August 24, 2012

JDC Event to Feature Professor Dan Ben-David on Israel's Internal Challenges

Professor Dan Ben-David
Professor Dan Ben-David, along with JDC Israel Regional Specialist Kobi Tav, will give a talk on September 13th at 5pm called “The Start Up Nation’s Threat From Within; Finding Solutions.”

“The academic achievements of Israeli students are incredibly low compared to other westernized countries.” This startling statement from the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies should give one cause for worry. Its effects could mean a disastrous future for Israel if they are not reversed soon.

This troubling fact is one of the reasons why Professor Dan Ben-David devotes so much time to researching ways to improve the economy in Israel. The Executive Director of the Taub Center, Professor Ben-David, is one of the foremost economic voices in Israel in the push for a greater and less stratified Israeli economy. At an upcoming event that will take place at JDC Headquarters, Professor Dan Ben-David will detail the socio-economic changes that pose a challenge for the long-term health of the Israeli economy.

More and more people are immigrating to Israel, many of them from different ethnic groups. However, in contrast to the rising population rates employment rates have been decreasing. New immigrants are not contributing to the growth of Israel’s economy.

Professor Dan-Ben-David argues that by putting strength into the education system, more people will become part of the Israeli economy. “Education is the basic national infrastructure. It is a primary factor in providing equal opportunities for full realization of individual abilities.”

Ben-David, one of Israel’s leading economists, has discovered a multitude of alarming facts concerning the state of Israeli education. Education gaps in Israel are among the highest in the West. Few students take core classes and the class sizes are inconceivably large. The education gaps between students also rate as some of the most unequal in the west. “The failure is systemic; continuing in this way is no longer an option,” he wrote in a recent study.

Professor Ben-David, as the Executive Director of the Taub Center, works closely with JDC’s Israel program office to address the issues that are holding back Israel’s potential and threatening its future success. “The ability of the Joint [JDC] to join forces with the government in innovating social services, in doing pilot projects that are studied as they go ahead in order to measure the potential national impact that they can have…this is having a long-term impact on Israeli society,” said Professor Manuel Trajtenberg.

JDC founded the Taub Center in 1982 and still remains a fundamental supporter of the institution. RSVP is mandatory to this event. For more information email Rebecca Neuwirth at or call 212-885-0878.

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