When the social justice protests were at their height last summer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to create a special fund to help young couples who could not afford to buy or rent a modest apartment. At the same time, he stressed how important it was not to increase the overall budget, thus ensuring that Israel would not succumb to an American- or European-style financial crisis.
Lo and behold, on Sunday the cabinet miraculously found more than NIS 53 million to solve the housing problems of 48 families and a single woman - more than NIS 1 million per family. That is the price Israel's citizens, including the rent victims who camped in tents on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, will have to pay in hush money to residents of the Migron settlement outpost, which was built illegally on privately-owned Palestinian land.
Under the plan approved by the cabinet to appease the criminals and their patrons in the cabinet and Knesset, Migron residents will move to a temporary site to be built with public funds until their new, permanent houses are ready. Then they will be able to choose between two different settlements as the site of their permanent houses, with the necessary infrastructure being paid for by the same source.
The government is thereby establishing a warped moral standard: It is shielding an entire community from the decisions of the Supreme Court and presenting the bill to the general, law-abiding public.
Even though the settlers constitute only a tiny minority of the electorate, they have expanded their representation in Likud party institutions in recent years, thereby gaining greater influence over Likud ministers and Knesset members. They understood that this was the most effective way to implement their ideology and advance their economic interests.
The right-wing government's decision to allocate this scandalous sum to those evicted from Migron stinks of corrupt election economics. Unfortunately, that's the price Israeli society pays for the country's political apathy.
Therefore, the time has come for the masses who shouted for social justice in the streets of Tel Aviv, Sderot and other cities last summer to translate their struggle into the language of politics. That is the only way to prevent such a corrupt division of wealth and achieve social justice for all.
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