• Issue: February 1964
  • Designer: E. Weishoff
  • Plate no.: 105 - 108
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

A clever Frenchman once said that few men fear death as much as life. This fear of life is rooted primarily in economic insecurity. Ten years ago, the Israel government wrote into its law provisions safeguarding the individual against material want by establishing the National Insurance Institute. The law provides insurance for hundreds of thousands of Israelis from their first hour of life to their last.

The Israel National Insurance Institute developed from modest beginnings made some 40 years ago by pioneer Jewish workers in the country. In 1912, when the entire Jewish population numbered only a few thousands, several hundred agricultural workers joined hands to form a health insurance service. During the years prior to the State's independence the Jewish working community cared for its own weak and needy by means of insurance benefits.

With the establishment of the State all social services had to be expanded. The young state took upon itself the ingathering of the immigrants from 70 different lands and the rehabilitation of a stricken nation suffering from the shock of the Holocaust which had exterminated one third of its people.

In 1949 the government appointed a committee to study the problems of social insurance and to prepare a comprehensive report on the feasibility of establishing all-inclusive national insurance. A year later the recommendations of the committee were published as a "Program for Social Insurance in Israel." During the next three years the program was thoroughly examined and then approved by the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament).

At that time the Israel government was struggling with severe problems on several fronts: security, absorption of immigrants, development of the national economy. Taking into account these burdens on the State, the committee had proposed that the program should be introduced in several stages, gradually reaching the goal of all-inclusive insurance.

The Knesset unanimously passed the law on November 18, 1953. It provided old-age pensions, burial expenses and family stipends in event of death of the wage-earner, employment-accident insurance for salaried workers, maternity grants for working women, and presented every newborn child with a gift. The same law established the National Insurance Institute under surveillance of the Ministry of Labor and a public Council, and also made provision for special courts of arbitration.

Recommendations to increase the law's scope were soon forthcoming, both in the Knesset and in the Council of the Institute. In April 1957 it was expanded to include employment-accident insurance for self-employed independent workers. In September 1959 every family with more than three children under the age of 14 became entitled to a grant for each additional child. Expectant mothers now receive hospitalization and initial equipment for the new-born child, and working mothers are entitled to three months' paid maternity leave.

In the ten years since its establishment, the National Insurance Institute has become an anchor of security for every Israeli. The Institute plans to continue increasing its services until it has secured full social insurance for the entire population.

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10th Anniversary Of National Insurance