Social Workers as Local Politicians in Israel

Noa Binder, Idit Weiss-Gal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Knowledge about social workers (SWs) who run for political office is rare. This study sought to examine the conditions and factors that led SWs in Israel to enter the formal world of politics and to run for elected office at the local level. Twenty SWs who ran for, or held, local political offices were interviewed employing semi-structured interviews. The analysis was based on content analysis and yielded that most ran for councillor positions while three ran for mayor. Eleven SWs were elected at least once. They all possessed personal resources, such as political, communication and leadership competencies. They also displayed psychological involvement in politics, which developed through early political socialisation, social work education and experience in community activities. This was coupled with a sense that political office is an important vehicle to create change in the community to which they felt obligated and committed. Their desire to affect change became a realistic option following direct recruitment by political or community figures who knew them from their prior community activities. Support from their families and social networks enabled them to overcome dilemmas concerning their capacity to run for office.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2797-2813
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • Israel
  • elected office
  • municipal election
  • political office
  • social workers


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