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Israel: National Institutions
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > National Institutions


As of late 1988, Israel had a number of so-called "nongovernment public sector" organizations, also known as "national institutions." For all practical purposes, they constituted an integral part of the government system, performing functions that were vital to the fulfillment of Zionist aspirations and to the maintenance of Israeli society. Political parties competed for leadership and patronage within them. During the Mandate period, these organizations served as the British administration's officially recognized governing bodies for the Jewish community in Palestine. The Jewish Agency Executive, for instance, was recognized by the governments of Britain, the United States, and other states and international organizations, including the United Nations (UN). In the process of their work, the organizations acquired considerable experience in self-rule, not to mention jealously guarded bureaucratic prerogatives.

These bodies engaged in fund-raising in the Diaspora, operated social welfare services, and were involved in education and cultural work. They operated enterprises, including housing companies; organized immigration; and promoted Zionist work. After Israel achieved independence, many of these services were taken over by the state, but others remained under the control of these well-entrenched organizations. They came to function side by side with the government, and their activities often overlapped, especially in the field of social welfare services. Until the early 1970s, these organizations were almost completely dominated by Israeli governments; later, the organized representatives of Diaspora Jewry began to function more independently.

Data as of December 1988

Last Updated: December 1988

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Israel was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Israel Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 107 of 206


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