HOME PAGE

All Articles

Cool Graphics

Comments

Books

Who Rules America?

Revolution

Is vs. Ought

Current World Events

The So-called "War on Terror"

9/11

Palestine & Israel

Culture & Values

Education

Work

Health Care

Science:

Global Climate Change

World Population

Peak Oil?

HIV/AIDS

----------

Contact or Donate to Us

New Democracy's Core Beliefs

Speakers

 

printer-friendly version

www.NewDemocracyWorld.org

The Israeli Ruling Class is No Friend of Ordinary Jews

by John Spritzler

October 15, 2017

A “state of the Jewish people” or a state of the Jewish billionaires?

Israel's leaders/rulers are an upper class of billionaires and generals and politicians. It will never offer Jewish people the possibility of peace and friendship with their non-Jewish neighbors. What the Israeli leaders offer ordinary Jews in Israel is an economic down escalator leading to increasing impoverishment and class inequality. This down escalator could not work were it not for the Israeli ruler' strategy of making sure that ordinary Jews fear “Arabs” more than their ruling class.

Israel's ruling class is rich and powerful

"Israel's richest families control 34 percent of top income. Nineteen businessmen and their families control more than third of income of Israel's 500 leading companies." [ https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3427561,00.html ]

"The income of the 18 wealthiest families in Israel is equivalent to 77 percent of Israel's national budget, which is NIS 256 billion a year, and constitutes 32 percent of the country's revenues, according to a survey conducted by the Business Data Israel company published Monday." [Haaretz, 13/02/2006, article posted by Ora Coren and Lilach Weissman, Haaretz Correspondents]

The Israel Ruling Class is Oppressing Ordinary Jewish Israelis

The French Le Monde diplomatique in 2003 wrote an article titled, “Israel’s age of austerity” reporting the following:

There is another campsite of the unemployed and homeless in Tel Aviv. It was set up in August 2002 in one of the richest districts on Kikar Medina (State Square), which the protesters call Kikar HaLehem (Bread Square). Dozens live there, with their children, in old buses or tents. So far, all attempts by the local authority and property owners to have them removed have failed.

“The choice of place is no accident,” says Israel Twito, 38, a divorcee who is bringing up three daughters alone. “The contrast between our miserable campsite and the neighbourhood’s luxury shops and apartment blocks symbolises the ever-widening abyss between rich and poor.”

On 28 August the popular Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot ran the front-page headline “A million Israelis are hungry”. Earlier this year researchers at the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Brookdale Institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, reported that 400,000 Israeli families - 22% of the total - were suffering from “nutritional insecurity”, since they could not provide their children regularly with the food they need for proper growth.

Some ate smaller portions, others skipped meals. In the worst cases, they ate nothing all day. Meals were monotonous and poor in meat, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. Four out of five of these families said things have worsened in the past two years and their economic situation is more precarious: 5% admitted seeking food aid from soup kitchens or charities. According to another poll published by the humanitarian charity Latet (Giving), the number of Israelis applying for food aid jumped by 46% in a year. The main applicants are single-parent and large families.

Public opinion was shocked by the simultaneous announcement of the huge profits made by Israel’s banks. The largest, Bank Hapoalim, announced net profits of 335m shekels ($75m) for the second quarter of 2003, an increase of 59%. Israel Discount Bank’s profit rose to 116m shekels ($26m) for the same period, 36.5% more than in 2002. The combined profits of the five largest banks (Hapoalim, Leumi, Discount, Hamizrahi and BenLeumi) for the first half of 2003 are 1,400m shekels ($314m), 130% higher than the first half of 2002.

Sh’ma, A Journal of Jewish Ideas in 2003 wrote in an article titled, “Penury and Hunger in Israel,” how:

"[V]ociferous segments of the public are demanding that governmental resources be channeled to welfare and other domestic resources, rather than to strengthening settlements beyond the green line." [ http://shma.com/2003/05/penury-and-hunger-in-israel/  ]

Challenge magazine in 2005 wrote :

"Recent measures taken by Israel’s government to undermine the welfare state have harmed women first of all, both Arab and Jewish. Of the Jewish, many who in the past had gained a foothold in the middle class find themselves shunted to the margins of society. The income supplements they depended on have been whisked out from under them. The same cuts have worsened the plight of Arab women. Despite the fact that both groups, indeed the lower classes in general on both the Arab and Jewish sides, suffer from an erosion in living-standards – and often for identical reasons – there is an utter lack of dialogue between them." [ http://www.challenge-mag.com/91/Poverty-Arab-Jewish-women.htm ]

The Jewish Daily Forward in 2006 reported :

"Israel’s growing population of retirees has been reduced to a state of profound economic insecurity in recent years, as self-styled economic reformers have hollowed out the Jewish state’s time-honored system of care for the elderly. Pensions have been frozen. Social security payments, known in Israel as national insurance, have been relentlessly whittled away — cut by 35% in a single decade. Health care and prescription drug coverage have been slashed, along with funds for senior housing and assisted living. It’s part of a deliberate move by Jerusalem policy-makers to modernize Israel’s economy, by which they mean to remodel it along American lines. Determined to bury the socialist ethos of Israel’s founders, successive governments since the mid-1980s have slashed income supports and welfare payments even as they’ve privatized and deregulated industries, opened capital markets to international competition and reduced workers’ job security (they call it “liberalizing labor laws”). Over the past three years, under the economic leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu, the reforms have been ramped up to a revolution."

The Forward explains the "meteoric rise of the Pensioners' Party" in the April, 2006 election this way: 

"And then there was the simple, glaring fact of poverty. Too many Israelis had reached the point where their own personal security seemed more precarious than their country’s." [ http://forward.com/opinion/editorial/1202/the-passion-of-the-pension/  ]

In June of 2015 rt.com titled an article, “​Israel’s poor getting poorer, income gap among largest in developed world – study” that reported :

Israel remains among the poorest performing countries in terms of economic equality, while poverty depth, that is how poor the poor are, has worsened, a new study says. A big cutback in government social welfare programs is one of the causes.

The study of Israel’s economic life, “A Picture of the Nation 2015,” was published Thursday by the Jerusalem-based Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. The study compared Israeli numbers to those of other 33 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In terms of inequality, Israel remains among the worst in the OECD, the report said. It is on par with the US and bests only Mexico in this regard. The Taub Center’s researchers blame demographic differences, large income gaps in the labor market, and the low effectiveness of the governmental social programs for the situation.

The income gap was pushed wider by how Israelis own real estate and pay rent, with the wealthier segments of society getting most of the rental income. The richest 20 percent receive twice as much from rent as the 80 percent does. [ http://forward.com/opinion/editorial/1202/the-passion-of-the-pension/  ]

In May of 2017 rt.com titled an article, “Israel’s economy heading for disaster, experts warn” which said:

A report released by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel shows the country has the highest poverty rates among OECD countries and faces “worrisome trends” that could have disastrous effects on its growing population…

The country ranks 22nd out of 34 of the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) regarding GDP and takes the 24th spot within the market income poverty rate. Among developed countries, Israel has the highest percentage of its population living below the poverty line. [ https://getpocket.com/a/read/1763072169 ]

Israeli Jews Fight Back Against the Government

In July of 2011 the people in Israel (mainly, but not only Jews) launched a huge wave of protests against the Israeli government over the issue of their economic impoverishment. The movement kept growing and growing, with mass demonstrations and people pitching tents on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv. “On Saturday, September 3, an estimated 450,000 people participated in several demonstrations which were held over various locations across Israel and which were referred to by protest organizers as ‘The March of the Million.” People were demanding basic economic things, such as affordable housing. Many Israelis could no longer afford to pay their rent.

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_2011_Israeli_social_justice_protests#September_3rd:_The_.22March_of_the_Million.22 ]

“The cost of living in Israel is horrendous,” said Daniel Levy, a senior fellow and director of the Middle East Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation. “It’s hellishly expensive compared to what people earn and the inequality gap has only gotten wider.” [ http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/world-july-dec11-israel_08-19/  ]

What did Prime Minister Netanyahu do? Did he grant the demands of “his people”? No! He killed the movement by demanding that the people in it (the Jews, at least) act patriotically (i.e., support their government) in the fight against “the real enemy”: Palestinians in Gaza, some of whom had fired rockets into Israel (and thereby helped Netanyahu get out of a bad spot!) Until Israel Jews see that Palestinians are not their enemy but indeed their ally against their real enemy, they will continue to remain oppressed by the Israeli ruling class.

Comments

www.NewDemocracyWorld.org

This article may be copied and posted on other websites. Please include all hyperlinks.

 

 

 

READ THE BOOKS IN THE "NO RICH AND NO POOR" SERIES

 

Articles by Dave Stratman

Articles by John Spritzler

Turn the World Upside Down (John Spritzler's blog #1)

End Class Inequality (John Spritzler's blog #2)

 

Books

We Can Change the World: The Real Meaning of Everyday Life by Dave Stratman

The People as Enemy: The Leaders' Hidden Agenda in World War II by John Spritzler

NO RICH AND NOPOOR: The Populist Goal We CAN and Must Win

DIVIDE AND RULE: The "Left vs. Right" Trap