Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Israel poverty rate double that of Europe

The latest data from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics reveal that Israelis of all ages are twice as likely to be impoverished than Europeans.

Furthermore, fully 40% of children are considered at risk for falling below the poverty threshold.

The reasons for that are not very difficult to ascertain. For several generations now the ruling clique, and especially the Likudniks, have found it profitable to peddle "existential threat" hysteria in lieu of sensibly addressing the needs of the people.

Who cares about jobs and housing when those Persians are plotting to wipe Israel from the map with their imaginary nuclear weapons?

In addition to distracting the populace, the fear mongering does have the added bonus of enriching the usual profiteers in Israel's military-industrial high-tech sector, who never heard an Ahmadinejad taunt that didn't warm their cold hearts.

And of course it's always easy to fall into the trap of comparing the fortunes of the average Israeli to the neighbours in Gaza and the West Bank.

Perhaps the blossoming detente between the US and Iran will force this attitude to change. Once Netanyahu can no longer invoke the Iranian threat with every sound-bite he will be forced to address his nation's very serious domestic issues.

There was a time when idealistic youth the world over, Jewish and not, flocked to Israel to be part of a project that promised to be a nation state like no other. You may have noticed that hasn't happened for a good thirty years. Today the world's idealistic youth are far more likely to be participating in a boycott or a blockade-busting boating adventure.

There is a window of opportunity emerging to change all that.

Talk to the enemies. Make peace with the neighbours. Tax the profiteers out of existence and cut the subsidies to the war machine. Make Israel a country where no child has to grow up in poverty.

Perhaps Israel can finally live up to her potential.

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