Social Justice Advocates in Israel Have No One to Vote For

Those Israelis who believe in a free economy, competition, privatization, a restrained budget and low taxes, and also in evacuating the settlements and the two-state solution, have no one to vote for.

Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler
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Labor Party candidates celebrate the primary results, January 14, 2014.
Labor Party candidates celebrate the primary results, January 14, 2014.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler

It’s true that it’s a slate of young people, with quite a number of women, who care about the cost of living, the social gaps and poverty, but that’s exactly where the problem lies.

Shelly Yacimovich, Stav Shaffir, Itzik Shmuli, Merav Michaeli, Miki Rosenthal, Michal Biran and Yossi Yonah – who won the Labor primaries – are badly mistaken. Their path does not lead to a better social future, but just the opposite. Nor are they social democrats, as they style themselves – they are neo-socialists (and even Marxists) who believe that the government knows better than its citizens what do with the money. That’s why it should increase expenditures, raise taxes and not be concerned about a large budget deficit.

This is a large group (of which I have mentioned only a part) that is in favor of nationalization and against privatization. This is a group that is opposed to the private sector, industrialists and merchants. As far as they’re concerned, these are “pigs” who want to profit, in other words, to do bad things.

They support the large workers’ committees, from the ports to the Israel Electric Corporation. Although they talk about the cost of living, they are opposed to lowering customs fees, which will make it impossible to ever lower prices. They are in favor of distributing fish rather than fishing rods.

If they achieve power, they will lead the economy backwards, to days of crisis, stagnation and unemployment. If they are the ones making the decisions, they will be responsible for an increase in the cost of living and in social disparities, as well as profound poverty – see, for example, the miserable situation in Venezuela, which is actually carrying out their philosophy.

Although they are convinced that they are “socially oriented,” genuine social concern is precisely the opposite of what they are. Genuine social concern believes in a restrained budget, a low deficit and the streamlining of the civil service, so that we won’t slide into a debt crisis like that of Greece and Spain, which is reflected in terrible unemployment – the worst social malady.

A genuine socially oriented party rejects a tax increase because it leads to a decline in investments, and to recession and unemployment. It believes in lowering customs duties, removing trade barriers and opening the economy to competition, and considers it the best way to lower prices and actually increase the standard of living of the weaker classes.

A real socially oriented party favors free enterprise and encouragement of the private sector, because it is the source of growth and employment. It supports reforms in the public sector and privatization, because the government doesn’t know how to conduct business. It prefers to encourage joining the work force by means of professional training courses and by subsidizing day-care centers and public transportation (distributing fishing rods) rather than increasing allowances (distributing fish).

It fights against both public and private monopolies. It wants to dismantle the Israel Electric Company and the seaports, as well as the bank cartel and the large food corporations. It strongly opposes the exorbitant salaries at the top, and fights special interests.

It believes that genuine social justice lies in a free and competitive market economy, which enables growth, an improvement in the standard of living and a generous allocation of resources to the weak, ill and elderly.

The problem is that it is precisely those people from the Labor Party who believe in the correct diplomatic solution: “two states for two peoples.” That is the only solution that can save us from the nightmare espoused by the right: “a state of all its citizens.” It is also the only humane and socially just solution.

In that case, for whom will a citizen vote if on the one hand he believes in a free economy, competition, privatization, a restrained budget and low taxes, but on the other hand also believes in evacuating the settlements and the two-state solution?

Such a citizen has no party. He is destined to wrestle with the question as to what is more important: the economy and social issues or the chance for peace and calm.

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