Edited by Gary P. Freeman and Nikola Mirilovic
Chapter 10: Ideas and migrant integration policy in Israel 1989–2010
At the beginning of the 1990s, when welfare states experienced a significant turn to the right, Israel also moved to a more laissez-faire migrant integration policy aimed at increasing personal responsibility and decreasing the state’s role. However, because Israel is an ‘ethnic immigration’ country (Joppke and Rosenhek, 2003) that sees immigration as part of its nation-building program, immigrants continued to enjoy a relatively generous universal integration policy (Gal, 2008; Gal and Leshem, 2000). In the last two decades, Israeli integration policy has shifted from being a universal policy with minimal state involvement, to being a selective policy with increased state responsibility for providing and regulating integration services. Interestingly, while a selective policy is often aimed at assisting the poor, in the Israeli case it was also intended to assist wealthy and skilled immigrants. Moreover, the dynamics of this policy contradicts those of the integration policies in other immigrant-receiving countries. There the state’s role in integration has been scaled back, shifting responsibility to the immigrants. The aim of this chapter is to demonstrate and explain Israeli policy change using the concept of policy displacement and analyzing the ideas behind the policy.
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