(Our Israel correspondent - Idan B. Jacobs). Over the past few weeks we have been witnessing the Israeli public waking up from indifference and injustice in high cost of lives and start to demonstrate - by boycotting or taking it to the streets.
That's a blessing: more and more people care about politics rather than just watching reality shows. It started with the high gas prices, moved to boycotting Cottage cheese and striking for public health-care system, eventually it all exploded in the rise of housing/rent cost protests.
The protesters, backed by the Media blame the current government for the neglect of years. While their cry is true, their analysis of the siuation in my humble opinion is distorted.
Israel's economy's main problem isn't the free economy, but the lack of it.
Let's examine what the protesters suggest: Social Justice - "Take from the rich and give to the poor" (Credit: Robin Hood).
Well, Israel is a small country in an area of conflict since day one, without making it attractive for investors, the economy will fall and the unemployment rate will rise. But the demonstrators who at first claim to want solutions; now chant their wish to topple the government (holding up signs like: "Bibi go home" or other slogans copyrighted by left-wing parties).
They may want Israel to be like Sweden, but they will end up with Cuba. When the Land Administration controls more than 90% of ground ownership, when a recent OECD report states there's too much bureaucracy (and workers in the public sector earn more than average comparing to other countries in the organization), in a country in the size of NJ that has more than 250 municipalities! Unions that take care of high-paid officials, state-funded rabbinates for a public that doesn't necessarily use religious services or top military personnel's that earn way more than duty service soldiers on the field…
Can you call this a free market? Even the enthusiastic Zionist Glenn Beck would of organized a tea party movement against this system of Government.
Because if you don't have a liberated and transparent economy, one of which you tax and regulate wisely, you care not able to ggrant the public quality services. And if you choke free initiatives you have nowhere to take the money from (since you will only end up in debts). The public service shouldn't reward workers just for being organized, but for giving the best treatment. Workers should get social rights, but incitements given only to those who stand in their committed goals.
How can you fund these services? by cutting government spending. Which means? Cancel unnecessary government jobs and reduce salaries for less important roles. Give the money to those who really deserve it. Can't do that? Let the private sector solve it in a transparent and regulated contest, like Kachlon did in the cellular market. But how can the Prime Minister continue with such reforms when the ruling party in the coalition has just 27 seats in the parliament (22% of the Knesset). It's being blackmailed by all factors I've mentioned and still tries to do its best in this reality.
The protesters wants the public assets to land in the hands of the people, but their way of thinking leads to complete nationalization which leaves it under the hands of inefficient ministers. Ze'ev Jabotinksy once said that "the concentration of fortune in the hands of tycoons is as bad as in the hands politicians".
and look who is jumping on that role to lead - the Media, the written press claim it's a social revolution. But the newspapers themselves are run by tycoons with an interest to stall the threat of competition in the market! So what do they do? Bash this government for any privatization; it's like a guy wearing a T-shirt of Che Gurvara! Socialism has become a popular brand name these days.
"The hippies shouted 'make love, not war' but they didn't look like they could do either" (Ronald Reagen).
The protesters chant 'social justice, not pig-like capitalism' but they won't get either.
The real demand should be to change the method and not the government. To empower the people through a constitution and declare a territorial nationality, not have a Marxist revolution that would make Israel like Cuba. The media is in love with the romance of the protesters but fail to focus on the core of the problems.
Since the security and the economy are so well-handled, the public debate can have the luxury of shifting to domestic issues. hence, This government has proved successes in security, economy, communications, education, environmentalism, transportation and more. Why not let it finish it's term and than decide?