It’s a free market
Sir, – Two of my favorite columnists, Caroline B. Glick (“The
media revolutionaries,” Our World, August 2) and Michael Freund (“Israel’s
misguided revolution, Fundamentally Freund, August 4), sorely disappointed me
last week. Both blindly praised the free-market system in their critical
responses to the current social protests taking place across
Similarly, Uri Savir (“A new deal for Israel?,” Savir’s Corner,
August 5) stressed that we must have a free-market economy, with an end to
Likewise the Likud, as well as Kadima.
The question I
have not seen addressed is whether it is possible for tiny Israel to have a
freemarket economy without monopolies.
Israel is an extremely small
market without much room for competition. Furthermore, Israel is essentially a
small island in the midst of a sea. We have no cross-border trade, so a
competitor cannot simply truck or train products across borders to compete, but
must ship them across the sea.
Are we simply too small of an economy to
rely on free-trade to protect the consumers from irrationally high prices
without governmental protection? Before we Likud advocates commit to a totally
free economy, this question must be effectively answered.
Sir, – Maybe the problem is that folks don’t understand what a
free-market economy is. You don’t need to buy a bottle of chocolate milk at NIS
20. Make the chocolate milk yourself for a quarter of the cost. If enough people
are like-minded and refuse to pay the price, the price will go down – as with
rentals in Tel Aviv.
It’s the youth themselves who caused the rise. Ten
people, all willing to pay whatever exorbitant rent the landlord requests – why
shouldn’t he raise the rent? I am also middle class but I live within my means.
If I don’t have the money I don’t buy. I save up first. This generation wants it
all, and right now. It reminds me of spoiled kids crying in the
Yes, the cost of living has gone up but we, the public, are to
blame. If we refuse to buy when the price is high, the cost of living will go
Sir, – It seems the path the people who
are demonstrating for “social justice” want Israel to take is the path leading
to Athens, Madrid, Lisbon and Rome.
Though there is good reason for the
frustration that exists among the middle class and young, demanding free this
and free that is not constructive.
Instead, markets that are currently
controlled by an oligarchy that forces the consumer to pay more and get less
should be open to free competition. Land that is controlled by the government
must be made available for development and low-cost housing with tax incentives.
These are the type of demands that should be made, along with cost studies and
Populism rarely succeeds. If Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street
becomes another Tahrir Square, the results may unfortunately be the
Israel has become an economic miracle that needs refinement, but
not destruction. The demonstrators must be careful, for they may get what they
Sir, – Do the owners of our
supermarkets take us for complete fools? Having seen the sales of cottage and
white cheese decline when the dairy protest was at its height, they generously
reduced prices to bring back customers while still presumably making a profit.
Yet the other day I found that the price of cottage cheese had risen to close to
its preprotest price, and the white cheese from NIS 11.99 to NIS
Surely, this was not through government
Modi’in So many zeros
Sir, – Wow! A
300,000-person protest! That’s a lot (“Protest draws 300,000 in largest show of
force yet, August 7). And in Jerusalem 30,000! I suppose that’s a lot,
And what does Bibi do? He’s appointing a group of his friends to
“check out” the protest, as if there’s a doubt! Surely, if 300,000 people turn
out to protest, this must be something very, very important.
Prime Minister, this is real. As real as it gets. No need for experts, just do
Give people the sense you really care! LEONARD ZURAKOV
Sir, – Writing as a resident of the periphery and as a
doctor whose strikes have been continuing for over 130 days, I believe I can
reflect some of the thoughts of my colleagues and community.
instinctive solidarity with the frustration given vent and voice – so
ineloquently – by the tent city people, who know what they dislike but struggle
to articulate it coherently and fail to provide any rational or realistic
analysis. Slogans are not solutions.
Likewise, journalists have so far
failed, in my opinion, to grasp the message of the hour. Endless discussions
about the free market, government involvement and brainless bureaucracy are akin
to the physician treating pneumonia with Acamol. These are mere
It is the root cause of our condition that must be sought and
addressed – and that is a dysfunctional state governed by an antiquated and
outmoded political process. This is the heart of the crisis.
movement, indeed the whole people, should arise as one with one demand: new
politics and a new political system.
Electoral reform and political
reform, these are the imperatives of our times. Nothing less will
Sir, – To offset the bias of the media
promoting the nebulous “social justice” agenda of the demonstrators, it would
have been helpful had you more prominently featured the August 5 column by
Martin Sherman (“Come to the carnival, comrade!,” Into the Fray) depicting the
attitudes of the other side, the thousands of Israelis who do not choose to take
to the streets.
Not the time
Sir, – It looks like the
majority of the people who are protesting in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities
expect Israel to become a socially progressive country like Norway.
is, in principle, nothing wrong with that. The only problem is that Norway has
vast oil revenues and is not surrounded by incredibly hostile
The truth is that at this stage, Israel cannot afford guns and
Actually, and considering the circumstances,
Israelis are doing quite well from an economic point of view. Any social protest
should be deferred until the survival of the country is no longer at
Not totally broke
Sir, – I
find it amazing that people who don’t have money for housing seem to have money
for cigarettes! In “The hopeful homeless” (Editor’s Notes, August 5), we hear
about Oshrit Ben-David, 28, a mother of two who declares, “We are all
Then we are told about a “long drag” she takes on a her
cigarette as she scolds someone who interrupted her.
It seems to me that
it would behoove the press to begin looking into the backgrounds of these
protesters and find out who is truly in need of help and who simply does not
know or care how to prioritize the money at their disposal.
I am less
inclined to be sympathetic to those who have money to burn (literally) instead
of using it for more necessary things.