Ever since the beginning of the war, jobs have evaporated in Be’er Sheva. Those who could afford to have left the city. And the worst part? The moment the rockets stop, the journalists and commentators will pack up their things and leave. Then what?
By Daniel Beller
I can’t stand seeing cynical politicians, those with easy access to a microphone or camera, speaking about the “strong home front” in Israel’s south. People have been living from siren to siren for more than a month, and earlier this week someone on the radio called for an end to the Home Front Command warnings, arguing that they ruin the smooth sequence between programs. In Be’er Sheva, people know that the minute the television crews leave the city, no one will care whether rockets are being fired at us. As long as they don’t fall in Tel Aviv, everything is cool.
Since the beginning of the fighting, the city has had difficulty returning to its normal self. There is no work. Be’er Sheva is based on a service and trade economy. Instead of establishing a major source of employment, the local leaders decided to set up service centers, jobs that outside of Israel are outsourced to the Third World, as well as malls and shopping centers.
When there is no money, the Be’er Sheva food chain collapses. Okay, not completely: there are those who have a permanent income, regardless of what happens outside. Others make do with what they can. The population continues to rise. The workers are transparent, cynically exploited, lack rights and must meet all their obligations all the time. The handyman, the private tutor, the graphic designer working from home, the teaching assistant, the gardener, the cleaner. Because of the situation, many of them now lack work.
Apart from some exceptions, cultural life in Be’er Sheva has all but come to a halt. That means that artists, mentors, actors, stage workers and tens of professionals are sitting at home. The city pinned its hopes on the summer as its festival season. Low-wage workers can barely take a week of military operations. This time, Israel...Read More