Sunday, March 9, 2014

At Putin's side, an army of Jewish billionaires

Bet you thought this was going to be about Ukraine, didn't you?

That's a headline from the Jerusalem Post on the occasion of Putin's visit to Israel a couple of years ago for the dedication of a memorial to the Red Army. Writer Gil Shefler was utterly chuffed by the fact that Israel could round up so many billionaires to greet the Russian leader.

Shefler must have been pleased with the news of the past week that the list of Israeli billionaires continues to grow. What's also growing, and should get more attention than another billionaire or two on the list, is poverty.

If you sort through the numbers in this JPost story you'll be shocked to find that the percentage of working families living in poverty has nearly doubled between 1999 and 2012. Note that we're talking about working people, not folks who exempt themselves from the workforce for religious studies.

That makes for a bleak prognosis. The billionaire class is booming. The number in poverty is blossoming. The middle class is stagnant and struggling - no wonder Netanyahu needs to pull another Iranian threat out of his hat every other week!

If folks had the opportunity to calmly mull over where the country is heading we'd soon be reading about Zion Square alongside Maidan and Tahrir.

These billionaires should put their heads together and figure out how to put some of the promise back in the "Promised Land".

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