Why Israeli Children Live in Poverty: The Arab Spin
Arab World News has run an editorial from the Lebanese paper The Daily Star which asks the question Child poverty in the Jewish state: How did it happen?, including a picture of a somber looking child.
Could this be a sympathetic piece on Israel? This question is answered clearly in the very next paragraph.
Israel’s National Insurance Institute has just completed its annual study on poverty, and the results are startling. The report finds that almost one-third of Israeli children are growing up poor and that the number of under-privileged families has risen by 31,000 in the past year alone. According to the authors of the study, the Jewish state “is on the way to becoming the country with the highest poverty rate in the Western world.”
So according the editorial, what is the reason for child poverty in Israel?
Some will reflexively blame this alarming information on the intifada and note that in both relative and absolute terms, the suffering of Palestinian children is even worse. Such arguments are at least partly correct, but they are also entirely irrelevant. The pertinent issue is how the world’s most prolific recipient of foreign aid (approximately $500 a year for every man, woman and child) has managed to get itself in such a bind.
So according to the editorial, arab terrorism is not relevant when analyzing Israel’s dire economic predicament, while Israel’s necessary responses to terrorism are all that’s relevant.
So where is the money that might have kept more Israeli children from going hungry? Much of it has been used on subsidies to ensure that more Israeli children live in colonies on occupied Arab land. Where are the funds that might have provided better schools and more equitable access thereto? They are locked up in a grotesque wall ostensibly designed to protect Jews but actually situated to oppress Arabs. Where are the resources and activism of a state whose founders fancied themselves socialists? They are monopolized by a military establishment that squanders Israeli energy and creativity as thoughtlessly as it tramples Arabs rights and property.
It makes me wonder why many Arabs are so keen to get to paradise when they clearly already live in la-la land.