Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The following is a summary of World Social Work Day activities in Israel:

The Israel Association of Social Workers held their annual meeting in Nazareth, Israel on March 16 and 17. In honor of World Social Work Day, we held a special session to discuss “Are Social Workers Agents of Change for Social Rights?”. The meeting of 155 members of the General Council of the Association heard from Prof. Idit Weiss-Gal of Tel Aviv University, Mr. Nachum Itzkovitz, Secretary General of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Dr. Itzhak Brick, chair of the ministerial professional advisory council and Mr. Itzik Peri, president of the Israel Association of Social Workers.

Prof. Weiss-Gal described several of her research studies looking at how social workers define their activities and to what extent social change is a part of their job description. Not surprisingly, most social workers described their job activities in terms of direct service. But many also saw advocacy for their clients as an important role. One of the major issues that all the speakers raised was the citizen’s lack of knowledge of rights that are already available. According to Mr. Peri, the association clearly sees its role as raising awareness for social change and representing the profession and, by extension, the clients, in the Knesset (parliament) when laws are being discussed.

The major newspapers in the country all had articles on World Social Work Day and interviews with social workers around the country. Most of the articles described the large caseloads and low salaries of social workers in the public service and in NGO’s and connected their articles to the association’s is current fight to improve social work salaries and arrive at a measure of maximum caseloads in the different practice areas.

Sincerely, Brian Auslander

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