ELECTIONS OF 9 APRIL 2019

Influence of the Israeli electoral system on social policy and the basic principles of Zionism

Elections of 9 April 2019

Didier BERTIN - February 22, 2019

The erosion of the Labor Party gradually replaced by the Likud-as dominating Party and the long-standing presence of Benyamin Netanyahu in various governments has gradually changed the nature of the State of Israel in which the priority has become the economic success of a few at the expense of most others. This development was also the result of the fear maintained in Israel by many Arab countries and terrorist organizations which have oriented the choice of voters in priority for security policy setting aside a fair growth of purchasing power for everyone and the policy of solidarity and Social Protection. Security dominance has indeed allowed the Likud to insidiously introduce its economic doctrine consisting of a substantial regression of social policy and thus of the principle of solidarity on which Israel was founded in order to give the Jewish people the means to end in exile in which they have to face incessant manifestations of hatred. Given the current strong resurgence of anti-Jewish aggression in the Diaspora, we must remember that Jewish history, including that of Judaeophobia (anti-Semitism), creates an inseparable link between Jews and Israel, which makes anti-Zionism judeophobic (anti-Semitic). ). Judaeophobia or anti-Judaism or hatred of the Jews are the terms that are clearly appropriate for what is now called "anti-Semitism" and which refers to the racist and pseudo-scientific theories of the nineteenth century.

What remains of the principle of solidarity in Israel is primarily the duty to serve the nation militarily with no hope for a fair benevolence in return towards all citizens including minorities who adhere to the Zionist ideal. The weakening of social policy, the excessive practice of high prices for current consumption and above all the extreme real Estate  speculation at the base of an unbelievable rise in the price of housing affect most citizens, and in particular first-time buyers and new emigrants who come to seek refuge in Israel. The reception of Jewish refugees is, however, the primary mission of Israel.

GDP growth (gross domestic product) without solidarity would induce a deficit of soul and identity that cannot continue to increase without questioning "this time from the inside" the security of Israel. Making Israel a hunting ground for a few "business winners" is not even applied in many other OECD countries that have not inherited a history as painful as that of Judaism and principles of solidarity of Zionism. The loss of identity resulting from the high priority given to entrepreneurial success is therefore also a security risk. It is indeed the loss of identity that once led to the disappearance of the Kingdom of Israel. The fundamentals of the economy implacably reflect this reality, which must be taken into account on the eve of the next elections. Soon off-shore gas deposits will produce income whose effect must be equitably profitable for all citizens.

 

I- THE REALITY OF THE FIGURES

1 GDP

In 2017 GDP reached $ 350.7 billion or $ 40,310 per capita, but in purchasing power parity (reference United States) this figure is reduced to $ 317.1 trillion or $ 36,448 per capita due to high prices consumption in Israel as result of an insufficient competition. This insufficient competition favors neither the purchasing power nor the productivity of the companies but it allows the easy constitution of personal fortunes for few people. The amputation of GDP is thus (-) 9.7% or $ 33.6 billion i.e. $ 3 862 per capita and per annum which is very important. This amputation of purchasing power for the benefit of a minority of citizens is also reflected by the unacceptable level of the Gini index, which measures the distribution of income, and which lies between those of Angola and Chad.

In France and Germany, where the distribution system and the competition perform well, the GDP in purchasing power parity is higher than the nominal GDP by respectively (+) 10.35% and (+) 13.5%.

If the market economy were organized as in France or Germany the purchasing power in Israel would be more than 20% higher than it is today and the GDP of 2017 would amount to $ 385 billion dollars in purchasing power parity instead of only $317 billion. The penalty due to the economic mismanagement of the government is therefore about $ 68 billion i.e. $ 7,800 per capita per annum. The main causes are therefore insufficient competition and productivity as compared to those of OECD countries, especially in the areas of distribution, construction, transport and banks. For example, hourly labor productivity in 2016 was $ 35 in Israel, compared with 60 in France and 47 in the OECD.

The price of real estate has increased by 90% since 2008 under the combined effect of low interest rates, insufficient supply and of an "inefficient" government intervention in a crucial sector for the population. The OECD or Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development brings together economists from 36 countries, in principle democratic and developed, comprising 26 European countries, the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, Israel and a few others.

2-Compulsory levies and social policy in Israel

The feeling of paying heavy taxes is not generally reflected in the figures since income tax revenues represented only 11.6% of GDP in 2017, which corresponds to the rates generally applied in the OECD and is even lower than of the United States which amounts to 12.4%. It is possible that this feeling is based on a reality if the distribution of the tax is unfair.

Social contributions are low since they represented 5.3% of GDP in 2017 against 6.3% for the United States. When social contributions  are low, it usually means that employers' share in social contributions is low in order to reduce the actual cost of labor for companies; this entails a limited social policy, particularly with regard to health, education and other public services. Thus, purchasing power is visibly reduced by consumer prices and less visibly by the cost of private services intended to cover those not provided by the State, contrary to the policy applied in several developing countries of OECD. There is a significant disparity in the High Tech sector, where wages are approximately twice higher than in traditional sectors.

The United States is a perfect illustration of the reduction of purchasing power by the absence of public services but in the case of this particular country this could be offset by high wages.

The level of compulsory levies in Israel was 32.7% of GDP in 2017 compared with 46.2% in France.

Illustration of the fiscal policy in 2017 in the European countries "the most solidary countries" in Israel and the United States "the least solidary country" as a percentage of 2017 GDP:

2017

% DU PIB

Levies*

Income tax

Social contributions

FRANCE

46.2

10.9

16.8

DENMARK

46

29.6

0

BELGIUM

44.6

16.3

13.6

SWEDEN

44

15.8

9.7

FINLAND

43.3

15.4

12.1

ISRAEL

32.7

11.6

5.3

USA

27.1

12.4

6.3

*Levies include among others income taxes and social contributions

a -Distribution of household income by decile in 2010

First decile: 1.7% of the population - Last decile: 31.3%

b- Gini Index in 2013 (measured from 0 to 100)

Israel: 42.8, constantly worsening - 149th out of 198 world ranking.

Sweden is one of the most egalitarian countries with an index of 24.9 and Haiti the most unequal with 60.8. Israel lies between Angola and Chad which is abnormal and the excuse generally given regarding the under-activity of some Orthodox Jewish men and Muslim women is not a satisfactory explanation because disparities are clearly visible outside the region of Tel Aviv and moreover Israel has the means to invest in an educational accompaniment adapted for the particular populations.

3-Wages

Since April 2018, the minimum wage in Israel is 29.12 NIS / hour (7.1 €) or 5,200 NIS (1,268 €) monthly for a full time of 182 hours (42 hours per week against 35 hours in France). This level, however, remains lower than the French minimum Salary SMIC (€ 1,498 for 152 working hours per month) in terms of purchasing power. OECD estimates that French minimum salary is higher by 22% taking into account the purchasing power parity. The average salary is 10,867 shekels (2,650 €) but the truly significant median salary is 8,000 NIS (1,951 €). The gap between the average wage (average of all wages) and the median wage (remuneration around which employees are evenly distributed) also shows the inequality in the distribution of income.

II – CENTRIST PARTIES AS AN ALTERNATIVE OF CHANGE

Benyamin Netanyahu has been the subject of police and judicial investigations that should prompt his own supporters to seek an alternative solution of government. The ideal would be to respond at the same time to the security and social expectations of the population.

An "ego" war between the leaders of the two major centrist parties has almost put them out of the game, depriving them of any chance of having enough MPs to try to form a new government. At the last moment before the closure of the lists, these two parties make a reasonable afggreement for the benefit of the voters and formed one single party "Kakhol Lavan" (which means Blue White according to the colors of the national flag).

The two components of Kakhol Lavan - כחול לבן

1- Hossen leIsrael (Translation: Resilience of Israel) - חוסן לישראל

The recent creation of the centrist Party "חוסן לישראל" (Hossen leIsrael) by former Chief of Staff Benny (Benyamin) Gantz seems to meet the social and security imperatives.

a - Security

The security is guaranteed by the education (Political Science in Israel and Resource Management in the United States) and experience of Benny Gantz as well as those of the two other former Chiefs of Staff who joined his Party: Moshe Ya'alon and Gaby Ashkenazi. During a 36-year military career Benny Gantz has worked his way up from airborne elite units to Chief of Staff from 2011 to 2015. His field experience includes the various conflicts in Lebanon and the second Intifada.

In his speech of January 29, 2019, Benny Gantz promised to "strengthen the settlement blocs and the Golan Heights and said that" United Jerusalem "would forever remain the capital of Israel, adding that the Jordan Valley will remain the security border of Israel. He said he would not tolerate any threat from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Moshe Ya'alon was Chief of Staff from 2002 to 2005 and was Minister of Defense until 2014 and resigned due to incompatible opinions with Benyamin Netanyahu. He was a member of the Washington Institute think tank for the Near East Policy. He had military field experience during the Yom Kippur War where he participated in the operation of circling the 3rd Egyptian Army after having crossed the Suez Canal. In 1982 he participated in the Lebanon war and then led the military intelligence service.

Gaby Ashkenazi served in the Golani unit (Elite unit) from 1972 to 1988; He participated in the Yom Kippur War, took part in the Entebbe hostages’ liberation and in the Lebanon conflicts in 1982 and 2006 and was Chief of Staff from 2007 to 2011.

It should be noted that Avi Nissenkorn, President of the Workers' Union "Histadrut" also joined Hossen LeIsrael.

b- General and social policy of Hossen LeIsrael

According to Hossen LeIsrael’s official registration document of December 27, 2018, the Party's objectives are as follows:

Continue to establish and strengthen the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the light of the Zionist vision as expressed in the Declaration of Independence by highlighting national priorities in the following areas: Education, Development National Infrastructure, Agriculture, Social Protection Policy, Peace and Security.

In his speech of January 29, 2019, Benny Gantz also described Israel as "a leading country in the high-tech sector" but also pleaded to encourage activity in the building and health sector. The agricultural sector had been Israel's field of excellence, now neglected in favor of new technologies, and Benny Gantz indicated his intention to create new jobs in this sector.

The rallying of Avi Nissenkorn also illustrates Benny Gantz's desire to strengthen social policy.

2-Yesh Atid (translation: There is a Future) - יש עתיד

It is also a centrist and secular party; this one was created in 2012 by the journalist and writer Yaïr Lapid. In the party's application for registration, he stated, inter alia, the following objectives:

-Change priorities in Israel, with a focus on civil life, education, housing, health, transportation and law enforcement, as well as improving the living conditions of the middle class.

-Fight against political corruption by strengthening the High Court of Justice.

-Create growth to fight against poverty, improve transport systems and reduce the cost of living and housing.

-Cooperate with teachers' unions.

- Attempt to establish peace according to the "two states for two peoples" scheme, while maintaining the large blocks of Israeli settlements and ensuring the security of Israel.

-Take account of the diversity of Judaism: reforming movements, reconstructive, orthodox, humanistic and not just Orthodox Judaism as is the case today.

-Institute civil marriage in Israel and partially open public transport on Saturday

III-FORMATION OF A NEW GOVERNMENT

The electoral system in Israel is the proportional ballot, which allows the smallest parties to be represented from 3.25% of votes. This system atomizes political representation and leads to necessary coalition government formations in which smaller parties often exchange their contribution to form a majority against often exaggerated benefits (political options, numbers of ministers ...).

Thus the proportional voting apparently more representative at the level of parliament affects seriously the representation at the governmental level.

The number of deputies being 120, the party designated to form a government must bring together different other parties to have 61 deputies. Now the Kakhol Lavan Party represents a force equivalent to that of Likud and could be in charge of forming a new government.

Benyamin Netanyahu could be charged with corruption as recommended by the Police and the decision of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit could intervene at any moment, which is a threat to the current Prime Minister and his party.

Moreover, Benyamin Netanyahu has probably deteriorated his own image by having lobbied on the party of the National Jewish Home with which he wants to ally if they join with the Far rightist party "Otzma Yehoudit" known for its violence issued from the Kahanist ideology. This support does not seem appropriate for a prime minister of a democratic state and this stance could discourage traditional Likud voters.

Benyamin Netanyahu has called “leftists” Kakhol Lavan, which is a center-right Party and called also “leftists” their three chiefs of staff. He attributed to himself all the progress of Israel without showing any guilt for making Israel the crucible of increasing inequality; despite this, he also said that his two leaders (Benny Gantz and Yaïr Lapid) knew nothing about economics. He also said that they supported the Iranian nuclear deal, which is also Donald Trump's position who wants to adjust the deal without withdrawing. The presence of three former chiefs of staff in the Kakhol Lavan Party no longer allows Benyamin Netanyahu to present himself as an eminence in matters of security.

Survey of February 20, 2019:

PARTIES

Features

Seats

Taal - Hadash

Arab party

6

Joint lists

Arab Parties

5

Subtotal

Arab Parties

11

Meretz

Far Left

5

Labor

Left

9

Subtotal

Left Parties

14

Kakhol Lavan

Center

34

Koulanou

Center

4

Subtotal

Centrist Parties

38

Likoud

Right Wing

33

Yisrael Beiteinou

Secular Right

0

Sous total

Secular Right wing

33

New Righ

Split from the Jewish-Home  Religious

8

Shas

Right Religious

4

Judaïsme unifié de la Torah

Right Religious

7

Foyer Juif-Otzma Yehoudit

Far Rightists Religious

5

Sous total

Religious Right Wing

24

TOTAL

120