Weekly Commentary: Israel Needs Unity Government To Reboot To Save Economy - Narrow Coalition May Make It Worse
Dr. Aaron Lerner 25 April 2021
It could be a perfect recipe for economic disaster if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu somehow manages to piece together a painfully narrow government.
With the coalition's survival hinging on the support of each and every MK, the constituents of the parties in the coalition, knowing this, will expect their representatives to not only get every shekel which benefited them until now but to also get them more money than ever before.
And to make matter worse, since COVID-19 had a devastating impact on many of the foreign contributors to institutions associated with these parties there is going to be tremendous pressure to find ways for the gap to be filled by government funds.
But this is not just a question of how many billions of shekels go to Torah Institutions and men who are registered as studying at these institutions or their low income families.
Our window of opportunity to create an environment which will insure our economic future is quickly coming to a close due to demographic trends which may make such action politically impossible.
If we fail to provide now for our young people to be equipped with the skills to make good livings we are lost.
If we fail to adjust the structure of our social-welfare system to encourage the participation of able bodied men in the work force we are doomed.
And all of this requires moves which key members of Netanyahu's narrow coalition oppose.
If anything, we may witness a worsening of the situation as these members of the coalition insist on social-welfare measures which further discourage the participation of able bodied men in the work force or the acquisition of critical job skills. I would note that today we are witness to the tragedy that the intentional decision to postpone acquiring basic math, English and other skills until their 20's has resulted in that only 24% of Haredi men who begin studies towards a college degree succeed in completing their program of studies.
When I share these concerns with members of the sector in question the response is typically some mystical believe that Divine intervention will save the day.
This when it is a basic tenet of Judaism not to rely on miracles.
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