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Ariel Sharon may be the number 1 bogeyman of the Arab world, but lately he is not too popular in Israel. Though chaos may reign in the Palestinian authority as disgruntled Fatah officials resign and rumors of yet more corruption surface, all is not tranquility and prosperity in Israel either. The onset of the Palestinian violence (so called "Intifada") and the world recession coincided to produce one of the worst economic crises in Israel's history.
The economic crisis was met at first by total indifference. Sharon considered it sufficient to blame the economy on the Intifada. Suicide bombings and IDF retaliation raids distracted the minds of most Israelis from the shrinking pocketbooks. However, after the appointment of former PM Benjamin Nethanyahu, the government policy changed to a war on poor people, rather than a war on poverty.
Israelis are for the most part strangely quiet. True, the Histadruth Labor union went on strike and took "job actions" that incovenienced and victimized most Israelis. But these strikes only gained concessions for people who already have jobs and find that their pensions or salaries are threatened. In the good old days, a recession of this magnitude would've produced burning tires and fiery speeches, accusing the Mapai party of old of discriminating against non-European Jews and no end of demagoguery. But this recession is the fault of the Likud-Herut party, which posed, ironically enough, as a friend of the poor. Indeed, Sharon must love poor people, as he has made so many of them.
Israelis may not be protesting much, but we are certainly disgusted with the government. 79% said that the government treats poor people savagely in a recent poll. 51% said they didn't trust Sharon, and 61% have no faith in Nethanyahu. 73% said Israeli society is coming apart, and 81% do not believe Nethanyahu's ludicrous claim that the recession has ended.
Aaron Lerner Date: 13 February 2004
The following are the results of a poll of a representative sample of 500
Is Ariel Sharon a trustworthy prime minister?
Is Binyamin Netanyahu a trustworthy treasury minister?
Netanyahu claims we are out of the recession. Do you agree with him?
Do you agree with the claim that Israel is in a condition of economic
Do you agree with the claim that Israeli society is breaking apart?
Should the price of standard bread be increased?
What impact do the policies of the government on social matters have on the
Does the policy of the government support the weak or treat them savagely?
Does Israeli society support the weak or is it savage to them?
Is Israeli society violent?
To what extent do you feel part of Israeli society?
Has you feeling towards Israeli society changed in the last two to three
Has there been a change in the feeling of solidarity and unity in Israeli
The stock market went up a lot in the last year. Did you profit from it?
Do you follow what is happening in the stock market?
What do you expect to happen to your economic situation in the coming year?
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