The first and most immanent problem is that most of the Palestinians don’t know their rights and don’t even know that they are entitled to services from the National Insurance.
The responsible authority to guarantee social services is the National Insurance Institute (NII), where Palestinian residents have to apply for the benefits and to prove, that they have a legitimated claim. All the application process is in Hebrew – although Arabic is the second official language of the State of Israel – what causes another problem for the Arabic applicants because of their lack of Hebrew language skills.
Usually every Palestinian who claims any kind of benefit from the NII is suspected as bluffing and his case is sent to be investigated. The investigation can take as long as a year or even two, while in the West Jerusalem branch the investigations take a reasonable period of between 30 to 45 days. There were cases of old or sick people who died while waiting for their investigations to end. Another problem is the transference of the investigation procedure to private companies, which raises a fear that financial motives shall rule the procedure.
During this investigation the claimant does not receive any applied-for services or is covered by health insurance; children, who are supposed to be newly registered, are not covered by health insurance as long as the investigation continues. Also woman are stroke hard by the denial of health insurance, frequent rejection of claims for the birth allowance, and non-payment of fees for hospitalization and treatment after birth are the effects of the ongoing practices.
As a result of these procedures, in 2009 only 22% of the population of East Jerusalem received social services, although 68.4% of the residents live under the poverty line (ACRI; 2009).