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Monday, August 08, 2011

A 'totalitarian media' hoax?

Journalist Kobi Arieli describes the #J14 demonstrations as a 'totalitarian media' hoax.
The "housing protest" brought an unknown number of Israelis to the streets Saturday night, but criticism of the seemingly spontaneous protest is growing. Kobi Arieli, one of the most prominent religious journalists in Israel's mainstream media, published a scathing critique of the protests on his Facebook page – most likely because no newspaper would carry it.

Some of Arieli's points:

"There is no social protest. The protest is a Ynet protest. It exists in Yediot Aharonot, Ynet and Channel 2 news -- three totalitarian media outlets that shamelessly host it and provide it with life, day after day, week after week. Take the media out of the protest – and there is no protest…


"The present government… is not to blame for anything. It is stable, strong and has a well thought out economic agenda. One does not need to agree with its world view, but we should be proud that this is one of the only [Israeli] governments that has an ordered fiscal outlook. So why did the fools sing [songs of derision against Netanyahu]? Because they are fools.

"Additional targets of the 'protest' are the 'parasitical' sectors that contribute nothing and which the middle class has to carry on its back… There are four such sectors, if I understand correctly: hareidis, Arabs, settlers and poor people. You will never hear about two of these: not about poor people, because it is not nice to attack poor people, and not about Arabs, because this contradicts another of the Tribe's principles – the Tribe is supposed to like Arabs (originally, the White Tribe is 'leftist'). Therefore you will only hear complaints about settlers and hareidis.

"The argument that says 'it's all the settlers' fault' is a political argument and therefore not valid… Political arguments are decided at the ballot box. Surprise: it was decided at the ballot box. Next.

"The argument 'it's all the hareidis' fault' is indeed an old and well-known one, but it suffers from two problems: A) the hareidis are also poor! OK, but they are poor by choice, say the opponents. This makes the argument political again. B) The criticism of hareidis and their budgets is tainted with much exaggeration and seething hatred.
Read the whole thing. My sense is that the media is suppressing the internal arguments that are going on among the protesters. Right-wing protesters are not being welcomed, and I don't understand why so many of them are showing up there anyway. Do they really think the protesters are going to press the government to increase the guaranteed minimum income (yes, there is one if you qualify), and restore the Kollel stipends and the income tax breaks for living in Judea and Samaria? Don't hold your breath.

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At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I commented this elsewhere:

Both the leftist, socialist, Marxist, communist organizers of this protest, along with the government of Israel itself, are all tiptoeing around the the cause of and the solution to many of the problems being protested about: Israel’s absurd taxation rates to feed it ever-fattening government bureaucracy.

Forget about the defense budget. Every ministry is bloated beyond reality. The Knesset itself feeds from the ever overflowing trough of taxpayer money to pamper its ministers (with and without portfolios) and their office staffers and perks galore.

Taking the budget knife to our precious bureaucratic beast would mean tossing myriads of redundant workers into the streets and eliminating corruption and bureaucratic laws and regulation which hinder every aspect of personal and economic life in Israel. If someone would finally get rid of the useless paper pushers, we could have a flat tax of 20%-25% and possibly a zero corporate tax, which would attract Jews with capital to this country like never before and move businesses here, providing employment in all sectors of competitive economic life.

So why is no one mentioning this – not the government nor the protesters? Because they all know it means the spigot of seemingly endless money to fund their unions, parent’s/aunt’s/sibling’s/spouse’s useless public clerk jobs, and special causes will all come to an end. No pain, no gain.

Look at this chart and spot the relevant anomaly:

Government Spending as a % of GDP

It’s been that way for a long time. It’s the reason why Tax Freedom Day comes so late for the average Israeli:

Israelis celebrate Tax Freedom Day on June 29th this year: 7 days later than in 2010

How does it feel, fellow Israelis, to pocket only 6 out of 12 months of your salary? Even that statistic is underestimated, when you calculate in the VAT and numerous other government and municipal taxes we fork over every day of every week for the most essential of items.

Who’s protesting about any of this? Ask yourself why not.

At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shy Guy,

Israel’s public spending is 46%. But Madagascar’s is 60%, and the UK, which is a G8 nation spends 40% of it’s GDP on public spending.

The UK is unique in that it has a National Health Service, and the welfare system which is why it's 40% when most other G8 nations spend around 22%.

Thus the 46% that Israel spends isn’t too extraodinary considering that the lowest country on that chart (Sudan) spends 7.5%

Look at this chart and spot the relevant anomaly:

The biggest expense is "debt" (money to pay past loans), more than the defence and welfare cost. But it doesn't say what those loans were used for.

Were they for defence?

I don't believe those loans were for the bloated bureaucratic costs you're talking about. How could they be?

Corruption maybe, i'd say to line the pockets of government Ministers, i'm inclined to believe.


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