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Public Support For Families

Familism in Israel is encouraged by the availability of extensive public supports, which are anchored in law and provided by a combination of state and voluntary bodies.

Families benefit from mandatory health insurance with universal access and from a guaranteed minimal income contingent on the number of dependents.

Israel's many laws and services on behalf of children reflect the society's positive attitudes towards children. Employers are forbidden to fire pregnant women. Prenatal care, hospitalization, and delivery are included in the national health package, as is artificial insemination. New mothers receive a monetary grant to pay for the newborn's needs and are entitled to a twelve-week maternity leave, paid for by the National Insurance Institute.

Direct financial support is provided to assist parents to care for their children. Every family receives a monthly child allowance for each child deposited directly into the mother's bank account. Single parents are entitled to a discount on municipal taxes and to financial assistance for such things as purchasing school supplies. The National Insurance Institute pays child support where the father, whether divorced or not, defaults on his obligations.

A ramified system of prenatal and well-baby clinics run by state-supported HMOs and other public bodies is dispersed throughout the country. Day care centers run by state-subsidized voluntary organizations liberally dot Israel's towns and cities. So do community centers, which provide low-cost activities for children, teens, and adults.

Most municipalities in Israel offer state-funded family services that include instrumental services, family counseling, and educational testing and counseling. Shelters for battered women and children have been established by a variety of women's organizations.

The elderly receive National Insurance payments. Indigent elderly who have difficulties taking care of themselves are entitled to home care.

In sum, although Israel is a relatively familistic society, Israeli families, hailing from many parts of the world, are highly diverse and still changing.


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Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsIsrael - Factors Affecting The Israeli Family, Family Patterns, Public Support For Families