After the 2008 global financial crisis, some of Israel's neo-liberal fundamentalists sobered up from capitalist dogmatism and became 'social.' This led them to discovering Scandinavia, and lately they have been busy marketing a biased and union-free capitalist version of the 'Nordic Model' in Israel as well. By Yossi Dahan (Translated from Hebrew by Orna Meir-Stacey, Edited by Ami Asher) It is interesting to follow the socioeconomic discourse in Israel as it developed over the past three decades. To see how the social-democratic dictionary and debate, which had previously been the province of few – a discourse revolving around values such as social…Read More... | 2 Comments
The next social protest will be violent because the demand will no longer be for change but for a revolution - and revolutions are violent by nature. Two years after Israel's social protests, poverty is only increasing, a small number of people control the economy and politicians are still ignoring the grievances of those who elected them. By Ilan Manor The next social protect in Israel will be a violent one, and not simply because the last one failed. The next protest will be violent because of the social stagnation that currently characterizes Israeli society, a stagnation that prevents social…Read More... | 8 Comments
While many Israeli media reports praise the crowds who led (to) the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi, conservative writers continue to view the Arab Spring with skepticism | The common view is that the regional turmoil relieves some of the pressure on Israel over the Palestinian issue. In the morning following the overthrow of Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi, there isn’t a single unified voice coming from Israeli officials and the national media. While some pundits welcome the Muslim Brotherhood's removal from power (pointing mainly to its very hostile rhetoric towards Israel) others think that Morsi ended up being surprisingly cooperative with Israel.…Read More... | 17 Comments
This is one of the best images the Israeli social protest has produced: the Governor of the Bank of Israel and former chief economist at the World Bank Stanley Fischer walking out of a cultural event in central Tel Aviv, surrounded by protesters who happened to be gathering at a nearby square when they spotted him. The protesters shouted, “government and capital equal organized crime,” at Fischer and his wife (video here). While government officials praise Fisher for his term at the Bank of Israel, many protesters blame him for pursuing a monetary policy that supports big business instad of…Read More... | 2 Comments
Will Israeli masses return to the streets for social justice? After nearly a month of weekly protests outside the house of Yair Lapid, the new finance minister - numbering about 400 people each and organized by post-#J14 groups for public housing - a much bigger demonstration is planned for Saturday night with more than 10,000 people declaring they will attend on the Facebook event page. The protests are erupting as Lapid promotes a new budget, which looks much like the one planned by the previous government. It was ultimately public pressure that led the government to scrap the budget and call…Read More... | 11 Comments
Roughly 200 demonstrators gathered last night (Saturday) in front of new Finance Minister Yair Lapid's north Tel Aviv home in protest of planned cuts to social services and benefits. The protesters demanded that the finance minister cover budget deficits by taxing the highest-earning Israelis, rather than cutting benefits to the poor and unemployed, as Lapid hinted he would do. The protest was organized by public housing activists and the "Ma'abarah"' and "Not Nice" groups. Lapid came under fire last week after he posted a Facebook status promising to help "the average Israeli,"' but gave as an example an imaginary woman from Hadera whose household earnings are almost…Read More... | 8 Comments
A review of the year of social protests - just hours before the demonstration planned against the government's budget - yields bad news: The government has offered shallow solutions and deepened the roots of economic inequality. Last year's social paradox During last summer's social protests, outsiders and curious journalists repeatedly asked me how to explain that Israel has such excellent economic indicators, but so much discontent. Not being much of an economist, but knowing something about public opinion, I looked at how people experienced their lives here – micro versus macroeconomics. Despite apparently excellent macro indicators, most individual families weren't…Read More... | 5 Comments
If Netanyahu's government doesn't come up with a solution, the army could soon start enlisting all of Israel's ultra-Orthodox citizens. But while it is convenient to see the debate on a universal draft as a step toward equality, Israeli militarism should be challenged by decreasing the army's size, not enlarging it. The deadline is closing in on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to cross one of the most dangerous minefields in Israeli politics – that of national draft reform. In February, the High Court struck down the current arrangement – known as the Tal Law – exempting most of…Read More... | 23 Comments
A new Israeli think tank report analyzes the cost of the occupation in terms of government budget allocations, and breaks down damage the conflict causes to the Israeli economy and society. By Timna Axel One of the most remarkable aspects of the social protests that began on Rothschild Boulevard and swept through Israel last summer was that they drew Israelis on both the right and the left side of the security divide, a rarity in a country where one's politics are defined by his or her position on the conflict. It didn't happen by accident; the leaders of J14 faced…Read More... | 10 Comments
Rallies were part of international day of protest. The largest event took place in Tel Aviv, where speakers denounced the new unity government. UPDATE: A video showing protesters expose and confront an undercover policeman was added to this piece. Around 5,000 protesters in Rabin Square. took part yesterday (Saturday) night in what was labeled "the first social justice demonstration of the summer." Smaller events took place in other Israeli cities. The protest was part of the international May 12 protest movement, and a live feed from similar rallies around the world was displayed in the square. The demonstration was organized…Read More... | 2 Comments
The Israeli political system and the media were thrown into a frenzy by the unprecedented announcement that the early elections will be postponed following a coalition deal between Kadima – formerly known as the opposition – and Likud. Everyone is spitting mad: the talking heads have been cheated out of their favorite game; newbie Yair Lapid is like a child who was pushed out of the sandbox; Labor was basking in poll numbers that had it slated for second place, and is now left dazed and confused. The far-right faction of Likud has to get into bed with Kadima, which…Read More... | 15 Comments
Im Tirtzu, the nasty little organization that has ushered in some of the more dangerous trends in Israel – policing academic thought, turning Zionism into a sort of raison d’état – has suffered a powerful blow issued with swift and impressive precision by an apparently lethal force: consumers. Bank Leumi, one of the country’s oldest banks, was forced to freeze a new charity program on Sunday when customers discovered that money they raised could have gone to Im Tirtzu, along with other social welfare organizations. It probably took the enterprising folks no more than a few minutes to check the…Read More... | 2 Comments
A week of anticipation and seven weeks of breathtaking national energy wrapped up - for this phase – with a massive rally in Tel Aviv’s Kikar Hamedina attended by roughly 300,000 people and over 100,000 in other parts of the country. An hour before, families streamed down the streets and people kneeled on the sidewalk with signs and magic markers, with cars picking their way through. There was a giddy feeling that the city belonged to the demonstrators. The speakers were excited but brought no real surprises: the lineup was a combination of the by-now-usual suspects and lesser-known figures from…Read More... | 12 Comments
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