Beyond the Cusp

September 7, 2011

Israel and the Student Driven Tent Protests

From a combination of steep cost of living and a slowly growing economy, the student tent protests were born seemingly spawned directly from the cottage cheese protests. The tents have largely been packed up with the start of school, but the core of leadership is determined to continue with even a remnant of the protesters until their demands are met and, quoting one protester as best I can recall, we will continue until the welfare state has been resurrected from the remains that the government destroyed. This sounds so wonderfully social, dangerously like the social in socialism that has likely completely destroyed Europe and is on the verge of critically damaging the United States but in Israel their economy has avoided the terrors striking much of the world’s economies of late due to government guiding their economy slowly away from its socialist past. But, these young people are demanding that the something for nothing past with communal shared sacrifice for the good of the whole be revived. Never mind that Israel has one of the healthiest economies and has been growing steadily for quite some time, these students know what is needed even before they have tasted the realities of life after college.

The often heard complaint from many protesters is that the government is simply not responding to their demands and they refuse to be ignored. They point out that they have learned how Israel once was so communal and socialist and perfect but the Netanyahu government and the right has destroyed the great social wonderfulness of Israel. But the economic truth shows a different picture where the gains made economically by the moves away from government owned industries by Netanyahu when he was Treasury Minister under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon selling off government run operations which, by the nature of such moves to private enterprise from a central government run economy, made those making the winning bids becoming excessively wealthy while also raising the sum wealth of Israeli society. Such changes often take some time to even out, especially in a country as small as Israel where in many industries there will usually be one company holding a near monopoly, and with a little more patience the Israeli economy will spawn challengers to today’s temporary leading companies as more people start companies and competition makes its inevitable adjustments which also will act to moderate and equalize the wealth. But students being fed a steady diet of the wonderfulness of social inclusiveness that result from the implementation of a socialist economy where the state spreads the wealth are not exactly the people with the kind of experience one needs to run a real and functional society. They have not yet entered the real world outside of college where many of these very same college students will become members of the wealthy class and many will probably have their love of socialism severely tested.

In a final analysis it is necessary to inspect one other claim being made by the protest leaders, namely that their protest gathered over a million Israelis. This is an interesting claim as they are adding the inflated estimates from an enchanted press, which lavished these protests with meaning and numbers well beyond belief, using totals from five Saturdays of events. Even the most liberal estimates these Saturday extravaganzas never reached a million participants no matter how many leading name bands who performed for free. Honestly, do they really want us to believe that those crowds of youth, many even younger than college age, who gathered at the end of the summer in a place where free bands were performing, attended the event simply for political reasons? Please, give me a break. These students demand that the Knesset and the Prime Minister who were elected by the entirety of Israelis and have a commanding coalition must be forced to live up to and meet the demands of college students because they know more than the rest of the country combined electoral representation. Polls taken as the end of summer was closing in has shown that should new elections be held today, the Israeli electorate would increase the size of the Parties in the coalition as well as the far leftist parties while the one Party, Kadima, who were the most connected and attempted to identify and gain from the summer protests would pay for that support by losing as much as ten seats. Well, so much for the student revolt being the most popular thing going. Perhaps the students should go back to class and when they have the experience of real life and have actually been elected to run the country, then they can decide how to run the country and make their dreams come to fruition. Of course that will depend on their ideas not being changed by that most cruel of teachers, experience. It will also depend exclusively on their ideas being acceptable to the electorate and not just the north side of Tel Aviv.

Beyond the Cusp

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