Israel: In War, Even the Winners are Losers

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#1 Sun, Sep 4, 2011 - 12:17pm
Joined: Aug 17, 2011

Israel: In War, Even the Winners are Losers

If anyone needed further proof that high weapons spending creates and propagates social problems, one need not look to the United States (the most preposterous example) or Great Britain. Look to Israel: a nation defined in the international spotlight by its commitment to war, weapons, and building walls as a means to solving disputes. The cost of the IDF amounts to almost 7% of Israeli GDP, far more than most other nations. Israel’s economy is bent toward weapons development: The IDF uses several technologies developed in Israel, many of them made specifically to match the IDF’s needs, such as the Merkava main battle tank, the Iron Dome, Trophy countermeasure, and the Galil and Tavor assault rifles. But — as we well know — spending on guns, bombs, walls and military technology is money, time and effort that is not spent on agriculture, energy, housing, medicine etc. From the Guardian:

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets on Saturday night in Israel’s biggest ever demonstration to demand social justice, a lower cost of living and a clear government response to the concerns of an increasingly squeezed middle class.

About 430,000 people took part in marches and rallies across the country, according to police. The biggest march was in Tel Aviv, where up to 300,000 took part. There was an unprecedented 50,000-strong protest in Jerusalem, and 40,000 marched in Haifa. There were smaller protests in dozens of other towns and cities.

No doubt, some will say that if Israel did not spend such high amounts then they would be destroyed by their neighbours. And some will say that no matter how much time, money, effort and energy Israel spends on diplomacy, and conflict resolution that this will never satisfy Hamas. But I think they fail to see the problem with Israel — Israel’s character as a majority-Jewish state is not only extremely fractious as a global and political regional issue, in that it deprives a large chunk of the population of Eretz Israel, namely the Palestinian Arabs, of citizenship. Israel’s character as a majority-Jewish state is extremely expensive, and deprives Israel’s Jewish and Arab residents of needed spending on social programs, infrastructure, energy, and agriculture.

And the same is true for Hamas and the Arab militant organisations — every gun, every bomb, every life lost is a step backward — both in terms of the reaction from Israel (sanctions, retaliation, checkpoints, curfews), and in terms of the wasted labour, capital and productivity.

And in some form or another, that is what you get when your economy is tilted toward warfare. It would be far more economical to end the war immediately by producing a one-state-solution, with a secular framework, equal rights for all citizens, and a free market economy. To stop the fighting and concentrate on development.

But that is ideologically untenable for leaders on both sides. So in the end, everyone — even the “winners” of the wars — loses.

Edited by: spiral_eyes on Nov 8, 2014 - 5:04am
Sun, Sep 4, 2011 - 1:05pm
Joined: Jun 14, 2011


Trying to Debate Israel in TFMetalsReport Forums: A Waste of Time That Only Creates Stress

“Politicians are like diapers; they need to be changed often and for the same reason.” ― Mark Twain
Sun, Sep 4, 2011 - 3:13pm
Joined: Aug 1, 2011

The growing power of "Russians" in Israel

Well, of course, there is our point of view, our military and financial support of Israel. And then, of course, there are other points of views. I have translated one article from Russian, published by Pravda. It was a quickie, so don't criticize some expressions of the grammar. No time for this. LOL

The growing power of the "Russians" in Israel
August 28, 2011

During nearly 70 years of the Soviet communist power, Jewish emigration was difficult. In the 1990s, when the "iron curtain" was finally lifted, the repatriation of Jews to Israel acquired a mass character. Today, according to official data,there are about half a million Jewish immigrants from Russia and the CIS registered in Israel. What is the role played by Russian immigrants in the country's political life? What they think about the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the "tent revolution" of poor Jews sweeping the country?

The history of Israel is replete with attempts to create communal and ethnic parties ("Immigrant list of Sephardic Jews," 1949, "Movement for the Jewish tradition" in the 1980s, and others). However, the Russian parties have appeared just recently.

One of the first parties that advocate on behalf of immigrants from Russia and the CIS in the second half of the 1990s, was established in 1995, "Israel Ba-Aliya" (IBA). It was founded on the initiative of Anatoly (Natan) Sharansky, who immigrated to Israel in mid-1980's ... An important milestone in his political activities was the establishment of the Zionist Forum. This public organization has been assisting Jews who have recently arrived from the USSR.

See also: Israel: "Tent Revolution" of poor Jews

Thanks to the success in the 1996 election, the IBA party representatives received two ministerial portfolios. When Ehud Barak was the Prime Minister at the end of 1990, Sharansky served as Minister of Interior. Because of the controversy concerning the status of Jerusalem, he resigned a year later. According to the plan, "Israel Ba-Aliyah" was to be the main "Russian party", but this did not happen.

In 1999, the party "Israel Our Home" (NDI) was founded, headed by Avigdor Lieberman, now occupying the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, and NDI gradually came to the fore. Lieberman strongly criticized Barak for his efforts to "deliver" the Golan Heights to Syria. This position greatly contributed to the increasing popularity of SRI, and not only among Russians, but also among native Israelis. Subsequently, the Lieberman's party managed to grab a solid niche in political life of Israel.

Recall that the political system of Israel is actually bipartisan: main rivals in the elections have always been right "Likud" and left "Labour Party". Despite populist statements by the leaders of "Russian" parties that promise immigrants additional support and more social welfare, among immigrants from Russia and the CIS are still many supporters of Israel's traditional parties. It is believed that in 2001, Ariel Sharon has managed to win a landslide victory in the elections thanks to the support of the "Russian street".

See also: Israel folded in the face of terrorism

For the vast majority of our immigrants it is the most important idea of Israel as a strong state capable to respond resolutely to any manifestation of terrorism. That is why Sharon and Netanyahu were very popular among Russian-speaking Jews who often neglected promises of the "left", which relied on an increase in salaries and the development of the social security system. "Russians" were not satisfied with standing territorial concessions offered by the leaders of the "Labor" party in exchange for peace with the Palestinians.

So, in fairness, I must admit that the victory of Ehud Barak in the 1999 elections and was hardly possible without the support of immigrants from the Soviet Union. Then the mood of voters reflected the weariness of the indolent Israeli society, the war in Lebanon, which has not ceased since 1982.

Barack in the late 1990s, finally offered to settle the conflict with Syria through negotiations based on the principle of "peace for land." In 2000, pulling Israeli troops out from Lebanon, which resulted from its policy, did not find understanding in the majority of Jews - immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

Today, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman continues to act in line with the hard-line Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke of the need to give an adequate response to surge in terrorist activity in the Gaza Strip. According to Lieberman, the responsibility for recent terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians lies with the Palestinian Authority, engaged in incitement against Israel and increased terrorism.

See also: War in Lebanon through the eyes of an Israeli soldier

In the current environment, Lieberman's views and comments on the Arab-Israeli conflict reflect the mood of the majority of Russian immigrants. It should be noted that the position of Minister in respect of the demonstrators involved in the so-called "tent Revolution" also was uncompromising: the latter refused to have a dialogue with them in Sderot, considering the protest as a slapstick comedy, hosted by the left.

Nevertheless, the preservation of unresolved social problems can cause an increase in anti-government sentiment in the "Russian street". It is not a coincidence that the "tent movement" is supported by representatives of some public organizations defending the interests of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, some of whom are veterans of Great Patriotic War [the WWII]. Thus, on the non-partisan association website "Hazit Ha Kavod" (For the worthy future), July 29, 2011, an announcement was posted, stating that the movement will take part in the demonstrations and provide the desired buses for transportation.

No matter what position will hold NIDs in the alignment of Israeli political forces, now there are all prerequisites for further strengthening the influence of the "Russian party" on key decisions in life. It should be noted that Israel as a nation has always been interested in the assimilation of immigrants who have lost, over the years of residence in their country of origin, the traditional Jewish culture.

In practice, the Russian-speaking Jews were very prone to consolidation, which causes concern to many native Israelis. The country is hard to find another such an influential party, as NDI, which would reflect the interests of certain ethnic and cultural groups.