Analysis News

Going rogue: How the Ministry of Finance plays by its own rules

When it comes to getting its way, the Finance Ministry will go to no end to force other governmental bodies to bend to its will. 

By Hagai Kalai

Like public authorities in Israel, the Ministry of Finance aims to promote public interest to the best of its understanding. However, like all public authorities, the ministry suffers from a narrow perspective: it gives higher value to its own policies, while undervaluing the importance of proper administrative process. Yet, while most public authorities try and promote their agenda through the standard legitimate government mechanisms, the Ministry of Finance has developed a long line of sophisticated mechanisms that enable it to avoid the “burden” of proper administrative process. For example, the mechanism of budgetary adjustments during a budget year has been used for many years order to promote a hidden budget – one that is not truly supervised by the Knesset.

Similarly, the Ministry of Finance does not hesitate to allocate public funds for campaigns against other governmental offices, such as the Ministry of Environmental Protection, when it dares to hold opinions that are not aligned with the Ministry of Finance’s perspective (or even worse: when those opinions are preferred by policymakers to those offered by the Ministry).

Among this wide variety of mechanisms used by the Ministry of Finance to force its opinions on other public bodies, is one used to reduce the power of the courts.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid in the Knesset, July 29, 2013 (Photo: Tali Mayer/ Activestills.org)

Finance Minister Yair Lapid in the Knesset, July 29, 2013 (Photo: Tali Mayer/ Activestills.org)

As a general matter, the court will not intervene in decisions based on economic analysis, even if said analysis is deeply flawed. The court will intervene only in one of three situations: if the decision leads to non-proportional violation of human rights, contradicts the law or if the decision is extremely unreasonable.

Even this limited court supervision, it seems, is too much for the Ministry of Finance. Thus, a solution was found. Instead of arguing in favor of its policies before the court, the ministry prefers to force its policies upon the court by enacting them while the legal process is still standing, often in direct violation of the court’s order.

This took place surrounding the discussions surrounding the budget for public medical...

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Truth is the first casualty when war is declared

The recurring elements in the manipulation of public opinion and discourse in wartime also appeared during ‘Protective Edge.’ Shaked Spier brings you the Ten Truths, Ten Commandments and Ten Lies of war.

By Shaked Spier

Illustrative photo of IDF Spokesperson Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN during the 2014 Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge. (Screenshot)

Illustrative photo of IDF Spokesperson Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN during the 2014 Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge. (Screenshot)

The truth

Several truths dominated the hegemonic discourse in Israel during and since “Protective Edge”:

1. Israel doesn’t want war, we only defend ourselves
2. Hamas was solely responsible for this war
3. The Hamas leadership is evil and looks evil
4. Israel is defending a noble cause, not special interests
5. Hamas carries out intentional atrocities; we only make mistakes (“collateral damage”)
6. Hamas uses unlawful weapons
7. Israel suffers few losses, the Palestinians in Gaza suffer many losses
8. Intellectuals and artists support our cause
9. Our cause is sacred
10. Those who doubt our cause and official statements are traitors

Many of these truths accompany us in times of cease-fire as well. However, as the past few months have shown, the public demand to “fall into line” in times of violent escalations strengthens the information and knowledge elite’s control over what is allowed to be said; and consequently – what is allowed to be thought. Such argumentative alignments (at least concerning some of the above-mentioned points) can be observed in places usually considered strongholds of criticism, but which actually constitute part of the Israeli mainstream discourse and media, such as the Haaretz newspaper, and the left-wing Labor and Meretz political parties.

Due to language barriers, my ability to follow and analyze the mainstream discourse and official reporting within the Palestinian society is quite limited. Interviews and reporting in the international press, combined with testimonies of Arabic-speaking friends and activists, allow me to assume similar argumentative lines can be observed among the leadership and institutional press in Gaza (while truth number 7 constitutes an exception, as explained below).

An infographic published on the IDF Spokesperson's Facebook page.

An infographic published on the IDF Spokesperson’s Facebook...








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Kitsch, death and god at Israel's Education Ministry

The Israeli education minister’s letter to the graduating class of 2014 is evidence of the fact that Israeli education is little more than an ongoing IDF preparatory course.

By Avner Ben-Amos (translated from Hebrew by Miriam Erez)

A letter to the high school class of 2014 published by Israeli Education Minister Shai Piron in the July 24, 2014 issue of Israel Hayom is a worrying wakeup call. A wakeup call because the education minister presents a worldview that rests on distorted, revisionist history. Worrying because this minister determines, directly or indirectly, how our schoolchildren perceive their reality. Even if only a few of them end up reading the letter, written as a farewell to last year’s graduates, it is quite instructive regarding the minister and his positions, and is therefore worth analyzing.

Let’s begin with the headline. “Only our wars are wars of no choice”, states the minister with undisguised glee. It’s a statement reminiscent of the arbitrary one by Elazar Stern, former chief IDF education officer, that, the IDF is “the world’s most moral army,” after obviously studying, measuring, and comparing all of the world’s armies and determining our ethical ranking among them.

Education Minister Shai Piron (Source: Yesh Atid/Wikimedia Commons) December 2, 2012

Education Minister Shai Piron (Source: Yesh Atid/Wikimedia Commons) December 2, 2012

But beyond that, Minister Piron ignores the fact that all of our wars since 1967 – including the most recent one in Gaza – were intended to clinch our control over the occupied territories, all of which make them wars of choice, including the first Lebanon War, whose architect, Menachem Begin, declared it as such. And if we work backward we even find that the 1956 Sinai Campaign was a war of choice that Israel joined together with the declining imperialist powers of France and Britain.

Another wild statement in Piron’s letter is, “We’re the only country that on the day of its founding, did not rejoice in the defeat of its enemies, but rather extended its hand in peace.” Considering that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees expelled by the IDF in 1948 were left on the other side of the border and not permitted to return home, it’s not clear how we extended our hand in peace. This statement also elucidates Piron’s ongoing refusal to allow Arab schools to mention the...

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Fight Israeli poverty, not poverty statistics

Poverty in Israel is not the result of low social security transfers, it’s the result of low income. And the truth of the matter is that the issue of poverty is not high on the Israeli government’s list of priorities.

By Dr. Shlomo Swirski and Attorney Noga Dagan-Buzaglo (translated from Hebrew by Noam Benishei)

The Alaluf Committee to Fight Poverty was appointed by a government that does everything in its power to reduce labor costs in Israel for the benefit of corporate business, as well as the government itself, because it, too, is a big employer. In doing so the government that appointed the committee is complicit in the generation of poverty: it privatizes public services, it fails to enforce existing labor laws, it delays renewal of collective agreements for as long as it can and goes out of its way to oppose the raising of the minimum wage.

When the labor market offers a large section of its workers a salary that places their families below the poverty line, what is required is a change in the labor market and the wage system. Raising social security benefits, though a welcome step in itself, provides no real answer: If a 7,000 NIS ($1,950 income places a family of four below the poverty line, that indicates that the problem lies not in the size of this or that social security benefit but rather in the fact that most employees in Israel earn less than 7,000 NIS.

Eli Alaluf, head of the Alaluf Committee. (photo: Israel Prize website)

Eli Alaluf, head of the Alaluf Committee to Fight Poverty. (photo: Israel Prize website)

What is really needed, then, is a committee to examine the assumption that labor costs must always be reduced if economic growth is to be achieved; a committee to examine the fact that once growth is achieved, its fruits trickle up, rather than down, as so often promised. A committee to examine why so many Israelis are denied the tools that may help them cope in the labor market. A committee to examine the working assumptions of so many leaders, for instance Manuel Trajtenberg, chair of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel, who, when asked what about the roughly 50 percent of youth who never...

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What to expect from the Israeli Right after Protective Edge

Progressive forces in Israel need to be prepared: The Israeli Right has yet to exhaust all of its options for dealing with the Palestinians. The alternatives to Netanyahu’s status quo involve moves toward a Greater Israel and full segregation based on extreme nationalism and hatred.

By Mati Shemoelof (translated by Rotem Nir)

If there is one thing we should have learned from the past couple of months, it’s an appreciation of just how high the stakes are in Israel.

The Israeli Zionist Left is not capable of leading this country to serious change; change will only come when the Right betrays its own voters. The real political choice at our disposal, to an extent that one even exists, is between two similarly destructive right-wing ideologies.

One doesn’t need a time machine to look a few steps into the future and realize that the Israeli Right has yet to exhaust all of its options for dealing with the Palestinians. Operation Protective Edge was as much about revenge as it was an attempt to force a military solution, but the Right has options and plans that go far beyond the preservation of the status quo, which is what Netanyahu is all about.

One of the political factors that led to this war-that-wasn’t-really-a-war was a continued internal power struggle among the ruling elites, who constantly seek ways to take advantage of Netanyahu’s weakness and the fragility of his coalition. In other words, the war was not only a geo-political military action but also a continuation of an ongoing domestic political battle to unseat the Israeli prime minister.

What the Right has to offer

In this context we can point to two major ideologies emanating from the current leaders of the Right – ones that could potentially be adopted on a government level following Netanyahu’s downfall. Both ideologies are based on the old right-wing idea that Zionism can exist solely in a state of war and not in a peaceful reality; proper Jewish nationalism and its historical ideals can only be realized in the radical revolutionary blaze of a sword. The sentiment is encapsulated in a famous Jabotinsky line, found in a song of the Beitar movement: “Because silence is filth / Give up blood and soul / For the sake of the hidden beauty / To die or conquer the mount.” (full translation here)

The first of these right-wing ideologies is...

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Why Israel must help the Kurds in Iraq

The Yezidis are presented in mainstream accounts as mere props in a play entitled, ‘Militant Islam and its horrors in the Middle East.’ But the story of the Kurdish people is much more than just a scene — or cannon fodder — in an IS exhibition of horror. A Kurdish Jew in Israel calls on his government to save his brethren. 

By Idan Pink-Avidani

Kurds have no friends but the mountains..

Dear friends and whoever is reading this. Please stop posting negative news and instead pray for #Peshmarga and have faith in God. We Kurds never harmed any nation and never asked for something which was not our right. We only struggle for our own rights, we only fought to protect our children and women. We never had support from anyone. Not any nation. Let’s all pray and ask God to protect us and our Peshmarga. Let’s stop acting like we know what’s going on coz we simply don’t. Let’s stop acting like politicians and analyze and post things on Facebook. Instead let’s stay humans and pray. Let’s stay humans and help our families in Shangal who fled away from their home. Let’s simply look up there to the sky and ask HIM for peace. He never rejects a request.

We are a peaceful nation, who opened it’s arms to protect those who never made a small effort to support us, because KURDS are humans. Let’s stay humans.

You are not helping by making people terrified.

#pray #for #peshmarga”

The text above is what my friend Huda from Irbil-Hawler, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region, wrote on her Facebook page a few weeks ago following another deadly attack by Islamic State (IS) forces. The attack caused hundreds of thousands of Yezidis to flee to the mountains where many of them died of hunger and thirst while praying to be rescued.

To me, this moving text represents the essence of the Kurdish people and their struggle for independence: solidarity in a shared destiny that transcends internal political disputes, a strong desire for faith and utter distrust in anyone but themselves.

Since IS entered our consciousness and lives in the Middle East, most people found themselves following and viewing the atrocities this horrific organization is committing through the eyes and explanations of professional media commentators who analyze the situation in Iraq from a distant security...

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Every war, I lose more and more friends

Sometimes I fantasize about what would happen if I were to be declared a traitor by the authorities. How would those women with whom I’ve worked for so long react. Now I’m beginning to understand.

By Ruti Lavie (translated from Hebrew by Michal Wertheimer Shimoni)

This week I unfriended another friend who reacted to my posts on Facebook with so much anger and rage I just couldn’t take it anymore. How can one compare unfriending friends to losing lives, which has become so ubiquitous here? But life isn’t a balanced affair. Technically it was very simple – a click on the mouse and I was done. In reality, she is a friend whose life had been intertwined with mine for half of my life. A friend with whom I shared so much happiness, pain and love. Someone who became a part of me has disappeared, along with all the suffering, pain and happiness that were a part of my own life.

And as so often happens, her anger did not stem from me calling for an end to this damned war. As always, what enraged her was seeing those horrible photos, the pain expressed over the suffering of the people of Gaza and their children. Every war I lose friends. In 2002 I cut ties with a woman who was like a mother to me, after she said that it was a good thing that a Palestinian girl died from lack of access to medication, because “had she grown up she would have turned into a suicide terrorist.” And so it goes, war after war. It happens not because I call for an end to end the war, but because I feel the pain of those who have become the Other in this land – those who have lost their humanity in the eyes of the state.

Palestinian retrieves what belongings he can carry from their homes in Beit Hanoun, North Gaza Strip, August 12, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian family retrieves what belongings it can carry from their home in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, August 12, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

I am trying to understand what is so scary about feeling someone else’s pain? You don’t have to agree with me in order to be able to admit that “yes, this is painful.” Why...

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POEMS: After a night full of missiles in Gaza

Gaza-based poet Manal Miqdad wrote the following poem after a particularly violent and sleepless night in Gaza during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. Israeli poet Almog Behar penned a response, dedicated to Miqdad.

Burned books from the collection of Gaza poet Othman Hussein (photo: Maysoon Hussein)

Burned books from the collection of Gaza poet Othman Hussein (photo: Maysoon Hussein)

After a night full of missiles, crying and fear, the sheet of the sky opens its heart to the light

By Manal Miqdad (translated from Arabic by Sam Carlshamre and Chana Morgenstern)

I speak my words unto God, O Gaza!

After a night full of missiles, crying and fear, the sheet of the sky opens its heart to the light. But how can we wish you good morning, O Gaza? Bursting with hope, I say: maybe it is a good morning, my Gaza, after the wounds have adorned your face, and weariness has overtaken your legs. Perhaps it so, though the killing has robbed you of the right to your life and livelihood, perhaps it is so.

Paint your evening sky with the faces of the children and the holy dead; fill your throat with prayer and your spirit with tranquility.

As the reconnaissance airplanes eat your head, a shell flies by that could fell you, though your spirit has already fallen. You shatter, screaming, sobbing like mad, but a revolutionary song interrupts your cries, filling you with fervor and commitment, comforting you. Oh Gaza, will you eradicate your fears with songs? Will you infuse us, the half-dead, with life?

The shell that scared you, or didn’t scare you, that killed one of your friends or your neighbors or relatives, and injured many, deposited in you scenes of blood, scattered bodies, the wretchedness of families, their choked spirits, their weeping, and a hopelessness that made us turn to God and Medina to hasten our salvation.

O God, the girl who turned into a butterfly and fluttered to the sky, how long must she wait to be concealed in her mother’s embrace? How will the boy bear it, he who kissed his family and saw them disappear into the edges of the clouds?

My breast is crammed full, choking, while I fill my friends’ spirits with life. From their worries I weave tapestries to infuse their pallid skin...

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After Abu Khdeir murder, an ugly collision of homophobia and racism

After Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burned to death, many Israeli Jews insisted he died at the hands of Palestinians. They seized on unfounded rumors of his alleged homosexuality rather than facing the truth of the horrible act.

By Shaked Spier (Translated from Hebrew by Yossefa Mekyton and Shaked Spier)

Alongside the pain, belligerence and anger, it is important to say a few words about homophobia and racism, and how the two manifested after the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. When the burned body of the Palestinian boy was found following public  incitement against Arabs - which peaked after the abduction and murder of Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali – it became likely that the murder had nationalistic motives. Of course, the timing could have been coincidental. It was not.

Palestinian residents of Shuafat stand above the body of Muhammad Abu Khdeir during his funeral. (photo: Activestills)

Palestinian residents of Shuafat stand above the body of Muhammad Abu Khdeir during his funeral. (photo: Activestills)

But a discussion concerning only essentialist categories of “us” and “them” – in which “they” are bloodthirsty animals and “we” are peaceful victims – cannot contain the possibility that “one of us” could have carried out a crime that is so typical of “them.”

Mohammed was a physically gentle boy, at least in his famous photo. A boy that, if one insists, can be seen as gay. And they, after all, are known to be homophobic. Moreover, we’re told, they publicly execute each and every gay and lesbian (minor detail: it’s not exactly true). And we? We give refuge to LGBTQ Palestinians! Though, sometimes we send them back despite the danger to their lives. And anyway, we have a pride parade in Tel Aviv, so obviously we are not homophobic.

So what if the parties in the government coalition are fighting vigorously against any LGBTQ rights? And so what if the Minister of Education recently claimed that gay couples should not be considered “families?” In the shallow world of racist generalizations everything is clear, and a police investigation certainly isn’t needed. They were the murderers - probably Mohammed’s neighbors who were not able to accept his sexual identity.

And what is this conclusion based on? On a single photo of a boy who does not fit the stereotype of a Palestinian man with a thick beard, a...

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An open letter to the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir

As Israel and the Palestinians descend further into open violence, concerned Israelis challenge their fellow citizens in an attempt to forge a joint Israel-Palestinian resistance to violence. 

(Translated from Hebrew by Idit Arad and Matan Kaminer)

Our hands shed this blood, our hands set Mohammed Abu Khdeir on fire, our hands fanned the flames. We have been living here for too long to claim that we did not know, we did not understand, we were not able to foresee. We witnessed the actions of the vast machine of incitement to racism and revenge operated by the government, the politicians, the educational system and the media. We watched Israeli society become neglected and poor, until the call to violence in all its forms became an outlet for many, fighting for their place in the margins of society, teenagers and adults alike. We saw how the meaning of being Jewish was emptied and sharply reduced to nationalism, militarism, a struggle for land, hatred of gentiles, shameful exploitation of the Holocaust and the “Teaching of the King.”

More than anything, we witnessed how the State of Israel, through its various governments, has passed racist laws, enacted discriminatory policies, labored to enshrine the occupation regime, preferring ongoing violence and victims on both sides rather than a peaceful agreement.

Palestinians carry the body of Muhammed Abu Khdeir through the streets of Shuafat. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians carry the body of Muhammed Abu Khdeir through the streets of Shuafat. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Our hands shed this blood, and we wish to express our condolences and our pain to the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who are experiencing an unthinkable loss, and to the Palestinian people as a whole. We oppose the occupation policy of the government and we are against the violence, racism and incitement that exist in Israeli society. We refuse to gave our Jewishness identified with it, a Jewishness that includes the words of the rabbi of Tripoli and Aleppo, the wise Hezekiah Shabtai who said: “Love thy neighbor as thy self” (Leviticus xviii).

This love of one another does not only refer to the love of one Jew or Israeli for another, but to also loving our neighbors who are not Jews. It instructs us to co-exist with them through love, and pursue their safety and welfare. That is not only...

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No such thing as 'half-and-half': On mixed Mizrahi-Ashkenazi identity

The melting pot’s favorite category, ‘mixed,’ doesn’t pass the test of reality: in Israel, banal characteristics like one’s last name, appearance and place of residence, continue to dictate one’s opportunities in life and create an ethnic identity, concerning both class and culture. On Talia Sagiv’s book.

By Itamar Toby (Taharlev)
(Translated from Hebrew by Maayan Goldman)

On the Fault Line: Israelis of Mixed Ethnicity, a new book by Dr. Talia Sagiv of the Hebrew University (Hakibbutz Hameuchad publishing), deals with the offspring of what are called “mixed marriages.” To this day, the myth of mixed marriage has been used as the ultimate weapon of proactive Ashkenazim in the ethnicity debate: the joker card, drawn to silence the oppression of Mizrahim. And here, a doctoral student who was originally trying to prove that there’s no such thing and that “everybody’s marrying everybody nowadays,” manages to deconstruct – from deep within – one of the most successful arguments that historically assisted in nurturing that oppression, mainly against whoever is not white, male and secular.

No doubt – the book’s publication isn’t going to be easy for missionaries of the “everybody’s marrying everybody today and there’s no such thing anymore, so be quiet” argument. Sagiv’s process is extremely interesting, because she goes beyond statistical data and takes a clear interpretative, qualitative approach, demonstrating how her interviewees (offspring of mixed couples ranging in different ages) interpret and perceive their identity through their negotiations with Israeli society. The negotiation takes shape and comes to being on the basis of the following elements, from most influential to least: 1. Skin color. 2. Last name. 3. Place of residence 4. Presence and influence of a dominant personality.

'But they I remembered that I married a Yeminite [man.'

‘But then I remembered that I married a Yemenite [man].’

In an interesting way, Sagiv’s interview-based thesis pretty much slaughters the myth of “having an actual half-and-half identity.” The book shows that political categories of east and west in Israel – manifested mainly through skin color and family name – are stronger than the official melting pot ideology of the Zionist movement. The east and west categories leak through the way the “mixed” experience their identity, and manage to continue the construction of offspring that are either Mizrahim or Ashkenazim in their identities, hence effecting their stratified mobility...

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At the exiled Iranian Parliament in Berlin

At the exiled Iranian parliament we convened at Café Kotti in Berlin, I look around at my new friends and ask myself: how can civilians destroy the walls the politicians have built with such a lack of imagination, courage, vision and basic human love? It’s not a theoretical question. We’re talking about our lives.

By Mati Shemoelof (translated from Hebrew by Chana Morgenstern)

During one of my special evenings in Berlin, I climbed over the wall separating Israel and Iran and opened a parliament for Iranian Mashhadi exiles with two other refugees. We sat at Café Kotti (the local Albi) where Middle Eastern immigrants hang out with the East and West Germans. The ceiling is covered in childish drawings and the speakers blare salsa and Fairuz, and then suddenly shift into rock. The room is full of smoke and red armchairs, the atmosphere is social and you can talk to whomever you want.

I introduce myself as a Jewish Iranian refugee, but not in the cynical sense that Israel exploited the refugee status of Arab Jews to cancel out the rights of exiled Palestinians. I tell them that all my life I’ve been prevented from prostrating at the graves of my great grandparents in Iran. I’m not a romantic; my grandfather fled from Iran because of Islamic fundamentalism. But the other side was not exactly seeking peace either—the Zionists continued with their wars in all the Arab states as they occupied Palestine, and today Bibi goes to peace talks to avoid peace and buy time until the Republican party is back in power. (Watch this Jon Stewart’s skit on the Daily Show about the Republican Party’s pilgrimage to receive the donations (blessings) of Don Sheldon Adelson).

And so I sit with two Mashhadi refugees, one with long hair who reminds me of myself 10 years ago, the other with short hair. The first is really frustrated in Germany, lives with friends, and hasn’t undergone the process of integration into German society yet. The second gave up on having a social life, studied German from morning till night, and went on to attend university. The first is very critical of Germany’s racist attitude towards refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers; the second is shy and working as hard as he can to help his brother in Iran. We start up a conversation, buy each other beers, and I...

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Pathologizing ethnicity: Are Mizrahim really more prone to violence?

A recent article claims that the higher rates of ADHD among Mizrahim leads them to violence. But can one really make such sweeping statements about an entire demographic group without looking at the broader social context?

By Marcelo Weksler (translated from Hebrew by Anat Goldman)

On March 16, 2014, Dr. Shlomi Antebi, an expert on Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), published an article in Haaretz (Hebrew) with the shocking headline: “The most severe and potentially violent cases of ADHD diagnoses in Israel are of Mizrahim descent.” By attributing “Mizrahi violence” to a mental condition, the headline reasserts the popular image of Mizrahim as inherently violent. Antebi’s original post (Hebrew), which was likely the basis for this article, rested on a different argument: Mizrahim children are more often diagnosed with severe cases of ADHD and are treated less often, while Ashkenazi children are more often diagnosed with mild cases of ADHD and are treated more often. The editors at Haaretz must have had yet another misunderstanding, but they are not the only ones.

Antebi’s article opens with the claim that “more children are diagnosed these days with ADHD as a result of over-diagnosis.” He does not explain the term “over-diagnosis,” but later connects it to an increase in parental awareness (meaning higher rates of awareness among Ashkenazi parents, as opposed to lower rates among Mizrahi parents). But is over-diagnosis really the result of parents trying to make life easier for their kids? Or do schools pursue over-diagnosis as a means of classifying and labeling students for their own purposes? Antebi neither clarifies nor analyzes these possible causes for over-diagnosis. It seems that his claim is more of a warning for over-treating children with psychiatric drugs. But even if that is the issue, why doesn’t he explicitly say that the Israeli education system encourages the use of Ritalin and other drugs in order to keep students “calm” rather than actually helping them, which inevitably results in over-treatment?

Ritalin. (photo: Sponge/CC BY-SA 3.0)

The main problem, however, with Antebis’ article is that he sees ADHD merely as a product of genetics and chemistry, thus reducing the problem to a medical discussion based on the idea that the problem is with the child alone. In doing so, he ignores the potential role of social, political and economic factors in...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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