I recently met social protest leader Daphni Leef and asked whether she was aware of the mistake she'd made when she called Shas leader Eli Yishai "a real man!" The quote came in the middle of last summer's social protests, her remark sparked by Yishai voicing his objection to the Trajtenberg report. To Leef's credit, I must say she didn't try to evade my question. Instead, matter-of-factly, she said, "That was my biggest mistake."
Today Leef is well aware that it is not possible to give everything to everyone. Today she knows that, in economics, there is no such thing as "both this and that." Instead, there is "either this or that." Either Yishai will get it, or the middle class will. It's impossible to give to all. Because economics is a theory of limitations. The budget is always limited and the needs are many.
Leef understands that now, better than anyone else. Because, after all, she began the social protest against the backdrop of the housing crisis, and now she sees how Yishai ("the real man" ) and Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias (the trickster ) are making fun of her. Their criteria for distributing subsidized housing ensure that she and her friends don't stand a chance of getting a foot in the door.
The social protest forced Atias to be creative. He couldn't carry on distributing subsidized housing in the same way as before - according to the number of children. Therefore, he invented a substitute: the duration of a couple's marriage. This is an artificial criterion which in no way contributes toward the state. It is a criterion that is not mentioned at all in the Trajtenberg report, but Atias knows that the ultra-Orthodox get married at a young age (the average is 19 ) and therefore they have a big advantage with respect to the length of marriage.
That is why Atias decided to allocate seven points to the happy couple for every year of marriage, until a maximum of 70 points. On the other hand, for military service by both members of a couple, as well as for reserve duty, he allocated 30 points. So it is clear who has the advantage.
To ensure that there be absolutely no doubt that most of the subsidized housing should go to the ultra-Orthodox, Atias stipulated that 30 percent of the apartments must go to families with two children and 45 percent to families with three children or more. Because Atias knows that by the age of 22 or 23, Haredi couples often have three children, while members of the secular sector have not even begun to dream of getting married. And in order for the victory to be complete, he even stipulated that the 30 points for military service also go to people doing national (i.e. nonmilitary ) service.
This is the greatest deception of all. Because national service entails serving four (! ) hours per day for two years. And for this "service," an ultra-Orthodox person receives a higher payment than a soldier who serves in the Israel Defense Forces and who risks his life 24 hours a day.
It must also be understood that the entire national service in the Haredi community is simply one big fiction. After all, there is no one capable of going into Bnei Brak or Mea She'arim to check whether they are indeed serving those four miserable hours and what they are doing during that time. The mechanism is an internal Haredi one, and therefore it amounts to yet another way to transfer hundreds of millions of shekels from the taxpaying public to the pockets of the ultra-Orthodox.
In spite of the Trajtenberg recommendations, Atias has refrained from including within the formula the criterion of "using earning ability to the full." This is the most just of all the criteria, but it harms parasites who do not work and who even educate their children contrary to a Jewish education - because Jews always saw a working life as a supreme moral obligation, as one can learn from Maimonides.
Atias' criteria make a mockery of social justice. Because social justice means a positive correlation between what you give to the state and what you get from it. But on the housing issue, the less you give, the more you'll get.
Atias has been given the backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on this anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist injustice. They are convinced that this time, they will also succeed in duping the secular majority.
But this time they are mistaken. Because the secular public - who serve in the army, who work hard, who pay taxes, who carry the parasites on their backs - understand that they have pulled the wool over their eyes on the housing issue as well. And this injustice will lead to a renewed outbreak of protests - at precisely the least suitable time for Netanyahu and Steinitz.
The two of them do not understand that, meanwhile, Daphni Leef has grown up, and so has the entire public. They do not identify the noise that is coming up from the depths, the boiling lava that is about to burst forth - exactly on election day.
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