountability and coordination mechanisms, politicization and weakening of the professional senior leadership and a lack of synchronized data systems.

The program operates in congruence with the UN’s SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) on a number of systemic challenges, specifically relating to SDG16 goals that aim to build efficient, effective, responsible and inclusive institutions. 

The program focuses on four primary areas:

  1. Streamlining the processes, structure and operation of public services in central and local government.
  2. Improving the effectiveness of services provided to the general public and to the business sector.
  3. Improving inter-governmental coordination and synchronization when implementing strategic innovations.
  4. Building trust in government institutions and decision makers.
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    Adv. Rita Golstein-Galperin


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    Rita is a senior practitioner in the fields of public policy and innovation, she joined the Institute after holding a variety of senior positions in the public service. Rita founded the Israel's Economic Attaché delegation to the OECD in Paris and led of the exclusive training program, "Civil Service Cadets ".
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    Dr. Assaf Shapira

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    Assaf Shapira received a PhD in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at the Centre d’études européennes (Center for European Studies) at the Sciences po (Paris).

    His research largely focuses on political representation, political parties, the role of money in politics, and reforms in Israel's public service.

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    Dr. Ariel Finkelstein


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    Dr. Ariel Finkelstein holds s bachelor's degree from the Integrated Program for Philosophy, Economics and Political Science at Hebrew University, and a Master's degree in Public Policy, with a specialization in local government administration and management from Haifa University, as part of the Ministry of Local Government's "Cadets for Local Government" program.

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    Shahar Livne

    Research Assistant

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    Shahar holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master's degree in Emergency and Disaster Management from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, both with exceptional distinction. Currently, she is pursuing a doctoral degree in Health Systems Management at the same university, focusing on readiness and coping with the climate crisis in resource-scarce environments as part of an international team.

    She has experience in policy research, evaluation and measurement, and strategic planning from various research institutes in Israel and from service in public sector. She is skilled in designing and editing interdisciplinary research and conducting mixed-methods studies, as well as facilitating public engagement processes with diverse audiences.

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    Maayan Sacher Pelleg

    Research Assistant

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    Maayan is a policy researcher with management experience in organizations focused on human rights advocacy, economic justice, and social impact innovation. Prior to joining the Institute, Maayan served as an account manager at a social impact incubator, a disability case manager, braille teacher, and a researcher at international organizations, including the UN and the OECD. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from Columbia University as an International Fellow grantee and obtained her Bachelor’s degree (BA) in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania as a Civic Scholar.

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    Ofir Mohaban

    Research Assistant

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    Holds a Bachelor’s in PPE (Philosophy, Political Science and Economics) and the Amirim Interdisciplinary Honors Program in the Humanities from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    Worked as a research assistant for several political science researchers in Israel and abroad. Assisted in research projects about analyzing levels of nationalism and populism in the UK and US, ranking levels of populism and nationalism in past speeches given by Israeli prime ministers, and the effects of gender biases on violence against women in the US.

    Also assisted Dr. Elyakim Cislev from the Federmann School of Public Policy and Governance in the Hebrew University with the analysis of responses given by the elderly in Israel to a survey on the government’s responsive policy towards senior citizens following the events of the 7th of October, 2023.

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    Ayala Goldberg

    Research Assistant at the Local Authority Project

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    Research assistant in the Religion and State program at the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for Shared Society, and a local governance project within the Public Service Reform program. Holds a Bachelor's degree in the PPE program from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Currently a Master's student in government and public policy at the Open University.

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    David Shurman

    Research Assistant

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    David is a graduate of the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students at Tel Aviv University, and holds an MA degree in Public Policy in the field of Development Economics, with high distinction. He has extensive experience in designing, executing, and managing interdisciplinary research in Southeast Asia and Africa.

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    Liron Lishinsky Fischer

    Research Assistant

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Dr. Ariel Finkelstein warns that the proposed new "Rabbis Law" would weaken the standing of local communities, could lead to cronyism, reduce women's representation and more. 

A survey of various demographic statistics on Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Which neighborhoods are more densely populated? Which ones are aging and which have a large majority under the age of 20? 

Arab-Israeli public officials are being increasingly targeted by criminals, hoping to get their way through threats, extortion and force ahead of Tuesday's local elections. Running for office shouldn't cost people their lives.

The local elections this week in Israel—taking place at a time of war—have many Israelis asking, perhaps louder than usual, is it actually important to vote in these elections? The answer to this question is a resounding yes.

How are elections in ultra-Orthodox municipalities different from those in non-orthodox local authorities? Are they comparable to the Arab community? A survey an analysis of the political structure of Haredi local authorities. 

From a historical perspective, the proportion of female heads of local authorities in Israel has been extremely low—essentially negligible throughout most decades. How does women’s representation in local authorities during the first two decades of the 21st century compare?

In a few weeks elections will be held in local authorities across Israel. While they were originally scheduled for October 31st, 2023, they were postponed due to the outbreak of war. Elections during wartime raise a slew of challenges that are exceptional to the circumstances. Find out everything you need to know about wartime local elections in Israel.

It is no surprise that the civil service has suffered a severe blow as the current hostilities continue. In light of recent actions aimed at undermining the public sector, immediate action must be taken to address this situation in order to restore social resilience.

When Israeli liberals depend solely on the Supreme Court for checks and balances, they are taking a big risk. It is essential to add veto points as human rights in Israel should not depend on the Supreme Court alone - decentralization of government is key. 

In Israel, the public sector succeeded in enhancing innovation in the private sector but has remained rigidly stuck in the past and lags behind OECD standards.

The OECD recommends granting local authorities’ greater autonomy in setting local taxation. The program being pursued by the current government raises fears of central government taking control of the Arnona (municipal tax) Fund, as has happened in the past.

In the system of democracy currently in place in Israel, Knesset members represent the public. This is indisputable. However, the ties between the public and its representatives are very weak.

Israel hi-tech sectors is one of the largest and most innovative in the world, accounting for around 10% of jobs in the country - but innovation to be limited to what is still a minority of the workforce. 

Most of the public support limiting local authority rabbis' term of service to five years and giving them the option to be re-appointed at the end of each term

There has been much talk and little action about the need to delegate powers to the local authorities. Now is the time for actual be movement on the ground.

The pandemic has brought to the fore what was already clear - the public's trust in Israel’s local government is much higher than in the central government. It is high time more authority to be transferred to the care of local leaders.

Reducing the regulatory burden is a key objective for many government ministries -but how can this be achieved while maintaining honest and ethical behaviour

Recent years have seen the emergence of dozens of corruption scandals involving local government in Israel. Subsequently there have been calls to set mayoral term limits to prevent graft and corruption. Dr. Ofer Kenig and Shahaf Zamir's dispel the idea that there is a connection between the length of a mayors term and levels of corruption.

IDI President calls on the leaders of the coalition factions to stop politicizing the civil service

A strong and efficient local government is one of the building blocks of a democratic society, increases the effectiveness of the system and bolsters the checks and balances between the various levels of government.

In recent years there has been growing debate over the status of local governments in Israel. In the wake of the Covid crisis, in which local governments played a pivotal role and the increasing instability of the central government, there is increasing public demand for further decentralization and empowerment of local authorities in Israel.

The local government project is part of IDI’s Civil Service Reform Program, and deals with an extensive array of issues relating to local governments in Israel. The project constructs a framework with which it studies the nature, status, and authorities of local governments, and works to strengthen its effectiveness. Research and metrics show that Israel is one of the most centralized countries in the Western world. Therefore, the project focuses on decentralization and the distribution of powers to local authorities. The project also deals with consolidation of internal monitoring mechanisms within local governments, including members of local councils and democratic gatekeepers.

to the project >>