Perhaps it was because Jodi Rudoren had the day off on Monday that Paul Krugman took up her usual cudgel and declared that “Israel does less to lift people out of poverty than any other advanced country - yes, even less than the U.S.” (Israel’s Gilded Cage, NYT, 3/16).
Here are some facts to consider before you accept Mr. Krugman’s biased tirade, designed to take a final jab at Prime Minister Netanyahu right before the election. According to the UN”s Human Development Index, Israel ranks 19th among 187 world nations - just shy of the top 10% - for standard of living, with one of the highest life expectancies at birth.
Israel provides compulsory health care that is competitive with the best of first world countries and is one of the leading innovators in the fields of medicine, bio-technology and scientific research. In the 67 years since its establishment as a state by the United Nations, Israel has absorbed and assimilated over 3 million immigrants from 90 different countries spanning the globe and has managed to achieve a literacy rate of 97%. Military service is mandatory for all immigrants of the appropriate age - another guarantee that they will learn the language and achieve fluency in it.
In the same time frame, approximately 650,000 displaced (or fleeing) Palestinians have grown into millions and been forced to remain permanently unsettled, totally supported by the charity of the UN, the US and other European and middle-eastern countries. Efforts by Israel to build permanent housing for them were repeatedly rebuffed by their own leaders who preferred to use them as political pawns. At the time that Israel left Gaza, all the greenhouses that accounted for highly successful agricultural businesses were left intact so that Palestinians would have an immediate source of lucrative income; these were destroyed by Hamas whose main incentive is building rockets and tunnels, not improving the standard of living of its population. Considering the part of the world that Israel inhabits and the number of wars it has been forced to defend against, its achievements in such a short time have been breathtaking and unrivaled. Its social problems will be addressed by whichever party gets elected whereas the majority of all Muslim nations will remain among the most backward of the civilized world. Since they are the source of most of the world’s wars, human trafficking, child abuse, enslavement of women, murder of people of other faiths, suicide bombing and terrorism in other countries as well as their own, it can ony be considered extreme perversion for Krugman to worry about Israel’s “income disparity and extreme inequality.” Faced with the threat of Iran, ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and all the other splinter groups that exist in the demonic Muslim arena and in an increasingly anti-Semitic world, Israel will need all the strength it can muster to keep on trucking and have the luxury to fine-tune whatever collateral damage results from hard work, talent, determination and courage leading to enormous economic progress and success.
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here