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TITLE:  ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES* HUMAN RIGHTS
        PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995










              ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES*


Israel is a parliamentary democracy with a multiparty system 
and free elections.  There is no constitution; a series of 
"basic laws" provide for fundamental rights.  The legislature, 
or Knesset, has the power to dissolve the Government and limit 
the authority of the executive branch.  The judiciary is 
independent.  Public debate is open and lively, and a free 
press scrutinizes all aspects of society and politics.

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has been in a state of war 
with most of its Arab neighbors.  It concluded a peace treaty 
with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994.  As a result of the 
1967 war, Israel occupied the areas of the West Bank, the Gaza 
Strip, the eastern sector of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.  
Throughout its existence, Israel has experienced numerous  
terrorist attacks.  It relies heavily on its military and 
security services and retains many security-related regulations 
from the period of the British Mandate.

On September 13, 1993, Israel and the Palestine Liberation 
Organization (PLO) signed an historic Declaration of 
Principles.  This process of reconciliation led to significant 
developments in 1994, first and foremost being the May 
agreement leading to the establishment of a Palestinian 
Authority (PA) in the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, and the 
August agreement on "early empowerment" (the Agreement on 
Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities) (see the 
annex to this report).

Internal security is the responsibility of the General Security 
Service (Shin Bet), which is under the authority of the Prime 
Minister's office.  The police are under the authority of a 
different minister.  The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is under 
the authority of a civilian Minister of Defense.  It includes a 
significant portion of the adult population on active duty or 
reserve status and plays a role in maintaining internal 
security.  The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the 
Knesset reviews the activities of the IDF and Shin Bet.

Israel has a market economy and enjoys a relatively high 
standard of living.  The economy has grown by an average of 5 
percent a year in the past several years.  Unemployment is 7.5


*The human rights situation in the West Bank, Gaza, and East 
Jerusalem is discussed in the annex appended to this report.

percent, the lowest since 1988.  Inflation is 14.5 percent.  
Since implementation of an economic stabilization plan in 1985, 
the Government has moved steadily in the direction of reducing 
state intervention in the economy.  Much progress has been made 
in liberalizing capital markets, but privatization and labor 
market reform have progressed more slowly.  Despite the 
continued dominant role of the Government in the economy, 
individuals are largely free to invest in private interests and 
own property.

Positive human rights developments, in addition to the 
implementation of Israel-PLO agreements, included the release 
of thousands of Palestinians detainees and prisoners from 
military and civil facilities.  Israeli citizens enjoy a wide 
range of civil and other rights.  Israel's main human rights 
problems arise from its policies and practices in the occupied 
territories.  In addition, while the Government's stated 
intention is to close the social and economic gap between Arab 
and Jewish citizens, Arab citizens still do not share fully in 
the rights granted to, and the levies imposed on, Jewish 
citizens.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Political killings in Israel are neither practiced nor condoned 
by Israeli authorities.  In the context of extreme political 
tension between Israel and the Palestinians, intercommunal 
killings are often assumed to have a political motivation.  In 
1994 the number of such killings of Israelis committed in 
Israel rose to 52, as extremists on both sides sought to 
disrupt the peace process.

On April 6, a Palestinian car bomber in a suicide attack killed 
7 and injured at least 50 at a bus stop in the Israeli city of 
Afula, and on April 13 a bomb in the central bus station in 
Hadera killed 5 persons and wounded as many as 20.  On October 
19, a suicide bomber aboard a Tel Aviv bus killed some 22 
people and injured more than 40.  Another suicide bomber killed 
himself and injured 12 at a Jerusalem bus stop on December 25.

In other violence, a Jewish settler armed with an automatic 
rifle attacked a morning prayer service at the Ibrahim Mosque, 
also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the West Bank city 
of Hebron on February 25, killing at least 29 Arab worshippers.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Although Israeli laws and administrative regulations prohibit 
such practices, there are credible reports that security 
officers abuse Palestinian detainees (See annex for a 
discussion of mistreatment of prisoners from the occupied 
territories incarcerated in detention facilities located in 
Israel).

Incarceration facilities in Israel and the occupied territories 
are administered by either the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), 
the national police, or the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  
Although conditions vary, all facilities are monitored by 
various branches of the Government, by members of the Knesset, 
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and many 
human rights organizations, which have access to the prisons, 
police jails, and IDF camps.

Generally, inmates are not subject to physical abuse by guards, 
food is adequate, and prisoners receive basic necessities.  
However, security prisoners are subject to a different regime, 
even in IPS facilities, and as a class they are often denied 
certain privileges given to prisoners convicted on criminal 
charges.  Overcrowding is the most severe problem in all 
facilities.

IPS prisons conform to general international standards which 
permit inmates to receive mail, have televisions in their 
cells, and receive regular visits.  Prisoners receive wages for 
prison work and benefits for good behavior.  Many IPS prisons 
have religious and drug-free wards and educational and 
recreational program.

Police detention facilities are intended for pretrial 
detentions but are often used as de facto jails, holding 
detainees for several months because of court backlogs.  
Inmates are often not accorded the same rights and living 
conditions as prisoners in the IPS facilities.  Some police 
detention facilities can fall below generally accepted minimum 
international standards.

Detention camps administered by the IDF are limited to male 
Palestinian security prisoners and are guarded by armed 
soldiers.  The number of security prisoners dropped sharply in 
1994, after the Government released over 5,400 Palestinian 
detainees.  Conditions in the camps do not meet minimum 
international standards and threaten the health of the inmates. 
Many camps continue to house inmates in unheated tents, even in 
severe weather conditions.  Family visits are restricted in the 
camps and recreational facilities are minimal.  A petition to 
close the Ketziot detention camp, filed by a human rights 
organization before the High Court of Justice in 1993, was 
withdrawn in 1994.  The number of detainees in the camp had 
decreased to about 820 by the end of the year, down from 4,900 
in 1993.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Israeli law and practice prohibit arbitrary arrest or 
imprisonment.  Writs of habeas corpus and other procedural and 
substantive safeguards are available.  Defendants are 
considered innocent until proven guilty.  However, a 1979 law 
permits administrative detention without charge or trial.  The 
Minister of Defense may issue a detention order for a maximum 
of 6 months.  Within 48 hours of issuance, detainees must 
appear before a district judge who may confirm, shorten, or 
overturn the order.  If the order is confirmed, an automatic 
review takes place after 3 months.  Administrative detention 
orders are renewable.  Detainees may be represented by counsel 
and appeal detention orders to the Supreme Court.  At detention 
hearings, the Government may withhold evidence from defense 
lawyers on security grounds.

In felony cases, a district court judge may postpone for 48 
hours the notification of arrest to the detainee's attorney.  
The postponement may be extended to 7 days by the Minister of 
Defense on national security grounds or by the police Inspector 
General to conduct an investigation.  Moreover, a judge may 
postpone notification up to 15 days in national security cases.

After the Hebron massacre in February, the authorities placed 
under administrative detention several activists of the Jewish 
ultra-nationalist Kach and Kahane Chai Organizations.  In 
September the authorities placed in administrative detention a 
number of Israelis, because the Government was concerned that 
they might commit terrorist acts.  One of those arrested is a 
member of the IDF who is being tried by a military court.

The Governmemt continues to hold nearly half of the Palestinian 
detainees from the occupied territories in detention centers in 
Israel.  The transfer of prisoners from the occupied 
territories to Israel contravenes article 76 of the Fourth 
Geneva Convention (see Section 1.d. of the annex).

The Government acknowledges that it detains 11 Lebanese 
citizens and has provided information on the whereabouts of all 
but two of them.  The disposition of their cases appears linked 
to government efforts to obtain information on Israeli military 
personnel believed to be prisoners of war or missing in 
Lebanon.  Another 12 Lebanese prisoners, who had been detained 
after serving their sentences, are no longer in detention.

The Government does not exile Israeli citizens (see Section 
1.d. of the annex).

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judicial system is composed of civil, military, religious, 
labor relations, and administrative courts.  The judiciary is 
independent.  The law provides for the right to a hearing with 
representation by counsel.  The right is observed in practice.  
All nonsecurity trials are public except those in which the 
interests of parties are deemed best served by privacy.

Security cases may be tried in either military or civil courts, 
and may be partly or wholly closed to the public.  The Attorney 
General determines the venue in such cases.  The prosecution 
must justify closing the proceedings to the public.  Defendants 
have the right to be represented by counsel even in closed 
proceedings but may be denied access to some evidence on 
security grounds.  Convictions may not be based on any evidence 
denied to the defense.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

Although privacy of the individual and the home are generally 
protected by law, authorities sometimes interfere with mail and 
monitor telephone conversations.  In criminal cases, the law 
permits wiretapping by court order; in security cases, the 
order must be issued by the Ministry of Defense.  Under 
emergency regulations, authorities may open and destroy mail on 
security grounds.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

See Section 1.g. of the annex.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Individuals, organizations, the press, and the electronic media 
freely debate public issues and criticize government officials 
and policies.  The law authorizes the Government to censor any 
material reported from Israel or the occupied territories 
regarded as sensitive on national security grounds.  However, 
news printed or broadcast abroad may be reported in Israel 
without censorship.  In response to objections from the press, 
the Government has shown greater flexibility regarding material 
which may or may not be made public.

The Government censors Arabic publications more strictly than 
Hebrew publications.  In August the Ministry of the Interior 
closed the East Jerusalem weekly newspaper, Al-Bayan, because 
of the paper's alleged connections with the terrorist group 
Hamas.  Authorities also prohibited the distribution of the 
PLO-affiliated Al-Awdah publication for several months.

Emergency regulations prohibit anyone from expressing support 
for illegal organizations.  The Government occasionally 
prosecutes persons for speaking or writing on behalf of 
terrorist groups.  Such actions are almost always directed 
against Israeli Arabs; no such cases were filed against Jews in 
1994, but the Kach and Kahane Chai extremist organizations were 
banned under provisions of a 1948 antiterrorism act (see 
Section 2.b.)

All newspapers are privately owned and managed.  Newspaper 
licenses are valid only for Israel; separate licenses are 
required to distribute publications in the occupied 
territories.  Directed by a Government appointee, the 
quasi-independent Israel Broadcast Authority (IBA) controls 
television channel 1 and "KOL Israel" radio, both major sources 
of news and information.  Six cable companies operate under 
franchises granted by councils appointed by the Government.  
Three companies were awarded franchises in 1993 to start a 
commercial television channel, Israel's first.  Privately 
owned, commercial local radio is also gearing up.  Tenders for 
the establishment of the first 6 of 17 planned local radio 
stations have already been made.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The law and court rulings protect the rights of assembly and 
association.  The Government may prohibit individuals from 
belonging to terrorist groups.  After the Hebron massacre in 
February, the Cabinet invoked the 1948 Ordinance for the 
Prevention of Terror to ban the ultranationalist Kach and 
Kahane Chai organizations.  The decision stipulated 
imprisonment for anyone belonging to, or expressing support 
for, either organization.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

This right is strongly protected by law.  Approximately 81 
percent of Israeli citizens are Jewish.  Muslims, Christians, 
Druze, and members of other minority religions make up the 
remaining 19 percent.  Each recognized religious community has 
legal authority over its members in matters of marriage and 
divorce.  Secular courts have primacy over questions of 
inheritance, but parties, by mutual agreement, may bring the 
case to religious courts.

In the Jewish community, Orthodox religious authorities have 
exclusive control over marriage, divorce, and burial, whether 
the subjects are Orthodox Jews or not.  Some Conservative, 
Reform, and secular Jews have objected to such authority.  
Israeli authorities are not empowered to perform civil 
marriages.

Missionaries are allowed to work in Israel.  According to the 
Ministry of Justice, the Government has not applied a 1977 
anti-proselytizing law for several years, which would prohibit 
anyone from offering or receiving material benefits as an 
inducement to conversion.

The Government permits citizens to visit religious sites or 
perform religious obligations in Israel and abroad.  However, 
it has prevented Muslim and Christian Palestinians from the 
occupied territories from worshipping at holy places in East 
Jerusalem (see Section 2.c. in the annex).  In 1994 the 
Government permitted Muslim citizens over 30 years of age to 
perform the religious pilgrimage to Mecca, but it denied 
permission to Muslim citizens under 30 years of years of age on 
security grounds.  The Government asserts that travel to Saudi 
Arabia, which is still in a state of war with Israel, is a 
privilege and not a right.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Citizens have the freedom of movement except in military or 
security zones or in instances where they may be confined by 
administrative order to their neighborhoods or villages.  In 
1994 the Government issued at least 40 orders limiting the 
movements of some Jewish settlers in the occupied territories.

Citizens are free to travel abroad and to emigrate, provided 
they have no outstanding military obligations or are not 
restricted by administrative order.

The Government welcomes Jewish immigrants, their families, and 
Jewish refugees, to whom it confers automatic citizenship and 
residence rights under the Law of Return.  This law does not 
apply to non-Jews or to persons of Jewish descent who have 
converted to another faith.

Under the principle of family reunification, successive 
Governments have allowed the return of some Arab refugees who 
fled Israel in 1948-1949.  The Government claims that 100,000 
Arabs were allowed to return to Israel after the 1949 armistice 
agreement, but it has denied the great majority of other 
requests.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change their Government

Citizens have the right and ability to change their government 
peacefully.  Israel is a parliamentary democracy, with an 
active multiparty system representing a wide range of political 
views.  Relatively small parties, including those whose primary 
support is among Israeli Arabs, regularly win seats in the 
Knesset, or Parliament.  Suffrage is universal for adult 
citizens.  Elections are by secret ballot.  There are no legal 
impediments to the participation of women and minorities in 
government, but they are underrepresented.  Eleven women, and 6 
Arab and 2 Druze citizens serve in the 120-seat Knesset.  Two 
women are in the Cabinet, and 2 Israeli Arabs are deputy 
ministers.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Local groups publicize human rights issues and litigate cases.  
The Government is generally responsive to international human 
rights groups and receives visits by a wide range of private 
and international organizations concerned with human rights 
such as Amnesty International, Middle East Watch, the Lawyers 
Committee for Human Rights, the International Labor 
Organization and others.  It hosts and works with a delegation 
of the International Committee for the Red Cross.

Human rights offices at the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, 
Defense, and Justice respond to inquiries from human rights 
groups and other governments.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Equal Opportunity Employment Law prohibits discrimination 
on the basis of sex, marital status, or sexual orientation.  
The Labor Exchange Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of 
race, religion, political beliefs, and age.  A general law 
prohibits government bodies from practicing discrimination on 
any of these grounds.

     Women

The Equal Opportunity Law requires employers to pay male and 
female workers equal wages for equal work.  However, women's 
advocacy groups report that women routinely receive lower 
wages, are promoted less often, and have fewer career 
opportunities than their male counterparts.

The adjudication of personal status law by the religious courts 
means that women are subject to restrictive interpretations of 
their rights regarding marriage and divorce (see Section 
2.c.).  Women are subject to the military draft but may not 
serve in combat positions.

There was heightened concern in 1994 over violence against 
women.  Women's advocacy groups estimate that 13 women were 
killed by their spouses during the year, and that as many as 40 
Druze or Bedouin women may be killed each year by male 
relatives for "family honor" offenses.  A survey conducted by 
one women's group indicated that some 200,000 women suffer from 
domestic violence each year, and that 7 per cent of these are 
battered on a regular basis.

A special session of the Knesset was held on August 31 to 
discuss violence against women.  The Government condemns such 
violence and has helped to open 6 shelters for battered women 
and has plans to open several others.

According to a 1991 law, a district or magistrate court may 
prohibit access by violent family members to their property.  
Women's groups cooperate with legal and social service 
institutions to provide women's rights education.  There are 7 
rape crisis centers.  In 1993, they received reports of 2,266 
cases of rape.

     Children

The Government has a strong commitment to the rights and 
welfare of children.  While there is no pattern of societal 
abuse against children, the Government has legislated against 
sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of children and has 
mandated comprehensive reporting requirements to ensure close 
attention to the issue.  Child prostitution has been reported 
in isolated cases and has been promptly dealt with by 
appropriate authorities.  The police, educational, and social 
welfare officials are responsible for monitoring cases of abuse 
and administer victim treatment programs.

Civil rights groups have expressed concern that female genital 
mutilation continues to be practiced among the Bedouin in the 
Negev region.  It is not known if the practice is common.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The Government does not provide Israeli Arabs, who constitute 
18 percent of the population, with the same quality of 
education, housing, employment, and social services as Jews.  
Relative to their numbers, Israeli Arabs are underrepresented 
in the student bodies and faculties of most universities and in 
higher level professional and business ranks.  A small number 
of Israeli Arabs have risen to responsible positions in the 
civil service, generally in the Arab departments of government 
ministries.

The Government has tried to redress inequities in the 
allocation of resources to Arab communities, but it 
acknowledges that gaps remain in education, health, 
infrastructure development, and public sector employment.  A 
5-week strike by the heads of Arab councils ended in August 
with agreement by the Ministries of Interior and Finance to 
reduce the fiscal deficits of the Arab local authorities and 
investigate discrimination in government funding for Arab 
localities.

In practice, Israeli Arabs are not allowed to work in companies 
with defense contracts or in security-related fields.  The 
Israeli Druze and Circassian communities, at their initiative, 
are subject to the military draft, and some Bedouin and other 
Arab citizens serve voluntarily.  Apart from Druze and 
Circassians, Israeli Arabs are not subject to the draft.  
Consequently, they have less access than other Israelis to 
those social and economic benefits for which military service 
is a prerequisite or an advantage, such as housing, 
new-household subsidies, and government or security-related 
industrial employment.  Under a government policy whose 
implementation began in January, the social security child 
allowance for parents who have not served in the military will 
be increased over a 3-year period to equal the allowance of 
those who have served in the military.

The problem of the legal status of unrecognized Arab villages 
remained unresolved in 1994.  Residents of the village of 
Ramyah (see the 1991 and 1992 country reports) continued to 
negotiate the future of their village.  A bill which would 
allow the pre-1948 residents of the villages of Bir Am and 
Ikrit, or their descendants, to rebuild their houses remains 
before a Knesset legislative committee.

     Religious Minorities

In general the Government respects freedom of worship and 
protects the rights of citizens of all creeds to worship 
freely.  In civic areas where religion is a determinant 
criterion, such as the religious courts and centers of 
education, non-Jewish institutions routinely receive less state 
support than their Jewish counterparts.  Immigration is 
significantly easier for Jews than non-Jews.  The Government 
generally respects and protects non-Jewish religious sites.

     People with Disabilities

The Government provides a range of benefits, including income 
maintenance, housing subsidies, and transportation support for 
disabled persons, who are about 10 percent of the population.  
While the law provides for equal treatment for the disabled, 
advocacy groups report continued difficulties with enforcement 
in employment and housing.  A law requiring access by the 
disabled to public buildings is not widely enforced.  There is 
no law providing people with disabilities with access to public 
transportation.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Workers may join and establish labor organizations freely.  
Israeli Arabs may establish their own unions but have not done 
so.  Most unions belong to the General Federation of Labor in 
Israel, or Histadrut, or to a much smaller rival federation.  
These organizations are independent of the Government.  About 
70 percent of the work force are members of Histadrut trade 
unions; still more are covered by Histadrut's social and 
insurance programs and collective bargaining agreements.  
Histadrut members democratically elect national and local 
officers and officials of its affiliated women's organization, 
Na'amat, from political party lists.  Plant or enterprise 
committee members are elected individually.

The right to strike is exercised regularly.  Unions must 
provide 15-days' notice prior to a strike unless otherwise 
specified in the collective bargaining agreement.  However, 
unauthorized strikes occur.  Strike leaders--even those 
organizing illegal strikes--are protected by law.  If essential 
public services are affected, the Government may appeal to 
labor courts for back-to-work orders while the parties continue 
negotiations.

Strikes in 1994 were concentrated in the public sector, and 
included a 12-week strike by the Academics' Union that forced 
the closure of 3 universities, and 4 days of work stoppages by 
employees protesting privatization of the national telephone 
company.  Significant work stoppages also took place in the 
defense industry.

Unions are free to affiliate with international organizations.  
Following the signing of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement in May, 
representatives from Histadrut and Palestinian trade unions 
formalized their ongoing dialog.  Palestinians from the West 
Bank and Gaza Strip who work in Israel may not join Israeli 
trade unions or organize their own unions in Israel.

Palestinian trade unions in the occupied territories are not 
permitted to conduct activities in Israel (see Section 6.a. of 
the annex).  However, nonresident workers in the organized 
sector are entitled to the protection of Histadrut work 
contracts and grievance procedures.  They may join, vote for, 
and be elected to shop-level workers' committees if their 
numbers in individual establishments exceed a minimum 
threshold.  Palestinian participation in such committees is 
minimal.

Labor laws apply to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and to the 
Syrian Druze living on the Golan Heights.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Israeli workers fully exercise their legal rights to organize 
and bargain collectively.  While there is no law specifically 
prohibiting antiunion discrimination, the basic law against 
discrimination could be cited to contest discrimination based 
on union membership.  No antiunion discrimination has been 
reported.

Nonresident workers may not organize their own unions or engage 
in collective bargaining, but they are entitled to be 
represented by the bargaining agent and protected by collective 
bargaining agreements.  They do not pay union membership fees 
but pay a 1-percent agency fee which entitles them to union 
protection by Histadrut's collective bargaining agreements (see 
Section 6.b. in the annex).  The Ministry of Labor may extend 
collective bargaining agreements to nonunionized workplaces in 
the same industrial sector.  The Ministry of Labor also 
oversees personal contracts in the nonorganized sectors of the 
economy.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor.  Neither Israeli 
citizens nor nonresident Palestinians working in Israel are 
subject to this practice.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

A child who has attained the age of 15 years and who is liable 
to compulsory education under the Compulsory Education Law, may 
not be employed unless he works as an apprentice under the 
Apprenticeship Law.  Notwithstanding these provisions, a child 
who has completed his 14th year may be employed during a period 
of official school holidays.  Employment of those aged 16 to 18 
is restricted to ensure time for rest and education.

The labor exchanges do not process work applications for West 
Bank or Gaza Palestinians under age 17, and higher age 
requirements are often imposed for security reasons.  Ministry 
of Labor inspectors enforce these laws, but advocates of 
children's rights claim that enforcement is inadequate.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Legislation in 1987 established a minimum wage at 45 percent of 
the average wage, calculated periodically and adjusted for cost 
of living increases.  As of October 1994, the monthly minimum 
wage was $540 (1,624 new shekels).  The minimum wage is often 
supplemented by special allowances and is generally sufficient 
to provide workers and their families an acceptable standard of 
living.  Union officials have expressed concern over 
enforcement of minimum wage regulations, particularly with 
respect to employers of illegal nonresident workers, who 
sometimes pay less than the minimum wage.

By law, maximum hours of work at regular pay are 47 hours a 
week, 8 hours per day, and 7 hours on the day before the weekly 
rest, which must be at least 36 consecutive hours and include 
the Sabbath.  By national collective agreements, the private 
sector established a maximum 45-hour workweek in 1988.  The 
public sector moved to a 5-day, 42 1/2 hour workweek in 1989.

Employers must receive a government permit to hire nonresident 
workers from the occupied territories, certifying that no 
Israeli citizen is available for the job.  All Palestinians 
from the occupied territories are employed on a daily basis 
and, unless they are employed on shiftwork, are not authorized 
to spend the night in Israel.  Palestinians without valid work 
permits are subject to arrest.

Nonresident workers are paid through the employment service of 
the Ministry of Labor which disburses wages and benefits 
collected from employers.  The Ministry deducts a 1 percent 
union fee and the workers' contributions to the National 
Insurance Institute, the agency that administers the Israeli 
social security system.  Despite these deductions, Palestinian 
workers do not have access to unemployment insurance, general 
disability payments, low-income supplements, child allotments 
or maternity leave.  By contrast Israeli settlers in the 
occupied territories who work in Israel have the same benefits 
as other Israeli workers.  The International Labor Organization 
has long criticized this inequality in entitlements.

Along with union representatives, the Labor Inspection Service 
enforces labor, health, and safety standards in the workplace, 
although resource constraints affect overall enforcement.  
Legislation protects the employment rights of safety delegates 
elected or appointed by the workers.  In cooperation with 
management, these delegates are responsible for the safety and 
health of the workplace.  Workers do not have the legal right 
to remove themselves from dangerous work situations without 
jeopardy to continued employment.  However, collective 
bargaining agreements provide some workers with recourse 
through the work site labor committee.  Any worker may 
challenge unsafe work practices through appropriate government 
oversight and legal agencies.


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[end of document]

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