Three comments on Israeli society
Israel has welcomed in the Jewish New Year. The Ramadan season is well behind us. Thousands of Christian pilgrims are returning home after celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. The country is returning to its usual rushed normality, but what does it find itself?
I present here 3 comments on current society; 2 not so positive and one very encouraging.
1) A recent OECD report notes that for the years 2004 – 2006, Israel has one of the highest poverty rates in the West. 24.5%. For those who denounce Israel because of the poverty of the Palestinians, these stats must come as a complete surprise.
Over a quarter are pensioners. However, 34% of children are in these figures, and this is the core issue. the country has two blocks of very large families; the Arabs and ultra-orthodox. In both cases, it is rare for the mother to work. Both benefit from large state payouts. And the result is the disasterous stats as shown here.
2) In startling contrast, a report from the UN reveals that Israel has one of the largest gaps in wages in the world. In other words, the difference in earnings between the top and bottom percentiles are highly exaggerated.
3) If the above figures point to a national divide, it is encouraging to read about a positive trend in the army. It appears that nearly half of all graduates of the officer’s course now come from the religious community. Up to a decade ago, such a high number would have been unthinkable.
It is even more encouraging when you consider how disappointed, if not disgusted, this part of the population has been with the Israeli government’s policy towards disengagement from Gaza and other similar issues. A small section of leading rabbis have even called for soldiers to boycott specific orders.
It is the new generation, which is responding to the challenges by ensuring that they are a part of the people and not separate from the rest. It is this type of nationbuilding which so many of Israel’s political and economic leaders have been lacking in recent decades.
As an example of one such family, I refer you to http://www.israelisoldiersmother.blogspot.comExplore posts in the same categories: Israel
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