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Israelis Want Out

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Many feel they reached their glass ceiling, said Professor Sergio Della Pergola. Advancing economically is most often mentioned. About 55% of respondents said so.

Whether or not they'll go, large numbers prefer living elsewhere. Potential emigres are center/left-of-center voters. They're largely aged 30 - 49. 

They're secular, salaried, and southern Israeli inhabitants. Many come from greater Tel Aviv. Survey research was completed before Pillar of Cloud.

At the same time, Israeli war winds blow constantly. Netanyahu and likeminded hardliners rail against "terrorists," Iran, and other invented enemies to stoke fear.

It wears thin. It's worrisome living in a modern-day Sparta. Still, few leave for ideological reasons. Economic/financial considerations take precedence. 

Neoliberal harshness imposes crushing burdens. Over time, things worsen. Last July, Haaretz headlined "Why Israelis will never attain Western living standards," saying:

Someone has to pay for defense. Netanyahu advanced inequality. It didn't begin with him. For decades, Israeli social spending lagged other developed countries.

In the past decade, the gap between rich and poor widened dramatically. The disease hits Americans hard. Reasons in both countries are similar. 

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Guns are prioritized over butter. Wealth, power and privilege most of all. Neoliberal harshness is policy. People needs get short shrift. 

Living standards in both countries rank lowest among OECD countries. They top the inequality scale. Unprecedented wealth disparity between rich and poor reflects it.

Israel ranks 29th among 36 countries on investment in education. It's third from last in health spending. It's 25th in overall quality of life, and dead last in responsible government administration.

Netanyahu claims smaller government, lower corporate/rich elite taxes, mass privatizations, eroding wages, and less social spending create economic growth. Inequality is a small price to pay, he claims.

Growing poverty and unmet needs suggest otherwise. Relief from intolerable conditions drives some to leave. Others go because better opportunities exist elsewhere.

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URU (Wake Up) cofounder Tomer Treves says "What's happening today in Israel recalls the process undergone by Jerusalem."

City life reflects "every possible conflict every day. Those who left the city over the years were people able to make a living, and the city grew poor. Without state funding, it would not be sustainable."

Treves calls today's reverse exodus "the moving of the capable." People leave "because of what became of the Zionist idea."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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