Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 8th, 2011

“Israel Summer” upheaval: 400,000 marching in all cities

In Tel Aviv, renting a small apartment of two rooms jumped from 742 to 827 Euro in one year, way over the 30% of an average monthly income. Social allocated lodging is 8.5 for 1000 citizens; (it is 70 in France).  Since 1960, the rate of social housing fell from 23% of the total real estates building to just 2% in 2011.

The official average monthly earning is 1,400 Euro per month (though employers have wide leverage not to maintain official minimum wages); actually the official minimum is 800 Euros, the hourly wage 4.40Euros, and the poverty scale is set at 450 Euros. The cost of living is superior to the western European States.  A third of the citizens do not enjoy dental insurance and half the people over 65 have no teeth left.  rate of mortality for cases of diabetes type 2 is five fold for the poorer classes.

Daphne Leef, 25 year-old, created a group through facebook to demonstrate against the scarcity of available and affordable apartments.  By July 14, a hundred Israeli planted their tents on Rothschild Ave. A week later, the central main road in Tel Aviv witnessed the erection of hundreds of tents.  On August 6, over 300,000 marchers , chanting”The people want social justice”.

All the political parties in Israel agreed in the 80’s on the monetary dogma of the Washington Consensus as inflation reached 450%. The shekel was drastically devalued, public spending were cut, freeze on salaries of public servants, rights of workers weakened…Liberal capitalism was on the march in Israel.  Netanyahu  is a staunch believer in the power of a free market to even out fluctuations, and he abides by the principle that only by permitting the richest to increase their wealth that growth can be stimulated…and was appointed minister of finance and started wide privatization projects as he became prime Minister in the 90’s .  El Al air company, phone operator Bezeq were privatized. Postal services, ports, railroads, and even industrial military complexes are on the table for privatization.

Tax on the richest classes dropped to 44%, and enterprises tax break dropped to 25% in 2010 and planned to dip to 16% in 2016, from a high of 36% in 2003.  Israel relies on the export of military hardware, and services in surveillance and maintenance of order… The chasm between the poorer and richer classes is very wide: 20% of the people are estimated to belong to the poor class and they belong to three categories, the ultra-orthodox Jews (57%) among them are poor), the immigrants from Ethiopia and Russia, and the Arab/Israelis (54%) (Arab/Israelis are indeed the Palestinians who remained in their territories in 1948 and refused to flee as refugees)

The Israeli psychologist, Professor Dan Ariely, explained how brain tends to forge previsions and wait for them to be materialized and confirmed: “For decades, we have been prisoners of our waiting previsions of menace of wars and terrorist attacks”.  I contend that the Israeli institutions (political, intelligence services…) worked hard to instill this psychological tendency by actually planning and facilitating a few terrorist attacks, every once in a while, as internal troubles get out of hand.

For example, Jordan’s intelligence services warned a month ago that an attack is being prepared on Eylat. Israel was ready and demonstrated its readiness by crossing the borders into Egypt.  Israel decided to sacrifice a few Israelis in order to cow the demonstrations.  It worked for a week and then fizzled. These temporary exit tactics had long-term catastrophic consequences.

The massive demonstrations in August broke this cycle: Public opinion in Israel are in favor of giving priority to social reforms instead of lavishing funds to the military institution and the military industrial complexes.

Money allocated to housing should be invested within Israel and no longer in colonies outside the 1967 borders, so that the Israeli may enjoy affordable lodging commensurate to the growing economy and the image that Israel is trying to project as a western civilization.

Israelis are feeling asphyxiated for 40 years of frustrated smokescreen tactics of fear against countable attacks, while the citizens standard of living is constantly declining. The successive Israeli governments did nothing to fundamentally confront the real problems of seriously communicating with the Palestinians for a fair and dignified resolution of the endemic problems. No alternative perspectives outside the motto of security were ever contemplated and dealt with, such as actually living in peace with the neighboring States.

The liberal capitalist ideology has been applied since the 80’s at the expense of social fairness in the distribution of accrued wealth.  There is truth in what many demonstrators say that “we are demonstrating to retaining our privileges in this apartheid State.”  Fact is, the poorest classes of Palestinian/Israelis and ultra-orthodox Jews have not participated yet in the marches.

Note 1: Statistical values were extracted from a piece in the French monthly Le Monde Diplomatic

Note 2: You may read the follow-up article

Comments and reply on “Islam is one of the heretic Christian-Jewish sects”

When a reader invest time to send an expanded comment, I feel responsible to reply.  In order to follow-up with the discussion, please first read the subject matter on

One of the comments said:

“Although I do appreciate the anthropology lecture.  It put some details on what I knew generally.  For that I thank you.  However, …
Your last sentence in this Blog article is a cheap shot and shows how you tend to want to compare religions to achieve some kind of supremacy: the true danger of this type of thinking.

At first, you show your interest in exploring historical progression of religions.  But then you turned this into competition.  FYI Christianity is first a religion then it has its own sects just like Islam does too.
Anyway, that shows your ignorance as from the average muslim standpoint, the proper comparison is with Jesus Christ (not another prophet but the beginning of the Christian religion thinking influence).

You would think that with you realizing the importance of the Christian religion in the evolution of Mohammad’s actions into creating Islam, that you would be a constructive person.  Unfortunate really.

All this knowledge and you maintain the poor level of spirit to be constructive.  You should think of how to bring all this knowledge into useful constructive result for muslims to be more tolerant of christians (whatever sect they are from) and talk of christianity as a religion and not an ethnic group, regardless of historical events.

We live in a time when communication is so fast, that we should use this luxury to quash the tendencies of using the difference of religion beliefs for competition purposes.  You can’t judge todays people by the historical events of their ancestors of hundreds and thousands years ago.  This is where things can turn dangerous.

What’s so good about that?  We don’t want that … do we?
I would assume that you are familiar with the evolution of our planet and its creatures and so I ask you, what’s the use of religion in an individual’s life?  I mean why the complication?

When you realize the usefulness of religion, you will start seeing the answer to this question, then you will turn into constructive thinking.” End of quote.

I re-read my article. and the last paragraph, and the last sentence, and the note…and could not find a relationship between the string of comments and the subject matter.  The only correspondence could be the keyword “religion”.  My reply could more accurately be defined as “Comments on comments”.  The comments, although going on tangents, open up serious issues that need to be confronted.

Every religion is inherited from the dogma of previously disseminated religions.  The differences are essentially minor in the fundamental abstract concepts.  The antagonism among religious believers are consequences of the application of the clerics, vested with the power to influence and disseminate the set of moral values that suit the power-to-be.

Almost all religious “messengers” shared common characteristics; First, they were learned people, relative to their period, and assimilated the previous religious dogmas known during their period. Second, they applied kinds of meditation techniques, and experienced periods of asceticism. Third, they had the courage to speak in public places and confront set values predominant at the period.  I guess charisma is a combination of moral characters, level of knowledge, and comfortable inclination toward mass communication.

My post was not an anthropology lecture, and I don’t know how the reader understand the term anthropology. I was suggesting a scientific method for studying the various “monotheist religions”.  How supremacy came to be discovered in my post?

And then the reader writes “ignorance as from the average muslim standpoint”, and I wonder: “why did he have to assume I am a Moslem? Did this guy read the Koran, did he practice Islam, did he assimilate Islam…in order to assign me a poor grade?”  This idiosyncratic tendency is pretty common: When you discuss about a minority religion within a majority religion community, and refrain from belittling the minority religion, then you are judged to be a member of the minority religion.

In any case, I don’t give a hoot about religious belief.  Actually I feel pain when I listen to someone talk on religion for hours on, or proselytizing full-time for his religious sect.  It sends the strong signal that the person is culturally illiterate, trying to convince another individual on abstract matters as originating from “divine” Books…

Suddenly, this reader jumps to “talk of christianity as a religion and not an ethnic group, regardless of historical events…”  This is interesting: First, I didn’t say anything on that issue, but since the comment brought it up I take the plunge.  I hear frequently that we should distinguish among the religion, the dogma, the clerics, and the community of believers…These distinctions are virtual intellectual discussion.  Why?

Religious clerical system forms the largest and deepest educational network in any society, especially among the majority religion.  The seeds of the teaching (philosophy and moral values…) existing in the language, the customs, the tradition, and the value system of the religious dogma and teaching, are predominant and active, regardless of the changes that occur in society.

The kind of philosophies that rely on religion as sources of their framework of thought are not philosophy, but a line of thought which represents the power-to-be ideology and defined culture.

I have to agree that “religion is the opium of the common people” because the religious hierarchy deny the believers rational thinking, and encourage them to vote and think according to the dominant culture, the patriotic values to abide with…

The courageous stands in public places is very contagious. So is cowardness for tackling rational reflections.

Note:  I realized that this article registered 550 hits. I hope people will focus more on how religion was applied and why it was applied, and stop focusing on the abstract notions that are common to all religions.  It is not worth saying “My God will vanquish my enemy” when going to wars for vested material interest.  A minimum of humility and respect for the other opinions and positions are fundamental requirements for any semblance of peace.




September 2011

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