How do you divert attention from bad economic indicators? You announce the building of more settlements. This seems to be Netanyahu’s strategy for the period leading up to the upcoming Israeli elections.
The numbers really do not look good.
According to Israel’s 2012 Social Resilience Index:
“Only one in four Israelis feels the country is providing a bright future for their children; and one in three reports that their household income allows just a minimal standard of living”.
The report goes on to say:
“The economical capabilities index indicated a drop in the quality of life, with 57% stating that their household income allows only a minimal standard of living, a rise in 13% compared to the results noted in 2011.”
Note the 13% rise from last year.
It gets worst.
According to a new report by the Israel National Council for Children, Israel is number one when it comes to child poverty rates in the OECD.
905,000 Israeli children (35%) live in poverty.
Netanyahu did not invent poverty, however the situation under his government has not improved, to say the least. In fact according to the 2012 Social Resilience Index the situation has been getting worse under his administration. Meanwhile the publication of the child poverty report before the elections about rising poverty rates among children is also another negative development for him.
Although there are some positive reports about Israel’s growing economy, the recent reports show that the benefits of the economy are not trickling down to the public.
In my opinion, this is one of the reasons why Netanyahu will continue to keep the settlements issue in the headlines, for as long as possible, even if it means falling out with the EU or the US. The more settlement expansions are discussed and the more news they generate, the less attention will be paid to the worsening economic situation in Israel.
So dear fellow Israeli compatriots: expect more settlements and more poverty because under Netanyahu, we have been getting more of both.