Law Enforcement in Israel in the 21st Century
JCPA LOGO Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs


Law Enforcement in the 21st Century: Projections and Forecasts for Israeli Society at the Turn of the Century (Hebrew; 2 vols.)

A forecast of the face of law enforcement in Israel in the coming decades with recommendations for deployment to meet future needs, covering such areas as economics, society, minorities, law, government and politics, science and technology, and internal security. (Israel Ministry of Public Security, S. Neaman Institute at the Technion, and JCPA, 1997) 507 pp.; NIS15 (Mailing charge)




  • Developments in the Human and Social Geography of Israel - Sarah Hershkovitz
  • Forecasts of Israeli Society at the Start of the Coming Century - Yochanan Wosner
  • Projections of Welfare Policy in Israel - Moshe Sherer
  • Sectorial Tensions in Israeli Society - Samuel Lehman-Wilzig

The Economy

  • The Economic Background for Estimating the Needs of Law Enforcement in Israel at the Beginning of the Next Century - Yakir Plessner


  • Minorities in the State of Israel at the Beginning of the 21st Century - Mordechai Abir, Rafi Israeli, Avraham Sela, Boaz Ganor
  • Study Day Discussions

Internal Security

  • Terror in the 21st Century - Boaz Ganor



  • Developments in Law: Directions and Projections - Mordechai Kremnitzer, Meni Moutner
  • Study Day Discussions

Government and Politics

  • The Israeli Political System: Introduction - Daniel J. Elazar
  • Changes in the Governmental and Electoral Systems - Uriel Lynn
  • Constitutional Issues, Citizens' Rights, and Judicial Authority - Ze'ev Segal
  • Israeli Arabs - Baruch Susser
  • Developments in Religious-Secular Relations - Eliezer Don-Yehiya
  • Study Day Discussions

Science and Technology

  • The Contributions of Science and Technology to Law Enforcement Towards the 21st Century and their Influence on the Activities of the Israel Police - Yoel Tsafir and Eli Spiegler

Crime, Delinquency, and Law Enforcement

  • Trends in Crime: Delinquency and Law Enforcement at the Beginning of the 21st Century in Israel - Arye Ratner, Giora Rahav, and Gustavo Mesh

Advisory Panel of Working Group Participants with Prof. Herman Goldstein (E)

Summary Findings of the Working Group on Minorities - Boaz Ganor (E)

Working Group Members of the Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Project (in alphabetical order)

  • Prof. Mordechai Abir, Faculty of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew University; Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Prof. Eliezer Don-Yehiya, Department of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University; Associate of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Prof. Daniel J. Elazar, President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; Department of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University, and Temple University, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
  • Boaz Ganor, International Institute for Policy Against Terror at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya
  • Prof. Herman Goldstein, Law School, University of Wisconsin, Madison, U.S.A.
  • Dr. Sarah Hershkovitz, Strategic Planning Unit, Jerusalem Municipality
  • Prof. Rafael Israeli, Faculty of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew University; Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University
  • Prof. Samuel Lehman-Wilzig, Department of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University
  • Uriel Lynn, Esq., former Chairman, Knesset Committee on Constitution, Law and Legislation; Member of the Board of Overseers of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Dr. Gustavo Mesh, Department of Sociology, Haifa University
  • Prof. Meni Moutner, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
  • Zvi Marom, Director General, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Prof. Yakir Plessner, Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University; Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Prof. Giora Rahav, Department of Criminology, Tel Aviv University
  • Prof. Arye Ratner, Department of Sociology, Haifa University
  • Prof. Ze'ev Segal, Public Policy Program, Faculty of Social Studies, Tel Aviv University; Associate of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Dr. Avraham Sela, Faculty of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew University
  • Dr. Moshe Sherer, School of Social Work, Tel Aviv University
  • Dr. Eli Spiegler, Samuel Neaman Institute, The Technion
  • Prof. Baruch Susser, Department of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University; Associate of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Dr. Yoel Tsafir, Samuel Neaman Institute, The Technion
  • Prof. Yochanan Wosner, School of Social Work, Tel Aviv University


This in-depth study of the projected needs of law enforcement in Israel in the twenty-first century was jointly sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Internal Security, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and the Samuel Neaman Institute at the Technion. This three-year study, which covers nearly every aspect of Israeli society, will serve as the basis for law enforcement planning in Israel for years to come.

The Jerusalem Center would like to express its deep appreciation and gratitude to the Joseph Meyerhoff Fund of Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., and the Kahanoff Foundation of Toronto, Canada, whose foresight and generosity made possible the Center's participation in this important national project.


This two-volume publication contains the research reports and summaries of the study days that were held within the framework of a multi-year project to forecast the face of law enforcement in the 21st century and deploy to meet its needs.

The project was initiated by the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Internal Security (the former Ministry of Police) and was carried out in cooperation with the Samuel Neaman Institute of the Technion and with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs - the JCPA assumed responsibility for coordinating the project at a later stage, restored its momentum, and was instrumental in bringing it to completion. This triple effort was geared to forecasting the developments in various aspects of Israeli society and determining the implications and ramifications of the forecasts for the functioning of the law enforcement system. Overall, the goal of the project was to enable the system to ready itself for the anticipated developments and thus to enable it to cope more effectively with the challenges and problems that the future holds in store.

The study was guided by a small Steering Committee:

  • For the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: Zvi Marom and Chaya Herskovic
  • For the Ministry of Internal Security: Prof. Israel Barak and Idit Hachimi
  • For the Samuel Neaman Institute: Prof. Dani Weiss and David Cohen

Within the framework of the project, senior researchers and experts in various disciplines, who were chosen by the Steering Committee, were asked to present - each in his or her field - their projections and forecasts for the first quarter of the next century, drawing on basic assumptions and alternative scenarios which they worked out in advance.

In the next stage, the researchers were asked to focus their inquiries, to the degree possible, on aspects which could have implications for law enforcement.

To conclude, a team of criminologists was assembled in order to integrate the various reports and evaluate their relevance for law enforcement. This team also examined the emerging trends within Israeli society in the area of crime and law enforcement, with the aim of preparing a forecast regarding future developments in this realm.

The analyses and forecasts which formed the core of this project are intended to serve policy-makers to draw up recommendations and make decisions that will prepare the various law enforcement agencies to deal with the future social reality as it impinges on the perpetration of crime and law-breaking.

In addition to the preparation of the reports, and in order to broaden and deepen the deliberations on the subjects that were chosen, a number of study days on designated issues were held. Participants included senior researchers, law enforcement personnel, and experts in various relevant fields, who exchanged views and conducted in-depth discussions on the analyses and interpretations contained in the research reports and on their potential application.

In these two volumes the reader will find the reports that were submitted by the research and think teams in the various spheres, as well as summaries of the study days that were held to consider the reports. The material is presented according to topics and follows as closely as possible the chronological order in which the reports were written.

Many people contributed to this project over the years. We wish to express our gratitude to all those who lent a hand and thereby contributed to preparing the law enforcement system to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Finally, let us pay tribute to those who took an active part in this multi-year effort and are no longer with us:

  • Prof. Micha Yadin, of blessed memory, from the Samuel Neaman Institute in the Technion, who was one of the original initiators of the project and helped lay the foundations for its planning.
  • Prof. Eitan Sabatello, of blessed memory, from the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Demography, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who helped prepare the report's demographic aspect and took part in the study day on which it was presented.

Blessed be their memory

Idit Hachimi


Idit Hachimi

Among the major attributes that characterize progress in contemporary society are dynamism and rapid change. The traditional patterns of the social structure, the reciprocal political relations within and between states, and social capabilities in diverse spheres, particularly technological and economic prowess, have all become impermanent phenomena that are susceptible to change. Under these conditions, the success of organizations and institutions is measured by their ability to adapt themselves to the shifting reality.

Forecasting social and other processes that can be expected to occur - and so to fulfill the adage, "Who is wise? He who can foresee events" - has become a basic need of society's central systems. On the brink of the 21st century, in this postmodern era, initiatives of long-range forecasting have intensified to enable deployment in advance to deal with the new reality that will emerge in the future. Yet, how far does the dynamic reality in which we live allow long-range forecasting? Does the rapid pace of change enable prediction, and if so, on what should it rest?

Of course, forecasts of the future must be grounded in a solid knowledge of the current situation and of the past; this is a prior condition for identifying the trends and directions of development which form the foundation for predictions of the future. However, in our dynamic era, with its rapid political, social, and technological transformations, extrapolation from the past to foresee the surprises latent in the future is insufficient. Equally important for those who seek to predict the future is the exercise of creative and imaginative powers in order to disengage from the familiar present. Thus, the endeavor to forecast the attributes of the future society must invoke the past and integrate it with creative vision - and seek the balance between them.

The inherent problems of foreseeing the future are compounded still further when we examine Israeli society. Although Israeli society is undergoing processes of consolidation, it is still basically a young society which is continuing to evolve and coalesce. We need only look back and recall the events and changes of the past decade (including events that took place while this study was being conducted) to understand the difficulty involved in forecasting developments in Israel.

As we embarked on this research project we were aware of the difficulties and risks that the initiative entailed. At the same time, we were imbued with an intense aspiration to enhance Israel's law enforcement system so that it will be able to cope successfully with the unknown Israeli society of the future.

Long-range planning is the weak link in most law enforcement systems, whether in Israel or elsewhere. In any event, in the past there was little evidence of such planning by law enforcement agencies, and even when forecasting attempts were made, they did not always affect the work of the police. Recently, more forecasting initiatives have been undertaken by law enforcement systems, with many organizations, (e.g., the FBI) embarking on this road.

One of the decisions taken at the outset of this project was that the study should not be confined to the police system alone. Law enforcement is deeply interwoven in the fabric of the social system (economy, education, law, etc.). Consequently, to address the sphere of law enforcement is to address virtually every aspect of life. Still,, it was not our intention to produce a comprehensive forecast of the world in the next century.

The area of study that was finally agreed upon was defined as "the law enforcement system at the beginning of the next century," with "law enforcement system" taken to refer to the Israel Police, the Prisons Service, the legal system, and the probation services. The possibility was retained, however, of elasticizing the boundaries of the study to also encompass the mutual relations between the system's components, and between them and other relevant systems.

The project's genesis lies in the early 1990s with the joint initiative of the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Internal Security (then called the Ministry of Police) and the Samuel Neaman Institute of the Technion. The idea was to carry out a future-oriented research project which would help the law enforcement agencies deploy to meet the expected social and technological reality in the early 21st century.

The project's goal was to try to forecast the appearance of Israeli society in the 21st century and from that to arrive at an understanding of the possible influences that these developments might exercise on law enforcement. Such knowledge would make it possible to improve the deployment of the police to cope with the new reality. In principle, the forecasts were to cover a time frame of 15 to 25 years.

In 1992, following a start that was plagued by obstacles and unforeseen difficulties, including frequent changes in research personnel and in the bodies involved in the study, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs joined the project. The Center assumed responsibility for coordinating the project and spurred it to final completion.

Think teams were established from different disciplines and given the task of forecasting the various institutional aspects which were determined as being of greatest relevance to the subject under study (social, economic, legal, geographic, technological aspects, etc.). The emphasis was placed on forecasts in areas which were likely to impact on the law enforcement system.

The work of the research and think teams was in some cases conducted in parallel and in others sequentially. By this means it was possible, in certain spheres, to make use of the reports that had already been written and draw on their analyses and forecasts.

Since the conditions which formed the background to the study from the outset -- the dynamic, rapidly changing Israeli reality -- result in a situation of uncertainty, the members of the teams were requested to begin by formulating the prior assumptions which would form the foundation for their forecasts. The forecasts would then be developed on the basis of the various underlying scenarios.

In fact, such are the vicissitudes of Israeli society that in some cases events overtook forecasts and in others rendered them irrelevant. Some of the forecasts were proved incorrect, while others materialized and became established facts while the project was still in progress. However, the majority of the forecasts remain valid and amenable to ongoing analysis, which will be carried out in order to derive the implications for law enforcement and for trying to determine the character of the future system.

This publication brings together the reports of the teams and summaries of additional activities that took place within the project framework. The reports are grouped under the general areas that were defined by the Steering Committee, in accordance with the thematic order, which will be explained below. In most cases this order corresponds with the chronological order in which the reports were written and of the study days. The reports and summaries comprise two volumes.

The first volume, which deals with aspects related to Israeli society and its general social systems, contains reports by the researchers and the think teams on demography, society, the economy, Israel's minority groups, and terrorism. Also included are summaries of the study days that were held on the basis of the reports.

The section on society opens with the report of Dr. Sarah Hershkovitz, "Developments in the Human and Social Geography of Israel." This report elaborates demographic forecasts based on data of the Central Bureau of Statistics and includes expected developments relating to the geographic dispersal and territorial distribution of Israel's population, with an analysis of their demographic and social implications. The report is based primarily on population data for 1991, and its non-relevant sections have been deleted.

The report by Prof. Yochanan Wosner, "Forecasts of Israeli Society at the Start of the Coming Century," presents forecasts of the various social spheres. It is based on a theoretical model consisting of 16 subsystems that produce a "Map of the Quality of Life" of the society. Drawing on the model, the researcher analyzes Israeli society in terms of all these subsystems and formulates theses with regard to each.

Another report in this section, by Dr. Moshe Sherer, deals with "Projections of Welfare Policy in Israel." The author presents forecasts dealing with social welfare and the allocation of resources in the future Israeli society, while at the same time surveying the implications of expected economic policy, legislation, technological breakthroughs, and the like for society's welfare in general and for its various sectors in particular (minorities, new immigrants, the elderly, etc.). The report reviews trends and changes in the areas of crime and social deviance, and discusses their social ramifications.

The final report in the section on society addresses "Sectorial Tensions in Israeli Society." The author, Prof. Samuel Lehman-Wilzig, analyzes various social rifts in the socioeconomic fabric of Israeli society and their impact on law enforcement. Problematic areas which will occupy the Israel Police in the future are singled out for special attention.

Closing out this section is the transcript of a summary study day on which the various research reports were presented. Also presented were a survey by the late Prof. Eitan Sabatello on demographic forecasts and a report by Dr. Ami Vollansky on "The Education System Toward the 21st Century." In addition, Dr. Shmuel Shai presented a proposal for a theoretical research framework.

The chapter on the economy contains the report by Prof. Yakir Plessner, "The Economic Background for Estimating the Needs of Law Enforcement in Israel at the Beginning of the Next Century." The author's forecasts derive from an economic model that is based on three sets of macro-economic assumptions. The conclusions deal primarily with different aspects of a projected rise in the standard of living and its implications for law enforcement and the role of the police.

As part of the project another report on the economy was prepared by Ben-Ezra Consultants. That report is alluded to in several contexts in reports by various teams, but is not included here.

The subject of the minorities was addressed by a broad team of researchers headed by Prof. Mordechai Abir, and included Prof. Rafi Israeli, Dr. Avraham Sela, and Boaz Ganor. The report presents an integrative survey of the researchers' forecasts, reflecting their diverse professional approaches. After discussing different aspects of the Arab society in Israel, the report provides forecasts and analyzes their implications for the realm of law enforcement, using a number of basic assumptions and deriving from nine alternative future scenarios of possible political developments.

The report on the minorities was written in 1993. Despite the dramatic developments in this sphere - which should have either reinforced or contradicted most of the scenarios according to which the forecasts for the more distant future were analyzed - it can be said that the uncertainty surrounding the basic assumptions continues to exist in large measure. As a result, the researchers' analyses of the implications arising from the various alternative scenarios offer a broad range of relevant forecasts.

Concluding this section is the transcript of the study day that dealt with the team's report, together with an abstract in English of the report's main findings.

The last section in Volume I, on internal security, presents the report by Boaz Ganor on "Terror in the 21st Century." The report surveys the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict as a source of explanation for terrorism in Israel and elaborates a number of possible political-diplomatic scenarios that can be expected to materialize, evaluating their implications for the social situation overall and for law enforcement in particular.

The second volume of this study contains reports relating to the institutional system of Israeli society. Subjects covered are the legal system, the constitution, the government, the political system, and others. There is also a chapter on scientific and technological developments as these intersect with the needs of law enforcement. The volume concludes with a report by the criminological team that closes out the work of the research teams and refers more closely to the implications of the various forecasts for law enforcement.

The first chapter in Volume II presents the forecast report by Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, "Developments in Law: Directions and Projections." The report's point of departure is an analysis of the legal sphere as a reflection of the social reality and vice versa. The author identifies a sense of looming crisis in the sphere of legal doctrines and the democratic regime, and based on that analysis forecasts negative developments in the area of crime. The report goes on to discuss the impact of these social developments on the legal system and on punitive policy. Two major processes are identified from this point of view: judicial activism and an emphasis on the normative dimension of the legal system. Concluding the section is the summary of a study day on which this report was presented, together with its discussion by Prof. Meni Moutner, who addresses these subjects from a slightly different perspective.

The following chapter on government and politics, was coordinated by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. In "The Israeli Political System: Introduction," Prof. Daniel Elazar presents a historical survey of the social underpinnings of Israeli politics and forecasts the expected implications for the realm of law enforcement. Uriel Lynn, former chairman of the Knesset Committee on Constitution, Law and Legislation, then reports on "Changes in the Governmental and Electoral Systems." The author describes anticipated developments in the Israeli system of government and elections, and their significance for law enforcement. In "Constitutional Issues, Citizens' Rights, and Judicial Authority," Prof. Ze'ev Segal analyzes the Israeli constitutional system and its implications for the legal system and law enforcement.

Prof. Eliezer Don-Yehiya discusses "Developments in Religious-Secular Relations," which derive from developments in religion-state relations. The author seeks to identify loci of tension and of potential violence against the background of these issues.

The section concludes with the summary of a study day that was held on the subject with the participation of the project researchers, other researchers and experts, and senior law enforcement officers. The participants exchanged views and held in-depth discussions of the reports that were presented.

The next section in this volume on science and technology presents the report by Dr. Yoel Tsafir and Dr. Eli Spiegler, "The Contributions of Science and Technology to Law Enforcement Toward the 21st Century and their Influence on the Activities of the Israel Police." This report describes the existing situation and surveys the technological needs of the Israel Police. The authors survey the probable relevant developments in science and technology and examine the possibility of integrating them into the tasks of the police in order to meet future needs.

The final chapter, by Prof. Arye Ratner, "Trends in Crime: Delinquency and Law Enforcement at the Beginning of the 21st Century in Israel," was based upon the work of a team of criminologists and draws on the forecasts of the researchers and think teams in the project and with reference to the subjects addressed in their analyses. The report is presented in an abridged version; only the sections that analyze crime and delinquency in terms of their implications for law enforcement have been selected for publication.

Rounding out this volume is the summary of a study day which included Prof. Herman Goldstein from the University of Wisconsin, a leading expert in the field of police science.

These reports are meant to constitute the foundation for a more probing analysis, which will serve to forecast the coming trends in law enforcement and make recommendations for the future deployment of institutional and other bodies.

These reports will be tested at the bar of history when they are considered in retrospect, years from now. Their immediate contribution will lie in the system's ability to extract from them the maximum in order to enhance law enforcement on the brink of the new century.