Wednesday, October 29, 2003


The other looming issue is the possible general strike, which seems to be mainly the result of two powerful men who hate eachother being unable to sit down and talk like normal adults. The truth is that both Netanyahu and Peretz are badly overreaching and each is about to harm themselves and the country far worse than they intended when they began their pissing match. Netanyahu is trying to completely uproot and rebuild Israel's entire economy and Peretz is trying to turn back the clock to 1965 and make the Histadrut the all-powerful kingmaker of Israeli politics. Neither of them has the best interests of the country at heart. Israel needs liberalization in the economic sphere, but slashing welfare benefits to single mothers is not going to help anyone get a job. Why is Netanyahu cutting payouts to the needy and doing nothing about the fact that Israel's entire phone system is the hands of a single, inefficient, wasteful, unprofitable monopoly? The answer is that he's too blinded by ideology to understand that Israel's problem is one of competition and choice in the consumer sphere, not an encroaching welfare state. As for Peretz, he doesn't grasp the fact that the planned economy has been tried the world over and found wanting. The key is not to try and reconstruct a failed system that nearly drove the country to bankruptcy in the early 80's, but to find a way to interlock social needs with a market economy, which just happens to be the only economic system that can produce the type of wealth needed to meet the very social needs he's championing. In short, two very large egos are slamming into eachother at full speed and, as per usual, the Israeli people are going to be the one's getting hurt by the fallout. Lets hope PM Sharon figures Netanyahu has damaged himself to his satisfaction and steps in to mediate.


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