Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where is Israel's Middle Class?

One of the Israeli media's favorite government slams these days is "the tent-housing protests are proof that Israel's middle class is disappearing." For those of your not in Israel, the "tent" protests are the number one news item, as the media does all it can to pump up the story against the government.

I heard an interview on IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal) the other day, where foreign press reporters were being asked why the tent story wasn't huge news around the globe.

So I started looking, where is Israel's middle class?

Many of them have run away this summer -- over 2.83 million people have arrived or departed through Israel's Ben-Gurion airport...and today (Thursday) is expected to be the most conjested of the entire summer -- 61,190 people on 373 flights. (ynet)

Maybe the middle class is swamping the malls of Israel, which are full to capacity of wall to wall buyers and spendors.

Perhaps they are filling the cafe's of Tel Aviv, which are bustling with customers throughout the day.

So who has time for the "tent" protests? Don't these people work at all? If they are the "middle class", why aren't they working?

Yet the real problem is lurking just around the corner.

If the housing market bubble tanks as quickly as the tent protestors are demanding, we may find ourselves with a sub-prime catastrophe on the level of the United States. Too many "middle class" Israelis have all jumped on the band-wagon over the past decade, purchasing second and third apartments -- all financed via mortgages for the sake of investment. After all, "how could it go wrong" -- rental prices cover the high mortgage (since rental will "always" rise) and in the worst case, the apartment could be sold...

Well, the "worst case" could be a huge drop in the housing market, causing all those investment apartments to lose value, lose their rental value, and the middle class investors will find themselves with high mortgage payments and no way to cover them. As they start defaulting on mortgages, the banks won't even be able to recoup their loss by selling the real estate, since its value has also plummeted.

Banks will start losing money at a phenomenal rate, and that affects the more solid investments of the middle class...our pensions.

So where is the middle class? On vacation, eating out, or working. The one place you won't find them is at the tent protests.

Those are staffed by the New Israel Fund and political hacks trying to bring down the government...

Don't believe me? Check out who is hiding in the tents...(sorry, for now the video is only in Hebrew)

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realRightWinger said...

looking thru the newspaper clippings etc - I found it interesting that I didn't see any kippot walking around - its all Tel Aviv types - complaining about me, me and me. (Not that I want to turn this into a religeous/secular point)
I too think we pay too much taxes, that prices of food, gas, electricity, water etc are too high - but I don't see politicized tent city protests as the solution. IMHO the only solutions to the price problem - is boycotts and open competition (like the cottage cheese boycott).
Also, regarding rent and housing prices - I believe that the prices are all sky high here, because of all the jewish foreign investors that bought properties when the interest rates dropped abroad - and they wanted somewhere to protect their savings. I believe that once USA and Europe begin raising their interest rates again - you will see investors selling and house prices begin to drop.

Anonymous said...

I'm "middle class" according to the definition, I can't afford to leave on vacation, or buy an apartment. I would join the revolution but I need a babysitter.

House prices here are insane.

Why involve the new israel fund? (You're beginning to sound like Cheney) next are you going to blame aliens, or the mossad? What is stopping you from acknowledging that the young protesters may have a point? Sure, there are plenty of young left-wingers in the mix, getting excited by being part of what they see is a revolution, but why do you feel the need to put them down? Some ahavat yisrael would be preferable. Religious middle class people can't afford housing either... or cottage cheese... or similar... (is that the nif too???)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I find it disturbing to say the least that when far greater demonstrations were held, (lets say, when people were demonstrating against Olso), then the demonstrations were poo-poohed by the government, castigated as propellers and ballbearings by the Prime Minister -- the media didn't seem to care.

250,000+ people would show up to demonstrations against the eviction from Gush Katif (also a social welfare issue), but no one seemed to care then. Its all about "me" -- the "me generation". If it doesnt affect me, then who cares. Gush Katif? The people demonstrating didnt live in Gush Katif -- they were doing that for others. (Only 8000 people lived there). This demonstration funded and organized by NIF anti-government activists...and as long as NIF has anything to do with this protest, I cannot in good consciousness support it.

(Of course, under Kadima and Labor, Israel was fantastic! There was zero inflation, cottage cheese was cheap, homes were free, and of course, there were no security issues).

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