Israel: Rogue State Land of Inequality - by Stephen Lendman
Growing millions worldwide understand Israel's decades-long project to colonize Palestine, dispossess its people, steal their land, and terrorize them into submission. They also know it hasn't worked nor will it.
Too few, however, know how growing social and economic inequality affects most Israelis. Since at least the mid-1980s, state policies have disproportionately favored the rich, causing wealth disparities, unemployment, poverty, hunger, homelessness and gradual loss of social benefits.
A race to the bottom followed, notably since mass privatizations in the 1990s, placing profits about human needs as in America where only corporate and elitist interests matter.
As a result, recent studies show 1.77 million Israelis are poor in a population of 7.7 million (including Jews, Arabs and members of other faiths). About 850,000 children live in poverty. About 69% of them lack nutritional security. Around 75% of them miss meals, and 83% of them lack proper dental care. Some, in fact, beg for money or steal to eat.
Executive Director Eran Weintraub of the Tel-Aviv-based Latet humanitarian organization said poverty increased significantly in the last decade because of macroeconomic neoliberal policies. It shows up noticeably in housing because of sharply rising prices, making it unaffordable for many.
According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, average Tel-Aviv apartment prices doubled from 2007 - 2010. In Jerusalem, they increased by 60%. Rents also rose steeply, creating an intolerable burden for growing numbers of Israelis being priced out of a place to live.
No wonder they finally reacted, protesting for affordable housing for over two weeks in cities across Israel. What began as a Tel Aviv middle class protest mushroomed after being joined by the National Union of University Students and then others, turning small protests into huge ones.