Manuel Trajtenberg conducted an extensive inquiry into Israel’s economy and made recommendations on how to reduce the retrenched inequality and growing plutocracy in Israeli society.
Prior to last August, according to Trajtenberg, the country’s “left-right divide” referred to how one viewed the Palestinian conflict. “Last summer, for the first time,” he said, “social and economic issues prevailed over the conflict.”
I have made this point a number of times, but not yet on this blog (I think). I dislike the “left” and “right” labels at the best of times, but Israel is really an anomaly in the way its parties are labelled. If we ignore anything involve Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims, Yisrael Beitenu are not exactly a far right party, but more of a leftist/authoritarian party. Similarly, Kadima do not exactly represent the left on most issues, yet their stance on the Palestinians puts them there insofar as Israel is concerned.
The Israeli debate is completely skewed by — and solely focussed on — the conflict. This means that Israel is essentially running a 1960s-style protectionist welfare state while Israelis do not even realise why all their institutions are so corrupt, their salaries are so low and wealth is so concentrated.
Ironically, the person who was turning that around was Finance Minister Bibi Netanyahu, right up to the time Sharon split from Likkud to form Kadima. Now, Bibi can’t get any serious economic reforms through cabinet because the other parties in his coalition keep blocking them. Perhaps with Mofaz leading Kadima and Bibi set to win the next election in a landslide, he may finally get a mandate next year to start running the country rather than tread water while he negotiates with idiots like Lieberman.