Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's all in the dough...

Now that the disengagement is behind us, it seems that the Israeli government has returned to its previous routine of devising ways to screw the weaker sectors of society, while rewarding those situations are somewhat less precarious.

As of today, the price for a loaf of bread will rise by 6.57 percent. According to an article on the Haaretz website, the primary reason given for this increase is that gasoline costs have recently risen by 131 percent. Huh? Excuse me? I could understand if the rise in bread prices was due to rising costs of flour, which I believe may have been the reason given behind previous increases (please correct me if I'm wrong, my mind is a bit hazy this morning), but to connect it to the rising cost of gasoline sounds absurd, especially in light of the fact that the same article mentions that also as of today, the petrol prices decrease by 10%. I'm sure those individuals who can barely afford to buy bread at current prices, let alone own a car, will be thrilled to know that while a loaf of fresh bread may now be beyond their means, a liter of gasoline is now within their grasp. Kudos to the government for this savvy little agreement!

And, for some of those struggling to buy bread, the folks over at the Finance Ministry have decided give them yet another kick in the teeth by not allowing the Israel Association of Community Centers to run its successful enrichment programs for some 5000 disadvantaged children, many of whom are immigrants.

The article states,

"Suspending the supplementary study program, known by its Hebrew acronym PELE, is another attempt by the treasury's Yaron Zelekha to issue tenders for all IACC programs - a move that will lead to its privatization. Zelekha claims the IACC
is a monopoly that undermines free competition. The IACC warns that privatizing it would deal a severe blow to the populations it serves, including new immigrants, people with disabilities and the elderly."

Once again the government is playing games with the lives of Israel's disadvantaged, and this act is a particularly vicious blow, as it targets the children. To curtail activities aimed at lifting these young individuals out of poverty and giving them tools to succeed, the government is doing nothing but perpetuating this devastating cycle and denying these children the chance to eventually become successful, productive members of society, instead simply leaving them to languish in their disadvantaged, difficult lives, with little hope for improvement. What makes this issue even more tragic is that the primary beneficiaries of these programs are the children of immigrants, who carry the additional baggage of cultural differences and difficulties assimilating into Israeli society. Instead of doing all it can to help these children feel Israeli, the government has essentially chosen to play games.

When trying to save children, every moment is precious. To squander an opportunity is to negatively affect the future of our children - in effect, endanger our future as a country. When will the government learn that it cannot continue to allow the weak sectors to become even weaker, while the rich become even stronger? We are a tragedy in the making, and if the government continues in this direction, we shall become our own greatest enemy.


ontheface said...

You took the outraged words right out of my mouth. I read the same articles over my morning coffee, and said almost the same things to the friend who joined me. How I wish that people were as outraged by the government's policies against the poor and disadvantaged, as they are after each terrorist attack. How I wish that a protest demonstration would fill Rabin Square with a number of people even half as large as that which came to celebrate Maccabi Elite's Euroleague championship last year.

Cathy said...

This wonderful post (rising flour LOL) and your fabulous in-love-with TA post made me think again of my crucial life-defining decision to live in London not Tel Aviv. This post is a good indication of why I chose to not live in Israel. Your previous post makes me homesick for TA...I suppose I will just have to visit again soon.

amechad said...

uh yo. things get to your supermarket by truck. Truck uses gas. Hence high gas prices raise the cost of your food at the supermarket because it raises the cost of delivering the food. hence, gas prices up, food prices up.

Of course even better would be the market controlling the prices and not the government. Long term best for everyone.