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Israel Poorest of OECD Countries, 5th Largest Income Gap

oecd table israel

Comparative rates of poverty/income distribution Israel (in red) vs OECD average (blue)

Today the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which monitors economic well-being among 39 countries of the developed world, released its 2013 findings.

It found that Israel’s poverty rate of 20.9% was the highest of all member states. Israel’s nearest “competitor” was Mexico at 20.4%.  Anyone who has visited Mexico understands how severe the problem is there. in Israel, it’s worse. Even Spain and Greece suffering from severe recession have far lower rates.  The average poverty rate for all OECD countries is 11.1%. The OECD also found that Israel had the fifth largest income disparity.

“You don’t see him from a meter away.” (Yudit Ilany)

Some other salient statistics: the child poverty rate average for all OECD nations is 13.3%. For Israel, it is 28.8%. Israel had the 4th largest rise in child poverty between 2007-2011.

I marvel at the comments of some here when they read these statistics, who claim that Israel’s economic numbers are depressed by Haredi men and Israeli Palestinian women who deliberately absent themselves from the country’s economic system. The problem with this approach is that the OECD statistical tables correctly blame a nation and not individual citizens if they are left out of the system. It is up to the nation to ensure economic benefits are available to all.

In other words, contrary to what the some would have us believe, people by and large don’t embrace poverty as their destiny. Nor may nations sentence entire segments of their population to such a fate without it being reflected in the OECD tables.  Many other nations have found ways to spread economic benefits more equitably.  In fact, Israel used to have such a system.

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{ 52 comments… add one }
  • Rehmat May 15, 2013, 5:56 AM

    OECD report 2011, said that Israel had the second highest poverty rate among the OECD countries. One in every four residents in Israel lived below the poverty line, more than twice the average of Western countries (the average poverty rate in developed countries is 11.1%). The major victims being Israeli children; 36.3% of Israeli children live in poverty (850,300 children).

    However, in reality, Israel is a “parasite state”.Its economy growth in 2010 was 7.8%. The Israeli economy rankes fifth highest in growth among the world’s most prosperous OECD’s 34 members. Israel’s growth outstripped that of the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany and France. With a Jewish population of little over five million – Israel is home to ten Jewish billionaires and 5900 millionaires.

    http://rehmat1.com/2011/04/27/israel-the-rich-parasite-state/

    • Richard Silverstein May 15, 2013, 9:18 PM

      @Rehmat:

      Israel is a “parasite state”

      OK, that does it. YOu’re moderated. And if you don’t restrain your bile in future you’ll be banned.

  • amir May 15, 2013, 8:51 AM

    Israel is not the poorest of the OECD nations. Neither you nor Ha’aretz, which wrote that “Israel is the most impoverished of the 34 member countries” understand what the statistic says. 20.9% is the RELATIVE income poverty. It is the “share of the population with an income of less than 50% of the RESPECTIVE national median income.” Since Israel and Mexico do not have the same median income, the comparison is invalid. Israeli median income is more than double Mexico’s median income.

    • Richard Silverstein May 15, 2013, 9:16 PM

      @Amir: You’re making a distinction without a difference. Israel has the highest percentage of poverty relative to overall national income of any of the OECD countries. There, does that make you feel better?

  • Rain May 15, 2013, 11:06 AM

    I read this blog with an open mind. Though I often don’t agree with what’s written here, I appreciate the outside vision and food for thought provided here. I believe as Israelis and Jews we must adhere to the distinction between anti-zionism and anti-semitism and until now considered that this blog did a pretty good job of doing that. However, recent comments by Rehmat are blurring this line. My own red flag went up reading borderline comments on this blog…

    …This Israeli propaganda lie was given top coverage by the Zionist-controlled mainstream media.
    …Like Nicolas Sarkozy (born to a Jewish mother and Catholic father), President Francois Hollande is also under the influence of France’s powerful Jewish Lobby.
    …Furthermore, Hollande’s Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has appointed three Muslim members (one minister and two junior ministers) in his 34-member (17 male + 17 female) cabinet in addition to three Zionist Jew ministers.

    And on his own blog.

    The article linked above includes a reference to “…as new member of the ‘ZOG Ummah’. Benji Netanyahu was so excited that he called it a “seal of approval” of Zionazi policies against its neighbors:”
    And other choice articles – Slavery, A particularly good illustration in this one – http://rehmat1.com/2012/12/25/slavery-gun-control-and-the-jewish-elites/
    And another – …Yesterday, a jury in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, found Dr. Kermit Gosnell 72 guilty of first-degree murder of the three newborn children, as well as the manslaughter of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old immigrant from Nepal, who died in 2009 after being sedated at the clinic. The prosecuting attorney has demanded death penality….The Zionist-controlled media ignored such practice for years which reminded many Americans of the Blood Libel accusations against the Jews.

    Though I have no influence on this blog, I believe that the balance between a lively exchange of opinions on Israel and anti-semitic commentary is becoming blurred and should be addressed. It is one thing to disagree with the actions and opinions of the Israeli government or to oppose Zionism. It is quite another to address disparaging comments against all Israelis or Jews.

    • Deïr Yassin May 15, 2013, 11:34 AM

      @ Rain
      I totally agree with you and I wrote so on a thread two days ago: Rehmat is an a genuine antisemite (or anti-Jewish to prevent him from nitpicking on that word), obsessed with Jews, real or imaginary.
      And his self-promoting is just so tasteless, but I guess it’s the only way to make people read his blog.
      If anyone doubts that Rehmat is a sick person, please read this ‘discussion’ I had with him back in October:
      http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2012/10/30/bibi-to-france-in-campaign-ploy-proving-israel-wont-be-isolated-if-it-attacks-iran/
      The Palestinian cause is a just cause, no need for that kind of ‘defenders’ !

    • Richard Silverstein May 15, 2013, 9:43 PM

      @Rain: I moderated him a few minutes before I read your comment. He needs to be house-trained, I’m afraid.

  • Deïr Yassin May 15, 2013, 11:12 AM

    Here’s a shorter version of the entire report.
    Income Inequality, Figure 4, page 4
    (note to the Hasbaristas: yes, the US (fourth largest income inequality) is after Israel but this is a blog about…..yeah, right….).
    Relative Poverty, Figure 6, page 5: Israel is last.
    http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/OECD2013-Inequality-and-Poverty-8p.pdf
    I guess Hasbara Central has called in x-tra staff: Nakba Day (65 years ox exile) and this OECD report

  • Rehmat May 15, 2013, 12:44 PM

    Good hasbara job guys. You two proved Professor Daniel Bar-Tal (Tel Aviv University) view that most Israeli prefer to live in self-denial.

    “They’re not interested to know the facts about the Israel-Palestine conflict. They’re brainwashed with Zionist narrative of the conflict and hatred toward Arabs and Muslims from an early age,” concluded Daniel his 2010 study.

    http://rehmat1.com/2010/05/24/study-israelis-prefer-to-live-in-self-denial/

  • BruceT May 15, 2013, 2:44 PM

    Actually the ultra-orthodox do embrace poverty as their destiny, and deliberately live that way and justify it theologically. They consider Israel’s attempts to modernize them with education and employment to be a war againt them akin to Czarist persecution, and believe very strongly that they should only study Torah all day, and have as many children as possible, and be supported by the government.

    Similar tendencies exist in religious Muslim areas in Israel, such as large families and theological justifications for avoiding secular education, or preventing women from working. Witness the dramatic economic gaps between Muslim and Christian Arabs, the latter being much more modern with smaller families and two-spouse incomes, thus leading to dramatic increases in standard of living. I remember a study from a few years back showing that the Christian Arabs are in fact the wealthiest population group in Israel!

    In light of the extreme importance of culture, among both Arabs and Jews, it is definitely inappropriate to accept the findings of this particular study without qualfications as you have done. It should also act as a control on other factors such as discrimination and racism.

    Lastly, I believe you’ve been led into a trap here, Richard, that highlights an unfair bias against Israel: If Israel would attempt to modernize certain population groups and bring them into the 21st century, you would certainly cry “racism!”. Look at your analysis of the Bedouin, for example.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    • Richard Silverstein May 15, 2013, 9:39 PM

      @BruceT: I’m completely uninterested in what the Haredim believe. They may believe the moon is made of green cheese for all I care. If Israel withdrew the subsidies it would force Haredim to behave like other Israelis. They would work & study Torah in their spare time. The government is at fault for this problem. The Haredim are only exploiting what the government freely offers them.

      I do so love racists like you who create false religious distinctions that claim Christianity is “modern” while Islam is backward. The rate of participation in Israeli society of Palestinian Muslims has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with outright discrimination from the State. The problem is NOT theological, but political.

      Now, we’ve been over this ground here before many times. I’m allowing you to publish this comment on the subject even though many before you have failed in offering precisely the same lame argument. If this isn’t proof of the existence of Hasbara Central, I don’t know what is. Either that or they all read the same bullshit hasbara manuals.

      Christian Arabs are in fact the wealthiest population group in Israel!

      More bullshit. One of my main comment rules is that when you make a claim you support it with credible evidence. I want you to present a link to this supposed “study,” which either doesn’t exist or which you’re exagerrating. If you don’t present such a link within 24 hours, I will moderate you. I’m calling your bluff because I think you’re a bullshitter & I don’t like ‘em.

      f Israel would attempt to modernize certain population groups and bring them into the 21st century, you would certainly cry “racism!”. Look at your analysis of the Bedouin

      Is that what Israel is trying to do to the Bedouin? “Modernize” them? Like we white men “modernized” the Native Americans by placing them on reservations, converting them to Christianity, & teaching them the ways of the white man in Bureau of Indian schools? Well, glory be. How nice of you, massa, to want to raise the poor Bedouin up from his degradation.

      Actually, Israel isn’t modernizing Bedouin life. It’s stealing Bedouin land in order to Judaize the Negev. THis is an extension of the theft of Palestine which has gone on since 1967, if not 1948.

      • BruceT May 15, 2013, 10:11 PM

        If Israel withdrew it’s subsidies you’re right. But that is a way to force them to modernize, by learning secular subjects and working for a living. The Muslim Arabs have exactly the same issues (forbidding women from working which halves their income potential, traditional village life and opposition to modernity and secular studies) which proves this has nothing to do with race/ethnicity, since Christian Arabs have an average of 2 kids and their women work, so their average income and standard of living is actually the highest of any group in Israel.

        Jews: Haredim (no secular studies 7+ children) vs secular (and datim)

        Arabs: Muslims (no secular studies, 7+ children) vs Christians (secular studies, 2 children, women working)

        How can these economic gaps be caused by racism and discrimination I there’s proof from both sides against it (Haredim from the Jewish side and Christians from the Arab side)??

        And again, don’t you think modernizing the beduin, which would include lowering their birthdate and learning secular subjects, and women’s rights, would further raise Israel’s scores in the study referred to in this post? That’s why it is so clear to me you are contradicting yourself by citing this study.

        • Richard Silverstein May 15, 2013, 11:07 PM

          @BruceT: Earning a living has nothing to do with modernization. Ultra Orthodox in the U.S. earn their living & maintain the same religious life style as their Israeli counterpart. The only difference is that here the ultra Orthodox contribute to society and in Israel they’re parasites.

          THe main issue for Israeli Palestinians is not whether women work. It is how few MEN can work and the poor miserable jobs those that do work have. You’re focussing on a red herring issue which, again, others before have offered here–arguments which have failed just as yours does.

          their average income and standard of living is actually the highest of any group in Israel.

          You apparently don’t read or else just don’t believe what I say to you. I just told you that I believe this is a fabrication. I insisted you offer proof. You didn’t. Instead, you raised a false claim a second time without proof. If you don’t offer credible proof for it, once again, you will be banned for violating basic comment rules.

          don’t you think modernizing the beduin

          I don’t think you or the Israeli government has any business trying to change the traditional Bedouin lifestyle.

          • BruceT May 15, 2013, 11:16 PM

            but how can you be against modernizing the beduin while simultaneously berating israel as a nation for it’s income gaps?? And Muslim men get crappy jobs because they lack crucial skills, they are often forbidden by their beliefs to attend college and learn secular atudies, which are aspects of modernity that you say israel has no business forcing on anyone…..and then you quote this study on your blog…..

          • BruceT May 16, 2013, 10:39 AM

            [comment deleted for comment violation--Off topic and racism]

        • Deïr Yassin May 16, 2013, 1:32 AM

          @ BruceT
          First of all, your comment on ‘theological justifcation’ for avoiding secular studies is pure BS (just like your lies about the French court ruling ‘legalizing occupation. By the here’s a long article on Electronic Intifada on the subject, it might interest you). Why would such a group of Muslima exist in Israel but not in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank ? Oh, I see, because they can profit on Israeli social welfare…..
          The Christain Palestinains are not the wealthiest but the best educated group in Israel, and they’ve had the higest % at the matriculation exam for some years now.

          “Arabs: Muslims (no secular studies, 7+ children) vs Christian (secular studies, 2 children, women working)”
          Wow, this is simply amazing ! Did you study sociology (a joke….). In fact I looked at the MFA website yesterday, but didn’t have the time to answer your first comment. If I remember correctly, Christian Arab women have an average of 2,1 children (the lowest in Israel), Muslims Arab women 3,5, and the Jewish and the Druze inbetween.

          • BruceT May 16, 2013, 10:11 AM

            [comment deleted for comment rule violation--racism]

          • BruceT May 16, 2013, 10:44 AM

            [comment deleted for comment rule violation--racism]

          • Deïr Yassin May 16, 2013, 11:47 AM

            @ BruceT
            Yeah, I know how you read by now….. Do you really think I’m going to waste my time discussing sociology with a xenophobe ?
            Of course there are institutionalized discrimination in Israel against Palestinians, Muslims and Christians, also in the higher education system: just in case you feel like educating yourself on the topic
            1. The Inequality Report/Adalah March 2011 2. Discrimination Against Palestinian Arab Children in the Israeli Education System. A very good report by Zama Coursen-Neff/Human Rights Watch 2005. Both on the net.
            3. Israel aids its needy Jewish students more than the Aran counterparts. New study supports claim of budgetary discrimination against Israeli Arab students/Haaretz August 12 2009. 4. Israel’s Arab Students are Crossing to Jordan: Academic Hurdles Block Access to Universities. Jonathan Cook (he’s married with a Palestinian Christian from Nazareth. Contact him to get futher information) 5. Israel Curbing Arab enrollment in Medical School. Los Angeles Times 28.05.2012.
            You’re welcome.

          • Richard Silverstein May 16, 2013, 6:20 PM

            @DeirYassin: I had to send BruceT back to Hasbara Central for remedial training. I expect another Hasbara flight about to land here any time now with a new hasbarist disembarking.

          • Noam May 17, 2013, 12:01 AM

            @RIchard & DeirYassin,
            is that my cue? :)

            in this case i think richard is right – it’s the state responsibility to enforce the law (like obligatory Education) in all parts of Israel. and saying that this study is that bad bcz of haredim and israeli arabs, then that is just not taking responsibility for your citizens. if i were a young haredi i wouldn’t work as well. why should i?
            there is discrimination in funding in educational opportunities that has to be obliterated.
            saying that there is no religious or traditions that makes it harder for the state is also not a fair argument. bcz it is happening, you can just see how Shas is opposing the bill that enforces their schools to teach math and sciences. but as a country who wants to be “or lagoim” that shouldn’t deter us from taking care of these children future (And it did for a long time now).
            there’s also “Affirmative action” in most of universities (if not all of them) – these, like many, are not a solutions, only a patch.
            maybe this study which was also covered in israeli media will put up some red flags, bcz this study is from 2010 or 2011 i’m sure that by now we are in even worse condition.

          • Deïr Yassin May 18, 2013, 3:34 AM

            @ Richard
            Concerning Hasbara Central. Yesterday I looked for the index of democracy (the Economist ranking 2011) on French wikipedia ["indice de démocratie", if someone wants to verify that I'm telling the truth] to get the link to the Economist, and my eyes fell on the Israeli ranking: 16th. I just knew that was plain wrong, that Israel is ranked 36th (among the ‘flawed democracies’]. I compared with the original Economist ranking, published in the ‘Notes’ and realized there has been a genuine manipulation: in order to advance Israel from the 36th to the 16th ranking, someone has moved various countries down the list: The Czech Republic (16th) is ranked 17th. Uruguay (ranked 17th) is ranked 23rd. Belgium (ranked 23rd) is ranked 26th (dropping from “democracy” to “flawed democracy”°. Cap Verde (26th) is ranked 36th (Israel’s place in the real Economist ranking).
            I’m still astonished, this is really “Zionists Editing Wikipedia”:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t52LB2fYhoY

          • Fred Plester May 18, 2013, 12:17 PM

            Quite a lot of the Belgian public would rate their country as a “failed democracy” after the Dutroux affair, but I think you’re right: Hasbara Central employs at least one “Winston Smith” to re-write history.

            It’s not just Zionists: anyone whose plans for the future are deeply unpalatable, seems compelled to re-write the past.

          • Deïr Yassin May 18, 2013, 2:21 PM

            @ Fred Plester
            We’re not even talking about ‘rewriting history’ or picking biased sources, it’s plain manipulation in order to advance Israel 20 steps in the Economist ranking. They know that very few people actually check the sources in the notes. I had a notorious ‘liberal Zionist’ admitting the manipulation on a blog so I have a ‘proof’ of it. I wonder how long it’s been around, and particularly if it’s possible to track who changed the ranking of 5-6 countries to make Israel become a “democracy”…. on French wikipedia.
            By the way, the ranking is based on 5 criteria, and it’s the “Civil liberties” that makes Israel go down. It has the lowest score (5,59) even among the “flawed democracies”, and lower than many in the “hybrid regimes” group (the scores have of course been manipulated too compared with the original report).
            Well, I guess if you want to promote Israel as “The-Only-Democracy-in-the-Middle-East’ you can’t have it ranked as a ‘flawed democracy’. Another proof that wikipedia is really to be handled carefully.

          • Richard Silverstein May 18, 2013, 3:07 PM

            You should report this on the Discussion page for the article. Also, there’s a way to look at the page history & trace who made those specific changes you noted.

            Is that survey available in English?

          • Deïr Yassin May 18, 2013, 4:33 PM

            @ Richard
            It is in English originally. It’s the Ecomomist Intelligence Unit who has made the ‘Democracy Index’ since 2006. There’s a wikipedia-page in English “Democracy Index” but it hasn’t been updated recently, and it’s not as complete as the French version (strangely enough, it’s mostly the opposite). The last report available there is the 2010 ranking. It’s really interesting because they use different criteria to find the average ‘democracy index’: political pluralism, political culture, participation in the elections, civil liberties.
            Here’s the 2010 report (Israel 37th):
            http://graphics.eiu.com/PDF/Democracy_Index_2010_web.pdf
            If you go through the French wiki-page “Indice de démocratie”, the 2011 Index (Israel 36th) is linked in the “Notes et Références”, point 6 but I have troubles linking it here. It’s been downloaded from somewhere.
            The 2012 Index is out too and if you register at The Intelligence Unit, you can download it for free. I’ll do that I think.
            The Israeli case is amazing because the gab between ‘civil liberties’ (ranking Israel much further down the list) and the other criteria is enormous.

          • Deïr Yassin May 18, 2013, 4:39 PM

            NB. It’s also amazing: if you compare Israel (37th) with the countries ranked just before and just after, it gets much better scores on Political participation and Political culture, but on ‘civil liberties’ it’s just the contrary.

        • Rain May 16, 2013, 12:35 PM

          I guess although standard of living is affected to some extent by the number of children Muslim, Christians or Jews have, I do know that education budgets are handled by local municipalities, and that there is consistent discrimination against Arab municipalities that receive far less funding for education. However, as far as I’m aware most Arab villages and towns in Israel (at least most of the ones I know in the Western Galilee where I live) have a mixed population of Muslims and Christians, and sometimes Druze too. Therefore I assume discrimination at the level of educational funding must be a factor for both Christian and Muslim Arabs, and that this discrimination affects long term economic success. I’m not sure about the contention that Muslim men are forbidden by their beliefs to attend college or learn secular studies – I’ve never come across this and certainly judging by attendance at local colleges here in the Galilee and in Haifa it doesn’t seem to be a very likely statement. I do think discrimination in educational funding and the job market is one of the biggest factors in the lack of economic mobility. For all groups – Jews, Muslims, and Arabs, this is made worse by the tight competition to study for the most lucrative professions, and the need for parents to continue funding younger generations who want to continue studying, or build/purchase housing. Both of these factors tend to perpetuate poverty for kids who come from less successful educatiional infrastructures, or from poorer backgrounds.

          • SimoHurtta May 16, 2013, 2:51 PM

            Tight competition to study for the most lucrative professions – indeed. For comparisons sake. Before WW2 56 percent of all doctors in Poland were Jews. 43 percent of teachers, 22 of journalists and 33 % of layers. Jews represented 10 percent of the population. Still it is said that Jews were discriminated in Polish universities and Polish society.

            Palestinians and non-Jews represent over 20 percent of Israeli population. Do the non Jews of Israel have a proportional share in universities, academic professions, public sector officials etc.? No they do no. 11 percent of undergraduate students in Israeli academic institutions are Palestinian. Palestinians comprise 7 percent of masters degree students, 3 percent of doctoral students and 2 percent of the academic faculty. In the high positions of the society the non-Jews are extremely underrepresented.

            For comparisons sake it would be interesting to know what is percentage of non-Jews as doctors, teachers, journalists and layers in Israel. Or as judges, generals, chiefs of staffs in ministries etc.

          • Richard Silverstein May 16, 2013, 6:13 PM

            @Rain: The idea that Islam prohibits children from entering in college is just plain stupid. There are many Islamic universities in Egypt, Gaza, Syria, etc. And Muslims in these countries also attend universities that aren’t strictly Islamic. BruceT is full of it.

            Your account of discrimination is just about right on the money.

            Blaming “cultural factors” is racist & just plain offensive. It’s a smokescreen to take the Israeli social & political system off the hook for its failure to address these issues.

  • Fred Plester May 16, 2013, 11:54 AM

    Funnily enough, there’s a way to tell that Israel might be a low-wage economy without needing such complex analysis: there’s an Intel fabrication plant in Israel, just as there is in Costa Rica, and several of Intel’s competitors have them in Mexico, which closely matches Israel in the average income stakes.

    Not sure if Intel have fabrication plants in Sweden or Norway, though.

    • Daniel May 16, 2013, 11:49 PM

      Well, most of the Intel FAB’s are in the US, and they have another 2 in Ireland and China.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_manufacturing_sites

      So it’s probably not an issue of “low-wage economy” as you put it.

      • Fred Plester May 17, 2013, 3:48 AM

        America IS a low wage economy for more than half the population: the average per capita income is largely the product of the executive class.

        The ratio between an executive’s pay and a shopfloor worker’s pay in the US can now easily be a hundred to one: in Henry Ford’s heyday it would have been typically ten to one, and some people worried in the fifties when it reached about thirty to one.

        Of course, modern executives are so much more valuable to the company and the country than they were in Henry Ford’s day…

        • Fred Plester May 18, 2013, 3:52 AM

          I might add that Henry Ford was not the only American capitalist of his generation who thought that paying decent wages to the people at the bottom might create the foundations for a stable economy. In that, they were just echoing the thoughts of earlier generations of British capitalists.

          Aldous Huxley was wrong: the Brave New World isn’t run on the theories of “Fordism” but on those of James Burnham’s Managerialism and stability is very notably not one of the results. George Orwell argued against Burnham, more on the basis of gut political instinct than any high economic theory, but Orwell was right to sense a danger there, as great as Nazism or Communism.

      • SimoHurtta May 17, 2013, 5:14 AM

        Israeli state invested one billion USD to these factories in Israel (Fab18 and Fab28). Intel received a grant of $525 million from the Israeli government to build the plant Fab18. So Intel did not come cheaply, it is a “paid” immigrant. Other countries were not willing to pay so much. Indeed it is not an issue of “low-wage economy”, it is an issue of “absurd high state subsidies” and certainly this is not an example for others of the US free markets “theories”. Well with Israel everything goes…

        • Daniel May 17, 2013, 7:17 AM

          So what you are saying is that the only reason Intel put a FAB in Israel is because of the grants?
          And no other country from the 187 countries or so in the world would not do that?

          I also fail to see what is wrong regarding Israel decision to invest those grants, so that Intel would open a FAB there, a fact that Israel thought might advance it’s technological status and also create jobs.

          By the way, Intel’s largest development center outside the US, is in Israel (actually, there are like 3 of them).
          For that there were no grants.

          • SimoHurtta May 18, 2013, 1:27 AM

            Could Finland, which by the way has a better trained and educated workforce than Israel does, or most other European countries give such sums to a multinational giant in order to get the Intel factory? I seriously doubt that. What say the rules of those trade organizations to which Finland and Israel belong directly or indirectly? Well Israel joined (or lets say was accepted) as a member to OECD in 2010. So after the factory was finished. Oopps July 2011: Israel offers Intel $290 million for expansion. Again hmmmm …

            In Ireland Intel received over IRE£87m in grants from IDA Ireland in beginning of 90′s. That was about 110 million €. Anyway a much smaller “lubricant” compared to what Israel was demanded to pay.

            Development centers and the factory have no clear “correlation”. The idea of those centers is to develop the product in place A where exist skilled engineers and then produce the “result” in a place B with low priced labor and minimum investments (net = investment-”lubricant”). The Israeli Intel factories basically could be in dozens of countries. Even in Iran, Indonesia or Pakistan. Finland by the way has an Intel development center and many other development centers of several international companies. That doesn’t mean that they all would build production factories here. For comparison much of Nokia’s development is still made in Finland, but the last (which was Nokia’s first) mobile phone factory in Finland was shut just a while ago. Now all phones are produced in low cost labor countries.

            I suppose that you Israelis would have rather much to say with loud voice if lets say Turkey or Egypt would pay a couple of billions to Intel in order to get the next Fab xx into their country. Anyway Intel is taking a huge risk with the Israeli factories and linking itself so clearly with Israel. What then when a couple of billion potential and existing customers begin to demand non-Israeli based processors, chips and memories? It could be the reality if the Dome of Rock is destroyed and there is larger mass murder in West Bank. The provability of such events is not insignificant.

          • Daniel May 18, 2013, 3:23 AM

            … The username “Daniel” is already taken, you know. You should probably modify yours to avoid any prospective confusion.

          • Richard Silverstein May 18, 2013, 1:28 PM

            Yes, I agree. Anyone with a common first name should use an additional initial to distinguish themselves for their comment nickname/handle. If you have already established your identity with just your first name, it’s OK to maintain that. But anyone else with the name “Daniel” should use their last name initial.

          • Daniel May 18, 2013, 9:13 AM

            Couldn’t see a reply button after yours, so here we go..

            Still, I fail to understand what illegitimate move did Israel do by providing the grants to Intel.
            It works for Israel, it works for Intel, probably doesn’t work for looking for de-legitimization.

            Of course that development centers and FABs have no correlation. I was just pointing out that Intel has 3 development centers in Israel, something they have in very few places. By the way, not only Intel has development centers in Israel, but many other companies also. There are many that choose Israel as their first or only one outside the US.

            As you say, Intel might be talking a huge risk by locating development and production facilities in Israel.
            Can you explain why they take such a risk? (not that I expect an objective explanation. Some critics of Israel will not recognize even the smallest achievement or positive thing done here.)

            By the way, regardless of the fact that Israel might have the highest degree of poor people among the OECD countries, it is a member of the OECD. Of course, this is an achievement that you also try to minimize by saying “…Israel joined (or lets say was accepted)”

          • SimoHurtta May 18, 2013, 3:22 PM

            Of course OECD, WTO and EU have rules what kind of grants and how big grants are acceptable. In other case it would lead to a contest between countries in “buying” industries and factories. Nobody can claim that the grants Israel paid (and is obviously paying) to Intel are absurd huge and give the company (Intel) a unhealthy competitive edge.

            Finland joined OECD in 1969, Israel was accepted to be a member in September 2010. Is that an achievement for a developed market economy and “democracy”? The recent joining to OECD can be explained only by
            A) Israel did not want to follow and adapt the international trade rules and restrictions before 2010.
            B) Other countries did not want Israel as a member.
            C) Israel was busy in attacking neighbors and their “estate development” having no time to fill the application form before 2010.

          • daniels May 18, 2013, 4:22 PM

            1) You still have not replied to why Intel choose Israel inspite of the risk.

            2) You are assuming that Israel did wrong by giving those grants to Intel. I never saw any claim
            from those organizations you mention saying that. It’s not a bribe, it’s not an illegal subsidize.

            3) Again, trying to downplay the achievement of Israel being accepted to the OECD, without any
            real facts. And you logic is flawed also. In the end, regardless of whatever you say, it was accepted.
            That is an achievement, no matter what you say. Unless, the OECD is also part of a worldwide conspiracy.

            This is my last reply to this particular chain. I give you the last word if you want it. I’m sure there will be no surprises in it.

  • BruceT May 16, 2013, 4:24 PM

    [comment deleted--any violating comment rules will not be published]

  • free man May 17, 2013, 5:08 AM

    Israelis are so poor that more than 30% go each year flying for vacation out of the country.
    They are so poor that houses prices went 100% higher since 2008.
    95% have washing machine.
    77% a home computer.
    92% cellular phone.
    Really, really poor.

    • Richard Silverstein May 17, 2013, 9:53 PM

      You didn’t pay attention to the actual statistics & what they said. The report doesn’t say there aren’t wealthy Israelis. On the contrary, it says the wealth gap between the richest & poorest is extraordinary. But it also says that Israel has the highest amount of poor people relative to median national income of any of the 34 countries in OECD.

      Israel’s problem is that the wealth isn’t distributed evenly. The poorest have nothing, the wealthiest have everything.

      • Nimrod May 19, 2013, 4:10 PM

        How is the wealth gap between the richest & poorest in the states?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QPKKQnijnsM#at=286

        • Richard Silverstein May 19, 2013, 6:12 PM

          @Nimrod: The wealth gap is very large. But not as large comparatively as it is in Israel esp. if you compare Israel’s GDP to ours. All you have to do is review the OECD rpt figures to see how much larger Israel’s wealth gap is.

          • Nimrod May 20, 2013, 4:21 AM

            What about the fact that the top 1% in America has 24% of the money, but in Israel they have 13% of the money, still doesn’t seem right.

          • Richard Silverstein May 20, 2013, 2:21 PM

            @Nimrod: That wasn’t what the OECD was measuring in the poverty stat. THey were measuring what percentage of the population lives in poverty.

            As for your own statistic, the fact that Israel is 5th highest in wealth gap says it all. I don’t know whether the U.S. is higher or lower than that. But it hardly matters, does it?

  • Matan May 18, 2013, 2:15 AM

    Yeah, Israel has some serious inequality problems. According to Prof. Yaron Zalicha (he was the Accoutant General 2003-2007), it’s not just this particular metric in which Israel is in the top 3 “poorest countries”, but basically all metrics.

    Here is a video from the TV show “London & Kirshenbaum” where they interview Prof. Zalicha (warning — Hebrew):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frQX9AaEm1U

  • JustCurious May 20, 2013, 3:24 AM

    Great article and everything, but what on earth does it have to do with your blogs stated goals of “Promoting Israeli democracy, exposing secrets of the national security state”?

    Isn’t this survey just an excuse for you to run down Israel?

    I’m not suggesting that you’ve written anything untrue, I just don’t see how it contributes to the discussion.

  • Marc Andrews July 10, 2013, 9:22 PM

    Mr. Silverstein,
    If you think that ultra-orthodox are interested in participating in Israel economic life, you are just plain wrong. They have no interest in either making money or learn secular studies. Israel indeed does provide them with a survival kit, a monthly stipend, so they can eat, have a dwelling and a health insurance.
    I would think that is what any country can do for its population.
    After that it is up to the individual to better him/herself.
    You can try to make someone work, you can’t make someone work. Even the Nazis tried and it did not work very well.
    For the Arabs, the problem is different, I think though you make a mistake between discrimination and segregation. While there is discrimination, it is mainly segregation that is responsible for Arab poverty.
    Arab society is not yet interested in mixing; see what happens when Arabs try to even serve a civil service.
    Note that many Arab individuals are, they just have to overcome the social barrier, a bit like Jews in the 19th century adopting secular education and being willing to be ostracized by their own community.
    Finally , the Beduins. Israel is not interested in converting them or anything else of that sort, just to have them live in a zoned area. That sounds quite reasonable. 500 years ago, people could wander around, nowadays you just can’t, it might be a tragedy, however it is a reality not just in Israel but in any developed or aspiring to develop country.

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