Freedom in the World 2023 - Israel

/ 100
Political Rights 34 / 40
Civil Liberties 43 / 60
76 / 100 Free
Global freedom statuses are calculated on a weighted scale. See the methodology.


The numerical scores and status listed above do not reflect conditions in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, which are examined in separate reports. Although the international community generally considers East Jerusalem to be part of the occupied West Bank, it may be mentioned in this report when specific conditions there directly affect or overlap with conditions in Israel proper. Freedom in the World reports assess the level of political rights and civil liberties in a given geographical area, regardless of whether they are affected by the state, nonstate actors, or foreign powers. Disputed or occupied territories are sometimes assessed separately if they meet certain criteria, including boundaries that are sufficiently stable to allow year-on-year comparisons. For more information, see the report methodology and FAQ.


Israel is a parliamentary democracy with a multiparty system and independent institutions that guarantee political rights and civil liberties for most of the population. Although the judiciary is comparatively active in protecting minority rights, the political leadership and many in society have discriminated against Arab and other ethnic or religious minority populations, resulting in systemic disparities in areas including infrastructure, criminal justice, education, and economic opportunity.

Key Developments in 2022

  • In June, one year after forming a government, the coalition led by then prime minister Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid collapsed. Bennett stepped down and the Knesset was dissolved later the same month.
  • Snap legislative elections were held in November, marking Israel’s fifth parliamentary elections since 2019. The right-wing nationalist electoral bloc headed by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a plurality of seats in the elections, allowing Netanyahu to form a coalition government in December composed of his Likud party, the far-right Religious Zionist party, and two ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism.
  • The new coalition government presented its platform to the Knesset in December, which included a declaration that “the Jewish people have an exclusive and indisputable right to all parts of the Land of Israel.” This designation was commonly understood to include the occupied West Bank.
  • The trial against Netanyahu, who faces numerous corruption charges, including bribery and fraud, continued throughout the year. Netanyahu’s new government, formed in December, is expected to pursue legislative approval of an immunity bill that would shield him and other lawmakers from prosecution while in office.

Political Rights

A Electoral Process

A1 0-4 pts
Was the current head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections? 4 / 4

A largely ceremonial president is elected by the Knesset (parliament) for one seven-year term. In June 2021, Isaac Herzog, formerly the head of the Labor Party, was elected to replace outgoing president Reuven Rivlin.

The prime minister must have the support of a majority in the Knesset. In 2014, in a bid to create more stable governing coalitions, the electoral threshold for parties to win representation was raised from 2 percent to 3.25 percent, and the no-confidence procedure was revised so that opponents hoping to oust a sitting government must simultaneously vote in a new one. Despite this change, there are still many small parties in the political system, making it difficult to form majorities.

After the March 2021 elections, parties from across the political spectrum formed a new coalition government, ending the premiership of Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the coalition agreement, Naftali Bennett of the right-wing Yamina Party would serve as prime minister for about two years, after which Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid would replace him until the next elections. In June 2022, Bennett and Lapid announced that their governing coalition had collapsed and the Knesset would be dissolved; Lapid was appointed interim prime minister until a new government could be formed following snap elections in November. Netanyahu returned as prime minster in December as head of the most right-wing government in Israeli history after successfully forming a new governing coalition. Observers have described the new coalition government as “ultranationalist.”

A2 0-4 pts
Were the current national legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections? 4 / 4

Members of the 120-seat Knesset are elected to serve four-year terms through closed-list proportional representation using a single nationwide district, and elections are typically free and fair.

The November 2022 elections saw the weakest performance of the Israeli left in the country’s history. The right-wing nationalist bloc headed by Netanyahu was able to secure a plurality of seats following the elections: Netanyahu’s Likud took 32 seats, while the far-right Religious Zionist party took 14 seats, and ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism took 11 and 7 seats, respectively. Yesh Atid took 24 seats, the centrist National Unity won 12, Israel is our Home won 6, the Islamist Ra’am and the Arab-led Joint List won 5 seats each, and the center-left Labor Party won 4. The left-wing Meretz failed to cross the electoral threshold for the first time in Israel’s history.

A3 0-4 pts
Are the electoral laws and framework fair, and are they implemented impartially by the relevant election management bodies? 4 / 4

The Central Elections Committee (CEC), is responsible for ensuring the fairness of elections. It is composed of delegations representing the various political groups in the Knesset, supported by a professional staff, and chaired by a Supreme Court judge. Elections are generally conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner, and all parties usually accept the results. The conduct of the 2022 elections was generally perceived as fair and successful.

B Political Pluralism and Participation

B1 0-4 pts
Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system free of undue obstacles to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings? 3 / 4

Israel hosts a diverse and competitive multiparty system. However, parties or candidates that deny Israel’s Jewish character, oppose democracy, or incite racism are prohibited. This has occasionally been invoked against both far-right Jewish candidates and Arab candidates. After agreeing to join the coalition government in December 2022, the far-right Religious Zionist party announced plans to pursue legal amendments that would remove the prohibition on “racial incitement” in the Knesset.

B2 0-4 pts
Is there a realistic opportunity for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections? 4 / 4

Israel has undergone multiple, peaceful rotations of power among rival political groups during its history, and the 2022 elections resulted in the replacement of the incumbent prime minister. Opposition parties have typically controlled many local governments, and Arab-majority towns are mostly run by independents or mayors from the Joint List.

B3 0-4 pts
Are the people’s political choices free from domination by forces that are external to the political sphere, or by political forces that employ extrapolitical means? 4 / 4

Israeli voters are generally free from coercion or undue influence by interest groups outside the political sphere. Political parties rely mostly on public subsidies for their financing.

B4 0-4 pts
Do various segments of the population (including ethnic, racial, religious, gender, LGBT+, and other relevant groups) have full political rights and electoral opportunities? 2 / 4

Political rights are unevenly upheld.

Women generally enjoy full political rights in law and in practice, though they remain underrepresented in leadership positions and can encounter additional obstacles in parties and communities—both Jewish and Arab—that are associated with religious or cultural conservatism. Shas and United Torah Judaism continued to exclude women from their candidate lists in 2022, while Ra’am elected its first woman Knesset member in 2020.

Political power in Israel is held disproportionately by Jewish men; while Ashkenazim (Jews of European descent) have historically enjoyed particular advantages, Mizrahim (Jews of Middle Eastern descent) have gained representation in recent decades.

In 2018, the Knesset adopted a new “basic law” known as the nation-state law, which introduced the principle that the right to exercise self-determination in the State of Israel belongs uniquely to the Jewish people, among other discriminatory provisions. The basic laws of Israel are considered equivalent to a constitution, and critics of the nation-state law said it created a framework for the erosion of non-Jewish citizens’ political and civil rights, though any such effects have been limited to date.

Arab citizens of Israel, who often identify as Palestinian, already faced some discrimination in practice, both legal and informal. Until 2021, no Arab party had ever been formally included in a governing coalition, and Arabs generally do not serve in senior positions in government. Members of other ethnic and religious minority populations, as well as LGBT+ Israelis, enjoy some representation in the Knesset and the political system more broadly.

The roughly 670,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are Israeli citizens and can participate in Israeli elections. Arab residents of East Jerusalem have the option of obtaining Israeli citizenship, though most decline for political reasons. According to official government figures, those who have attempted to obtain citizenship face significant delays and are rejected in 66 percent of cases. While these noncitizens are entitled to vote in municipal as well as Palestinian Authority (PA) elections, most have traditionally boycotted Israeli municipal balloting, and Israel has restricted PA election activity in the city. A Palestinian Jerusalem resident who is not a citizen cannot become mayor under current Israeli law. Israeli law strips noncitizens of their Jerusalem residency if they are away for extended periods, and a law adopted in 2018 empowers the interior minister to revoke such residency for those deemed to be involved in terrorism or treason-related offenses. Citizenship and residency status are overwhelmingly denied to Palestinian residents of the West Bank or Gaza Strip who are married to Israeli citizens.

Courts can revoke the citizenship of any Israeli convicted of spying, treason, or aiding the enemy. Separately, it was reported during 2017 that the Interior Ministry had revoked the citizenship of dozens and possibly thousands of Bedouins over several years, citing decades-old registration errors. Lawmakers have since raised questions about the legality of this ongoing practice.

Jewish immigrants and their immediate families are granted Israeli citizenship and residence rights. It is extremely difficult in practice for non-Jewish immigrants to obtain citizenship.

C Functioning of Government

C1 0-4 pts
Do the freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives determine the policies of the government? 4 / 4

The government and parliament are free to set and implement policies and laws without undue interference from unelected entities.

Starting in 2019, Israel entered a period of political instability, due to the inability of any single bloc to form a stable government. The Netanyahu government formed in 2022 enjoys a clear majority and internal homogeneity and is generally expected to remain stable.

C2 0-4 pts
Are safeguards against official corruption strong and effective? 2 / 4

Corruption scandals are common in all levels of government, and high-level corruption investigations are relatively frequent, with senior officials implicated in several scandals and criminal cases in recent years. In 2019, then prime minister Netanyahu was indicted on charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust for allegedly accepting expensive gifts, his apparent attempt to collude with the owner of the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth to secure positive coverage, and the granting of regulatory favors to telecommunications operator and media conglomerate Bezeq in return for positive coverage. Netanyahu denied the charges against him and accused law enforcement bodies of perpetrating “an attempted coup,” a sentiment amplified by right-wing media outlets.

Netanyahu refused to step down as prime minister after the indictment and held office through the first half of 2021, after which he became leader of the opposition. Netanyahu was reelected as prime minister following the November 2022 elections and is expected to pursue legislative approval of an immunity bill that would shield him and other lawmakers from prosecution while in office. Netanyahu’s trial has been ongoing since April 2021. Netanyahu’s supporters, including his son Yair Netanyahu, have been accused of attempting to intimidate prosecution witnesses.

Netanyahu and his supporters have also accused the Israeli police, the Ministry of Justice, and the attorney general’s office of conspiring to “silence” Netanyahu and to carry out a coup against his right-wing government. Sources within Israeli law enforcement institutions told reporters during 2021 and 2022 that Israeli police chief Kobi Shabtai has discouraged investigations into corruption and cut the resources available for such complex investigations, due to fears of government backlash.

C3 0-4 pts
Does the government operate with openness and transparency? 3 / 4

Israel’s laws, political practices, civil society groups, and independent media generally ensure a substantial level of governmental transparency, though recent corruption cases have illustrated persistent shortcomings. The Freedom of Information Law grants every citizen and resident of Israel the right to receive information from a public authority. However, the law includes blanket exemptions that allow officials to withhold information on the armed forces, intelligence services, the Atomic Energy Agency, and the prison system, potentially enabling the concealment of abuses. Additionally, authorities often fail to respond to freedom of information requests in a timely manner, leading individuals and civil society organizations to turn to the courts to compel the government to respond.

Civil Liberties

D Freedom of Expression and Belief

D1 0-4 pts
Are there free and independent media? 3 / 4

The Israeli media sector is vibrant and free to criticize government policy. While the scope of permissible reporting is generally broad, print articles on security matters are subject to a military censor. According to official statistics released in June 2022, the military partially redacted a total of 1,313 news items and fully barred publication of 129 others in 2021, out of 7,413 stories submitted for review; the figures represented an 11-year low. The Government Press Office has occasionally withheld press cards from journalists to restrict them from entering Israel, citing security considerations.

Despite the existence of robust legal protections for journalists, Netanyahu’s tenure as prime minister negatively affected the public’s trust in the media, which Netanyahu and his allies portrayed as traitors seeking to unseat him. As a result, journalists describe being discouraged from reporting on topics that were perceived to be sympathetic to Palestinians, or frame reporting in a way that would not seem “leftist.” Netanyahu’s efforts to undermine the independence of Israel’s national broadcaster Kan and financially weaken commercial television channels have had a chilling effect on the desire of these media outlets to investigate misconduct or corruption allegations implicating influential politicians.

Most Israeli media outlets are not financially independent, and are affected by the commercial interest of their owners, sometimes resulting in coverage biased toward the owners’ business and political interests. In one recent example, the editor in chief of Yedioth Ahronoth and Ynet, businessman Nochi Dankner, and the owner of the Walla! News websites, Shaul Alowitz, attempted to secure regulatory favors from then prime minister Netanyahu in exchange for favorable coverage. Legal cases against the three, who were indicted on several corruption charges, were ongoing at the end of 2022.

D2 0-4 pts
Are individuals free to practice and express their religious faith or nonbelief in public and private? 3 / 4

While Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, freedom of religion is largely respected. Christian, Muslim, Druze, and Baha’i communities have jurisdiction over their own members in matters of marriage, divorce, and burial. The Orthodox establishment governs personal status matters among Jews, drawing objections from many non-Orthodox Israelis. Orthodox parties have enough political power to block government decisions relating to religion and the state; for example, despite majority support from the Israeli public, no civil or gay marriage exists in Israel, and public transportation is largely unavailable on the Sabbath or religious holidays.

Although the law protects the religious sites of non-Jewish groups, they face discrimination in the allocation of state resources as well as persistent cases of vandalism or harassment, which usually go unsolved.

Citing security concerns, Israeli authorities have set varying limits on access to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in East Jerusalem in recent years, affecting worshippers across the broader area. During 2021 and 2022, Israeli authorities had increasingly allowed Jewish prayer at the site without openly announcing a change in policy, and the number of Jewish worshippers ascending to the Mount has increased. At the Western Wall of the compound, long a site of Jewish prayer, rival advocacy groups have been engaged in an ongoing dispute over access for women and non-Orthodox Jewish worshippers.

D3 0-4 pts
Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free from extensive political indoctrination? 3 / 4

Primary and secondary education is universal, though divided into multiple public school systems (state, state-religious, independent religious, Arabic-Christian, Arabic-Druze, and Arabic-Muslim) as well as private schools. School quality and resources are generally lower in mostly non-Jewish communities. A 2018 law bans groups that are in favor of legal action abroad against Israeli soldiers, or that otherwise undermine state educational goals by criticizing the military, from entering Israeli schools or interacting with students. Attempts to influence or restrict academic freedom at universities are generally blocked.

D4 0-4 pts
Are individuals free to express their personal views on political or other sensitive topics without fear of surveillance or retribution? 3 / 4

While private discussion in Israel is generally open and free, there are some restrictions on political expression. For example, the 2011 Boycott Law exposes Israeli individuals and groups to civil lawsuits if they advocate an economic, cultural, or academic boycott of the state of Israel or West Bank settlements.

The Haaretz newspaper has reported that police have targeted current and former government officials, businesspeople, and others with the Pegasus spyware, which was developed by an Israeli company.

E Associational and Organizational Rights

E1 0-4 pts
Is there freedom of assembly? 3 / 4

Protests and demonstrations are widely permitted and typically peaceful. However, some protest activities—such as desecration of the flag of Israel—can draw criminal penalties, and police have sometimes attempted to restrict peaceful demonstrations.

In May 2021, the possible eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem sparked widespread protests, excessive police violence, and intercommunal clashes involving Arab and Jewish civilians in mixed towns within Israel. The unrest included destruction of property and vigilante attacks against unarmed residents. More than 2,000 people were arrested; while some Jews were among those detained, the vast majority were Arabs, suggesting likely police discrimination.

Antigovernment protests largely subsided after Netanyahu lost his premiership in June 2021, though some demonstrations did take place in front of the prime minister’s residence while Naftali Bennett was in office. In December 2022, thousands of protesters rallied against Netanyahu’s return as prime minister; unlike in 2021, police generally did not respond with force.

Score Change: The score improved from 2 to 3 because there was no repetition of the widespread violence by both police and civilians that had accompanied the 2021 protests against planned evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem.

E2 0-4 pts
Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations, particularly those that are engaged in human rights– and governance-related work? 2 / 4

The environment for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) has deteriorated in recent years. A law enacted in 2012 requires NGOs to submit financial reports four times a year on support received from foreign government sources. Under a 2016 law, NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments must disclose this fact publicly and in any written or oral communications with elected officials. The measure mainly affects groups associated with the political left that oppose Israel’s policies toward Palestinians; foreign funding for right-leaning groups that support Jewish settlements in the West Bank, for example, more often comes from private sources.

A 2017 law bars access to the country for any foreign individuals or groups that publicly support a boycott of Israel or its West Bank settlements. The measure was criticized by civil society organizations as an obstacle to the activities of many pro-Palestinian and human rights groups.

E3 0-4 pts
Is there freedom for trade unions and similar professional or labor organizations? 4 / 4

Workers may join unions and have the right to strike and bargain collectively, although employers often attempt to prevent such moves. Most of the workforce either belongs to Histadrut, the national labor federation, or is covered by its social programs and bargaining agreements. Histadrut also competes with independent union organizations.

F Rule of Law

F1 0-4 pts
Is there an independent judiciary? 4 / 4

The judiciary is independent and regularly rules against the government. The Supreme Court has historically played a crucial role in protecting minority groups and overturning decisions by the government and the parliament when they threaten human rights. The court hears direct petitions from citizens and other individuals in Israel as well as Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the state generally adheres to court rulings.

Some right-wing politicians have advocated reforms that would allow the Knesset to override the Supreme Court when it strikes down legislation. Lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected such a bill in 2020.

F2 0-4 pts
Does due process prevail in civil and criminal matters? 3 / 4

Although due process is largely guaranteed in ordinary cases, those suspected of security-related offenses are subject to special legal provisions. Individuals can be held in administrative detention without trial for renewable six-month terms. According to human rights groups, at the end of 2022, more than 4,600 Palestinians from the occupied territories were being held in Israeli facilities on security grounds, including over 860 in administrative detention—the greatest number of administrative detainees since 2008. As of August 2022, all administrative detainees were Palestinians, 11 of whom held Israeli citizenship. The Supreme Court almost never grants attorneys’ requests to void administrative detention orders. Under criminal law, individuals suspected of security offenses can be held for up to 96 hours without judicial review under certain circumstances, and be denied access to an attorney for up to 21 days.

Scores of Palestinian children (aged 12–17) from the occupied territories are held in Israeli military detention. Although Israeli law prohibits the detention of children younger than 12, some are occasionally held. Most Palestinian child detainees are serving sentences—handed down by a special military court for minors created in 2009—for throwing stones or other projectiles at Israeli troops in the West Bank; acquittals on such charges are very rare, and the military courts have been criticized for a lack of due process protections. East Jerusalem Palestinian minors are tried in Israeli civilian juvenile courts.

F3 0-4 pts
Is there protection from the illegitimate use of physical force and freedom from war and insurgencies? 2 / 4

Israeli border communities receive occasional rocket and artillery fire from militant groups in the Gaza Strip, and more rarely from Lebanon and Syria. In August 2022, several Israeli communities were targeted with rockets fired from Gaza by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which is designated as a terrorist group by the United States, after Israeli forces assassinated a number of the group’s top commanders. Most rockets in recent conflicts have been intercepted by the Israeli military due to the use of air defense systems, preventing harm to civilians. Israeli security forces and civilians also face the ongoing threat of small-scale terrorist attacks, most often involving stabbings or vehicular assaults. In 2022, 31 Israeli citizens were killed in Palestinian militant attacks in Israel and the West Bank, according to Israeli NGO Rescue Without Borders. Human rights groups have sometimes accused police of using deadly force against stone throwers or perpetrators of stabbing and vehicular attacks.

According to the Abraham Initiatives, an Israeli interfaith NGO, roughly 120 murders were recorded in Arab communities in Israel during 2022. Arabs account for the vast majority of murder victims each year despite representing about a fifth of the population, and police are far less likely to solve murders with Arab as opposed to Jewish victims. As part of a coordinated government response to the problem, 2021 budget legislation included new spending on socioeconomic development and law enforcement in Arab communities, and the domestic intelligence service was deployed to help combat criminal activity, drawing mixed reactions from Arab politicians and activists.

The Supreme Court banned torture in a 1999 ruling, but said physical coercion might be permissible during interrogations in cases involving an imminent threat. Human rights organizations accuse the authorities of continuing to use some forms of physical abuse and other measures such as isolation, sleep deprivation, psychological threats and pressure, painful binding, and humiliation.

F4 0-4 pts
Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population? 2 / 4

Jewish citizens of Israel, particularly those of Ashkenazi descent, typically enjoy practical advantages relative to the rest of the population on matters including legal treatment and socioeconomic conditions.

Arab or Palestinian citizens of Israel face de facto discrimination in education, social services, personal security, and access to housing and related permits. The 2018 nation-state law downgraded Arabic from an official language of the country to a language with “special status,” while another clause states that the change would not “affect the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into force,” suggesting that it would be a largely symbolic demotion.

The 2018 nation-state law also declared that the state “views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value, and shall act to encourage and promote its establishment and strengthening.” The Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL), which owns about 13 percent of the land in Israel, has effectively maintained a Jewish-only land-leasing policy. In December 2022, the newly formed coalition government presented its platform to the Knesset, which included a declaration that “the Jewish people have an exclusive and indisputable right to all parts of the Land of Israel,” a designation that is commonly understood to refer to territory outside of the official Israeli state, including the West Bank.

Many of Israel’s Bedouin citizens live in towns and villages that are not recognized by the state. Those in unrecognized villages cannot claim social services, are in some cases off the electricity and water grids, and have no official land rights. The government routinely demolishes their structures build without a license.

Israelis of Ethiopian origin suffer from discrimination—including in the criminal justice system—and lag behind the general population economically despite government integration efforts.

Women are treated equally in criminal and civil courts and have achieved substantial parity within Israeli society, though economic and other forms of discrimination persist, particularly among Arab and religious Jewish communities. Religious courts that rule on family law cases systematically discriminate against women. Arab women are far less likely to be employed than either Arab men or Jewish women.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal, though LGBT+ people continue to face bias in some communities. Gay and transgender Israelis are permitted to serve openly in the military.

Individuals who enter the country irregularly, including asylum seekers, can be detained for up to a year without charges. Asylum applications, when fully processed, are rejected in over 99 percent of cases. Appeals of these decisions are handled by the Appeals Tribunal, a specialized immigration court that overwhelmingly issues rulings in line with the government’s position. In recent years, authorities have pressured thousands of African asylum seekers who entered the country irregularly—mostly from Eritrea and Sudan—to agree to be deported to a third country, such as Rwanda or Uganda. There have been few new irregular entries since a barrier along the border with Egypt was completed in 2012, though there were more than 26,000 asylum seekers in the country as of 2022.

G Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights

G1 0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy freedom of movement, including the ability to change their place of residence, employment, or education? 3 / 4

Security measures can sometimes present obstacles to freedom of movement, though military checkpoints are restricted to the West Bank. Informal local rules that prevent driving on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays can also hamper free movement.

In June 2022, the Ministry of Interior issued a new regulation that prohibits asylum seekers from working outside of construction, agriculture, institution-based caregiving, hotels, and restaurants. The regulation, which came into effect in October and applies to 17 municipalities with large numbers of asylum seekers, was made possible by an October 2021 Supreme Court ruling that determined that limiting the employment of asylum seekers is permitted by Israeli law. A number of asylum seekers filed an appeal against the regulation in September 2022.

Migrant workers in the caregiving sector are only allowed to work within a specific geographical area assigned to them, and can only switch employers three times in the span of their time in Israel, which is generally capped at five years.

G2 0-4 pts
Are individuals able to exercise the right to own property and establish private businesses without undue interference from state or nonstate actors? 3 / 4

Property rights within Israel are effectively protected, and business activity is generally free of undue interference. Businesses face a low risk of expropriation or criminal activity, and corruption is not a major obstacle for private investors. Migrant workers and asylum seekers are barred from owning businesses, forcing them to hire Israeli partners to be able to run their business. However, the authorities’ general commitment to property rights has been called into question given their handling of unrecognized Bedouin villages and their settlement policies in the occupied territories.

G3 0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy personal social freedoms, including choice of marriage partner and size of family, protection from domestic violence, and control over appearance? 3 / 4

Personal social freedoms are generally guaranteed. However, since religious courts oversee personal status issues, women face some disadvantages in divorce and other matters. Many ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities attempt to enforce unofficial rules on gender separation and personal attire in the public sphere. Marriages between Jews and non-Jews are not recognized by the state unless conducted abroad, nor are marriages involving a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man. Israel recognizes same-sex marriages conducted abroad. Nonbiological parents in same-sex partnerships are eligible for guardianship rights. A 2018 law extended surrogacy rights to women without a male partner but not to men without a female partner, effectively excluding gay men. In June 2022, a parliamentary committee approved loosening restrictions on Israel’s abortion law; among other things, access to abortion pills will be provided through Israel’s health care system.

G4 0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy equality of opportunity and freedom from economic exploitation? 2 / 4

Israel remains a destination for human-trafficking victims, and African students, migrant workers, and asylum seekers residing in the country are especially vulnerable to forced labor and other forms of exploitation. In 2021, the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report demoted Israel to Tier 2, citing the government’s insufficient efforts to combat human trafficking. Roughly 30 percent of Palestinian laborers working in Israel have been forced to pay illegal fees to brokers to obtain Israeli work permits; those forced to pay the fee thus enter Israel in debt, making them less likely to quit due to abusive employment conditions. Some migrant workers in the caregiving sector who left their employers due to abuse have had their visas voided by Israeli authorities without a hearing.