National priority regions (1971-2022): Redistribution, development and settlement

Ofra Bloch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


National Priority Regions (NPRs) are one of Israel's most robust tools for redistribution: a resource allocation governmental plan that favors some regions over others, mostly according to their socioeconomic status and peripherality. Drawing on archival research, this article is the first to focus on this topic and provide a detailed description and analysis of this measure. It provides historical and theoretical accounts of NPRs, tracing their history, starting in the 1970s, over three periods and showing how they have been used and abused. This allows for some important observations about the stakes of using a "color-blind"place-based distributive mechanism, and about the complex relationship between redistribution, development, and settlement. At the national level, this article shows how NPRs changed over the years from a discriminatory tool that excluded almost all Palestinian-Arab localities into a more inclusionary mechanism, but one that also works to support and incentivize Jewish settlement in the Occupied West Bank. At the theoretical level, this article lends itself to and supports a 'region-skeptic' approach that sees the regional scale, much like other seemingly "race-neutral"criteria, mostly as an elusive exercise of power that often deepens inequality. However, drawing on Israel's experience with NPRs, this article provides some more specific cautionary tales that can, I suggest, work to improve the regional scale rather than eliminate it altogether.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-290
Number of pages24
JournalTheoretical inquiries in law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Tel Aviv University


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