Adonis Diaries

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

Posted on: September 8, 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

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September 2011

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