Perpetual poverty for part of the population should never be government policy

By Neville Berman

If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. The origin of this idiom is unknown, but the wisdom of it is self-evident. The latest Knesset budget has turned this idiom on its head.  Don’t learn to fish, but eat for life seems to be a new economic theory not practiced anywhere else in the world.  Any institution that denies a person the opportunity to become educated in a way that will allow the person to earn a living should not be entitled to receive public funding. The latest two-year budget passed by 64 members of the Knesset does the opposite. It steeply increases government handouts to institutions that deny their members the opportunity to learn English, science and math that will enable them to be gainfully employed. This  policy will cost billions of shekels and result in a section of Israeli society dependent on government handouts for generations. This is tragic. Perpetual poverty for part of the population should never be government policy. It is shameful and deceitful.

Budget Blues. Thousands in Jerusalem rallied against the budget and deals for ultra-Orthodox.

How did this come about? 

The truth is that the only way that Netanyahu could become Prime Minister was to agree to offer unprecedented amounts of public money to religious  political parties that were willing to support him. Blackmail, bribery, corruption and extortion were elevated to new heights.  Morality and ethics were abandoned. Netanyahu got what he wanted by offering staggering amounts of public money to those willing to support him if the price was high enough. This is a slippery downward slope that could develop into a chasm that will be incredibly difficult to get out of. The consequences of what happened with the passing of the budget has only just begun. The appointments of some Ministers can be compared to the appointment of a pyromaniac as head of the fire department. It cannot have a happy ending.

Beyond Judicial. Protesters accused the government of looting state coffers to meet demands from Haredi politicians, at demonstration in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 23, 2023.organized by the same activists behind anti-judicial overhaul campaign.

The real problem is that the small political parties that are part of the coalition have become drunk on the concept that they now control the government and can do whatever they want. What they want is to be able to rule without any oversight by the judiciary. It is called dictatorship.

You have been warned.

A Ticking Time Bomb. How will the unemployment rates within the Haredi community impact Israel’s future.(photo credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

About the Author:

Accountant Neville Berman had an illustrious sporting career in South Africa, being twice awarded the South African State Presidents Award for Sport and was a three times winner of the South African Maccabi Sportsman of the Year Award.  In 1978 he immigrated to the USA  to coach the United States men’s field hockey team, whereafter, in 1981 he immigrated to Israel where he practiced as an accountant and then for 20 years was the Admin Manager at the American International School in Even Yehuda, Israel.  He is married with two children and one granddaughter.

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