Monday, December 26, 2005

Finally, Some Policy from Peretz

Peretz has done what one might think impossible. In a land battered by kassams, suicide bombs, terrorist stabbings, and shootings, Peretz is managing to run on an economic policy ticket. Let us not forget the continued existential threats from Iran, Libya, Syria, and Lebanon. One might think that minimum wage would not be the foremost issue in Israeli politics. Yet it is the issue on which Peretz is focusing. Comparing Israel's minimum wage to that of the US and Britain, Peretz claims, "our minimum wage is a fraction of theirs" (Jerusalem Post). That is certainly true numerically, as Israel's minimum wage is $3.70, while US and Britain both have over $5.50. But I would imagine that cost of living is considerably lower in Israel. Nevertheless, he has announced something of a foreign policy/ military policy recently, claiming, "We need to immediately . . . dismantle the illegal outposts," said Peretz. "I would also stop all funding to expanding communities there, and only continue with the minimum aid needed to maintain the communities," added Peretz. "Instead, we should put those funds into developing the Negev and Galilee, where we can expand opportunities for our youth" (Ibid.). While I am all for developing the Negev and Galilee, I am still curious as to what he plans to do about terrorism. I am not an economist, but my guess is that constant threat of serious attacks is not very good for anybody's wages.

5 comments:

Mike said...

I'm guessing Peretz thinks he can beat Netanyahu due to the welfare cuts Netanyahu pushed as Finance Minister.

Sam said...

Care to elaborate on the "existential threats" posed by Lebanon and Libya? Syria?

Yehuda said...

You're right, Sam, Lebanon, Lybia, and Syria are safe countries. I vaction in them during Jewish holiday season.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say they were safe for Israeli tourists—I just want to know how they are "existential threats." Are you saying that any one of those countries could annihilate Israel—or just that they won't let people with Israeli visas visit? I'll buy Iran; they demonstrated the Shehaab-3 two years ago, which can reach Israel (and many other countries). Hopefully their nuclear program will not come to fruition! On the other hand, Israel is a nuclear power itself. I don't see how Syria, Libya or especially Lebanon pose the same threat.

Sam

Yehuda said...

Sam, those countries are existential threats to Israel, because they regularly threaten Israel's existence. What you are questioning is their ability to carry out their threats. It is certainly true that Iran is much closer to being able to carry out that threat (though the fact that they haven't done it suggests that they aren't yet able).