The Donald appeals to the American underclass that’s been ignored. In Israel, those with grievances are the middle class and they prefer more respectable protest candidates.
David Rosenberg Mar 15, 2016 10:38 AM
… Some say Netanyahu is Israel’s Trump.
Just like The Donald, Bibi’s been accused of appealing to the voters’ baser instincts, particularly their racist ones. Just like Trump, he is at once part of the establishment and loathed by it.
Trump is promising to build a wall on the Mexican border. Bibi already built one along nearly all of Israel’s borders, although he didn’t get the Arabs to pay for it.
But even if there are some similarities, Bibi isn’t Israel’s Trump. Israel doesn’t need a Trump.
Israel experienced many of the same economic upheavals America has, but not all of them. Trade liberalization killed off the Israeli textile industry, and unions are much weaker and represent a much smaller part of the workforce than three decades ago.
But that is only half the story. The Mizrahi underclass has made strides over the last decades and is closing the economic gap with the traditional Ashkenazi elite. The monopolies so loathed by the media and policy makers – the banks, Israel Electric Corporation, the ports and so on – have ensured good salaries and job security for a great many blue collar and middle class Israelis. Israel’s banks haven’t been allowed to run wild.
Unlike America, the Israeli economy has made remarkable progress over the last decade generating new jobs. More and more people are entering the labor force, especially people in the lowest income groups, and unemployment is touching record lows. Income inequality has been growing, but interestingly enough, it’s been widening between the middle and upper classes; at the lower end of the spectrum it has been narrowing. …
If there has been anybody suffering in recent years, it’s the Israeli middle class, but it expresses its displeasure in its own, well-mannered way. No bombastic Trumps for them!