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Israel’s next president has long-standing relationship with the Social Policy Institute at Washington University

With Isaac Herzog set to become Israel’s 11th president later this summer, the Social Policy Institute (SPI) reflects on its long-standing partnership with the future president. SPI director, Michal Grinstein-Weiss, began working with President-elect Herzog in 2010 to generate national support to create the first universal child development account program (CDA) in the world.

In 2010, Grinstein-Weiss brought representatives from the United States to meet with Israeli delegation, including President-elect Herzog.

Grinstein-Weiss and President-elect Herzog worked together in 2015 to create a universal child development account program during his campaign to become the Prime Minister.

Grinstein-Weiss, along with American delegates, met with Herzog in 2010 to propose a universal child development account for Israel. Following the meeting, a bill was introduced by Isaac Herzog, then Minister of Social Affairs, to Kensett for consideration. Herzog continued to introduce the bill and supported it during his campaign for Prime Minster in 2015. The bill was finally passed in late 2015 and the Saving Every Child Program (SECP) was rolled out nationally in 2017.

As a result of this partnership, SECP ensures that every child, under the age of 18, receives a savings account with monthly government deposits of NIS 50 (USD 15). This creates equal opportunities for all children to build assets and narrow wealth inequalities.

President-elect Herzog met with Washington University leadership, including Chancellor Andrew Martin, in 2019 when he presented, “Innovation and Social Welfare in Israel,” part of the S. T. Lee Endowed Lecture Series.
Kurt Dirks, vice chancellor of International Affairs, and Michal Grinstein-Weiss presented President-elect Herzog with a plaque to commemorate his visit to St. Louis and Washington University in 2019.

More recently, SPI hosted President-elect Herzog at Washington University in St. Louis as chairman of the executive for the Jewish Agency. While in town, Herzog also met with members of Washington University’s leadership team, including Chancellor Andrew Martin, along with several local organizations, to look for ways to expand collaboration and partnerships between Washington University and the State of Israel. In addition, Herzog delivered a speech for the 2019 S.T. Lee Endowed Lecture Series. Herzog discussed innovation and social welfare in Israel during the event, which was sponsored by the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, Social Policy Institute and Olin Business School.

SPI hopes to see more evidence-based policies implemented in support of creating equitable opportunities for Israel in the future.

Learn more about the impact of the Saving Every Child Program.

SPI staff met President-elect Herzog after his lecture presentation in 2019 at Washington University.