Legal system

The legal system and the family bond are not related. However, laws do have an affect on human relationships. There is no better example of this than in Israel where the Jewish law is a guide for how people relate to one another. This is a country established in the ashes of apartheid. And yet the new community is just as segregated as the Jews and Germans were prior to World War II.

Israel is a land where religion is a dividing factor between country, heritage and social order and the political and governmental agenda is felt throughout the community, specifically within the Jewish and Arab households. “Israelis have always been horrified at the idea of parallels between their country, a democracy risen from the ashes of genocide, and the racist system that ruled the old South Africa.

Yet even within Israel itself, accusations persist that the web of controls affecting every aspect of Palestinian life bears a disturbing resemblance to apartheid, (McGreal, 2006,  1). ” The political tension between Israel and Palastien and the policies that have resulted from those tensions has had a tremendous influence over how people within the Israeli borders conducts their daily lives. But political differences between Arabs and Jews are not the only factors that combine politics and home life.

There are many family related policies which force members of the Israeli community to live their lives according to government mandates. Although some may applaud the policies in place in Israel for pregnant women and families there are others who may not agree with some of the stipulations. “In Israel, the cost of hospitalization for birth is covered by the state health insurance program and mothers are also granted a lump sum maternity grant, equivalent to 20% of the average monthly wage, to cover the cost of initial equipment for the baby.

Israel has a 12 week maternity leave program, six of which can be taken before the expected birth. During this period, an insured mother (i. e. , a mother who has completed the minimal qualification period of contribution to the state social insurance fund for at least six month) is eligible for a taxed maternity allowance that is equivalent to 100% of her average daily income in the three month period preceding the birth. She is also eligible for another nine month of unpaid leave following the 12 week paid leave period.

Since 1995, fathers may take parental leave instead of the mother, from the seventh week following the birth, and they are also eligible for a parental allowance for a period of up to 42 days, (The Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies at Columbia University, 2004, figure 6). ” These public policies apply to Jews only. Arabs are not guaranteed any public assistance during maternity. Thus, critics of the Israel policies assert that this a governmental ploy to increase the fertility rates of Jews while decreasing the birth rate of Arabs.

The “minimal qualification period of contribution” includes time in the Israeli army. Although Arabs do reside within the borders of land technically classified as Israel they are not considered citizens of the country despite birthright. It would be highly unlikely for Arabs to participate in the minimal qualification period. Therefore, citizens living and working within the same country are not entitled to the same family support of those who are Jewish or willing to work with the Israeli military. In addition Israeli government has been accused are creating inequalities in their healthcare regime.

Thus the quality of life for those living within the country varies by demographic. In addition to conflicting family polices within the work place. The Israeli government has implemented conflicting health care regimes. The wealthy have access to medicine through privatized health care and a vastly under funded universal health system has left many out when it comes to health care. “Israel’s 1994 National Health Insurance Law has noble guarantees - quality health services for every Israeli resident in accordance with justice, equality and mutual support principles.

Ever since, however, Israeli governments violated their obligation, and unequal access has increased. It’s characterized by inadequate funding, privatized health services, a steady erosion in the extent and quality of services provided, and the crowding out of access for the poor and many in the middle class. Defunding public health means private insurance is as essential as it is in the US. The result is two health systems differing markedly in quality - one for the well-off and another for everyone else, including many in the middle class, (Lendman, 2008, ¶ 6). ”

The hospitals across the country have felt the burden of this health care crisis. “Public hospitals have been hardest hit, patient access to quality health care has eroded, and medical personnel are understaffed and aren't able to provide the best care possible, (Lendman, 2008, ¶ 8). ” In terms of family problems unhealthy people often create unhealthy families. In addition, the middle class is exempt from government assistance offered to the lower class and feel the burden of under funded public health care. These families struggle to provide adequate health care and the essentials of life.

Israel is the only country that separates citizens by means other than birth place. “There are few places in the world where governments construct a web of nationality and residency laws designed for use by one section of the population against another, (McGreal, 2006, ¶ 4). ” Laws in Israel are designed for Israeli’s yet there are generations of Palestinia’s within the country as well. These are not illegal aliens in the sense that they illegally crossed any border. They are residents who have lived on the land for several generations, yet, they are not entitled to the same rights or citizenship.

This is the most profound way in which Israel’s policies affect the lives of families across the country. The cities are segreagated in the name of “demographic balance. ” “At the heart of Israel's strategy is the policy adopted three decades ago of ‘maintaining the demographic balance’ in Jerusalem. In 1972, the number of Jews in the west of the city outnumbered the Arabs in the east by nearly three to one. The government decreed that that equation should not be allowed to change, at least not in favour of the Arabs, (McGreal, 2006, ¶ 13).

” In addition to the complicated definition of nationality the Israeli’s have over time made conditions so difficult that many Arabs flee the area. Policies concerning land confiscation is one example of these governmental actions to “maintain demographic balance. ” “Israeli law also restricts where non-Jews may live. ‘Muslims and Christians are barred from buying in the Jewish quarter of the old city on the grounds of ‘ historic patterns of life of each community having its own quarter’, says Seidemann, in a phrase eerily reminiscent of apartheid’s philosophy.

‘But that didn’t prevent the Israeli government from aggressively pursuing activities to place Jews within the Muslim quarter. The attitude is: what’s mine is exclusively mine, but what’s yours is mixed if we happen to target it, (McGreal, 2006, ¶ 18). ” In conclusion, a number of policies in Israel place Arab and Jewish families worlds apart and result in family problems including inadequate access to health care and segregation of Jews and Arabs.

Arab land confiscation and possible incentives for Jewish reproduction also make take a toll on Arab families within the country. References Lendman, S. (2008). Human Rights Violations in Israel and Palestine. Rense. Retrieved from www. rense. com McGreal, C. (2006). Worlds Apart. The Guardian. Retrieved from www. guardian. co. uk The Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies at Columbia University. (2004). Israel [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from www. childpolicy. org