Has Riki Cohen Emerged From Poverty?

The government has stolen the futures of one-and-a-half million children; who will pray for the salvation of these kidnapping victims?

Nir Kafri

I promise you, poor girl, that this will be the last commission. What “useful idiot” would agree from here on to corrupt good intentions in order to buy time and headlines, who would agree to sit in Alaluf or Trajtenberg’s chair and sell paupers for shoes, who would agree to chair a commission that will crash before it gets off the ground?

What kind of country is this? That which inflicts fathers’ poverty on sons, that which tells its daughters where they are from – ethnicity, birthplace and school – and tells them where they’ll end up: you, your brothers and your sisters.

What “new politics?” If in the past they lingered in purgatory before reaching the next world, now they spread the ashes of the burned reports in the wind, and forego long, dusty shelf lives for them. They add another billion shekels to the defense budget without batting an eyelash, but the evil eye and sorrows of the poor are important to voters too, dead or captive.

For you, you unlucky ones, there is no money left at the moment. Sorry. The government has stolen the futures of one-and-a-half million children, as it rides on the backs of the “middle class.” Who will pray for the salvation of these kidnapping victims, and who will find the treasure buried somewhere between Itamar and Yitzhar?

But our confused education minister, who also hails from the Lapid camp, won’t be confused by the facts; he’ll keep on rattling on about a “model society.” Shay Piron has his own procedure for making decisions. His colleague, Meir Cohen, appoints a commission just to trash it later, but Piron, on the other hand, makes his decision and then appoints a commission to investigate the issue.

First he crowds the classrooms ad nauseam, then he appoints an “office staff to examine the issue and suggest a solution to the overcrowded classrooms problem.” This week it was reported that “the Education Ministry is cutting back medical services for special-education students,” and later that it is “currently discussing opposition to subjects included in the announcement.”

Never has Israel seen such an education minister, one whose made so many reforms in such a short time. He’s made reform after reform – from matriculation exams to standardized tests measuring schools’ performance, subject material, vacation time, fees for parents and employing non-union teachers. But in each case, they’re putting the empty cart in front of the horses – and if there are any teachers or principals out there who have any idea what’s actually being asked of them, please get in touch and update us.

The poor will continue to wallow in their dismal reality, as if their hardship is guaranteeing a new dawn for the middle class, for which this government was made and meant to cater to. The lines are still open, and we’d love to hear from citizens from Hadera or Gedera who’d like to report on improvements in their living situation. We’re especially interested in hearing from Riki, to hear how she’s doing. Perhaps she’d like to thank Lapid for her new apartment and the low-cost coffee that will come around 2017, let alone “equality in sharing the burden,” which Mr. Cohen, her husband, continues to shoulder by himself, without any Gemara-studying partner.

The middle class cannot, nor does it want, to be built up at the expense of those underneath it. Where does poverty spread to, if not the “upper lower middle class?” It doesn’t spread to those fattened few who feed off the land, which in turn feeds off the rest of the population.

“Poverty damages Israel’s national security,” says the commission, after it finishes its pointless work. Did we hear that right? Did you say, “security?” Wow, now that’s serious. If that’s the case, then why won’t Lapid and Netanyahu divert a few billions from the satiated security budget to the hungry security budget, in order to shore us up on that front?

“The poverty commission’s recommendations are unrealistic,” declares the Finance Ministry, and it knows. Though it’s not totally clear who is more unrealistic, nor is it clear what kind of reality they’re talking about – that of the Finance Ministry, or that of bread for the poor.