Definition of Youth

A EUROMED study (2009) states that while there is no official definition of youth in Israel, when the term is employed it often refers to those aged 13 to 18 years. 18 years is the age of conscription into the military for both females and males.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 18
  • ++
  • Female
  • 18
  • 18
  • ++

  • Minimum marriageable age increased from 17 to 18 in November 2013. Family courts able to recognise marriage for 16 and above in special cases. Civil unions/partnerships legal.  Source: The Times of Israel (4 November 2013), UNSD, ILGA.

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
The 2008 Youth Law Amendment sets out the rights of minors in criminal proceedings. Source:  Penal Law of Israel
No Legal Frontiers

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 96.61%Male %
  • 99.61% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Israel has no national youth policy, but plans to create one. A 2009 briefing is available.

A planning document (2008) by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and a EUROMED study (2009) state that Israel has no national youth policy but plans to create one, and that efforts to establish a youth law - guaranteeing a dedicated budget for youth issues - have been inconclusive. The MoE planning document (2008) states that previous work on youth policy has focused on specific issues, such as preventing the use of drugs and alcohol by the Anti Drug Authority, preventing dropouts by the Ministry of Education, and preparing youth for military service by the Ministry of Defense. The MoE states that a national youth policy should cover all areas of life, determine the development, planning, budgeting and operation procedures of youth services, and detail the responsibilities of different ministries.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
A report (2008) by the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) Social and Youth Administration unit states that Israel does not have a national level organisation with overall responsibility for establishing a complete and integrated view of youth policy or for coordinating the work different services working with young people. The same report states, however that at least 11 different ministries are involved in developing youth related programs and services.  A study on youth policy in Israel (2009) reports that the MoE has a “Youth and Non-Formal Education Department”.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
Israel’s National Student and Youth Council is an elected body representing 700,000 young people. The council was established in 1993 and operates under the Ministry of Education. The Council is an umbrella organisation for all Israeli regional youth councils and student councils. According to their official Facebook page, the council participates in decision-making in a range of ministries and bodies dealing with youth matters, including the Knesset (the legislative branch of the Israeli government), the Ministry of Education, and the Israeli Police.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
No documentation on youth spending in Israel could be found online. According to the World Bank, Israel spent 13.46% of its government expenditure and 5.64% of its GDP on education provision in 2011.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

From Studies on Youth Policies in the Mediterranean Partner Countries – Israel (2009):
Israel offers a well-developed infrastructure for the participation of young people in decision-making. Youth and students’ councils operate throughout the country in all sectors of society at local, regional and national levels. From a very young age youth are encouraged to take part in these structures. However, their actual influence on political processes was disputed by the actors interviewed. This was partly due to the fact that at least the youth councils do not have a mandate to tackle political topics other than those directly related to youth.
Israel is home to a wide variety of youth organisations. The most important of them are the youth movements, which are mass organisations present all over the country. Many of them were founded before the existence of the state. There are currently 14 of these movements financed through the government, and most of them are somehow connected to a political party or other kinds of political organisations.
The military service can be seen as the most determining factor in the life of most Israeli youth. As military service is compulsory, it marks not only the border between youth and adulthood but also determines large parts of youth identity prior, during and after service.

From All of the Above: Identity Paradoxes of Young People in Israel (2010):
More than 60% of the youths perceived a great existential threat (44%) or very great threat (18%) looming over the country. This perception only pertains to the status of the nation - as only a small proportion felt personally threatened (barely a quarter of the Jews and only 10% of the Arab respondents). In the comparison between the importance of security and the importance of democracy in Israel, the answer is clear: Three-quarters of the Jewish respondents say that in the event of a clash between the two requirements, security needs take precedence.
Jewish youth felt that it is very important that Israel be a country that lives peacefully with its neighbors: 93% of the adolescents agreed that this characteristic (peace with neighbors) is important or very important. And again, a smaller percentage - 75% - of the young adults agreed [...] But the support focuses on the "process" - it is harder for the youth to believe in peace itself. Almost seven out of ten adolescents before army age did not believe that the process would bring peace - and an absolute majority (80%) of young adults agreed.
Arab youth express low levels of belonging to, or "feeling part of," the Israeli society or the Arab nation: only about a half feels any kind of affinity to Israeli society in contrast to the overwhelming majority of the Jews (87.2%).
Ethiopian youngsters face racism, whether or not they were born in Israel. Usually it is because of their black color, which they sometimes consider an obstacle to integration, even after 30 years of Ethiopian Jewry in Israel.