Sunday, September 04, 2011

Israel's Internal Enemy

Probably inspired by the wave of protests in certain Arab countries, and/or by protests in Greece and certain other debt ridden European countries, a protest movement has arisen in Israel against what it calls "social injustice".

Though it is probably largely explained by these other movements, it is nevertheless largely illogical and incomprehensible. Unlike the Arab countries, Israel is democratic. And unlike Greece and other troubled European countries, it hasn't implemented any austerity programme. And unlike the vast majority of countries in the world, Israel has a record strong economy, with unemployment at an all time low and with strong economic growth even after it escaped the 2008-09 global slump with a mere slowdown (though a significant one) in growth. And no, none of the demands issued by this movement really concerns (other than at most indirectly) Israel's relations with the Palestinians or other Arabs.

So, the creation of this movements seems really incomprehensible and certainly irrational.

It has often been asserted that its goal is to "lower the cost of living", but while that is probably the goal of some of those participating in it, it is clearly not the intention of the leaders as they have ignored or rejected rational solutions to this, like making monetary policy less inflationary and removing regulatory obstacles to increases in supply of the things (like housing) they say are too expensive.

Instead, the objective seems to be to force the Israeli government to reverse the successful free market policies that Israeli governments since the 1980s have pursued to liberalize the Israeli economy and make go back to more socialist policies.

That would be a serious mistake as it would imperil the dramatic economic progress Israel has achieved since the 1980s. And since that would in turn weaken Israel's clout and make its defense less affordable, it would endanger Israel itself. This means that the "social justice movement" is as big a threat to Israel (and [de facto even if unwittingly] collaborating with) as Iran, Hamas and Fatah.

Fortunately for Israel, it seems though that while the protestors may make a lot of noise, they don't have any public support. Hopefully, this will prevent Netanyahu from caving in to the protestors socialist demands.


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