Yossi Melman at PostGlobal

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. Close.

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. more »

Main Page | Yossi Melman Archives | PostGlobal Archives


Equality’s Last Gasp in Israel

The ideals of equality on which Israel was built are giving way to vicious capitalism. That’s the biggest story of 2007.

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All Comments (78)

finally:

Jews acting like Jews in Israel.

Is this a surprise?

Rorey:

Dear Yossi,

At least some of the Robber Barrons you speak of have left, or failed to come to ruin America. That's good news.

Though we have enough of the type, and they have brought the economy down, particularly in the last few months. YOU KNOW THEIR NAMES.

Some justice that they do the same thing to Israel. Would you like to have them back? They'll probably come when they've eviscerated America's Wall Street. Tho probably go to Switzerland.

As far as how wowwy great Isreal was, how much a role model? When? From day #1 there was the SternGang, only the least of the foul groups killing and evicting Palestinians. Are we going to pretend Golda Mier was a great humanitarian?


disgusted:

Well, THE STORY TODAYYis how fast the POST got
Melman's phony, innacurate story of yesterday
OFF THIS POST!

His little screed about how the report on
Israel's vicious attack on Lebanon
would stop any "peace talks" (on, please)
was self serving. He, like all Israelis, doesn't want peace.

And the resulting posts, in case you missed them, were scathing.

BUT, it all disappeared. And we only get more of him today.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

And where does Israel get 99% of its oil. Yup, you guessed it. They import 99%, 90% from Russia.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Scanning the previous posts I see many who recognize the disaster that has come to be known as the so called “State of Israel”, and just as many who are whistling past the graveyard.

Yossi just doesn’t get it. He is pretending that Israel is just another normal state with the same old problems that any legitimate state must learn to deal with. Nothing could be further from the truth.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Alex says:

“Most of you people need a history lesson; Jewish settlers didn't steal anything.”

Thanks for the post Alex, but you are wrong my friend.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ben says:

“Moreover, why do the Jewish People not deserve a state of their own?”

The Zionist invaders took their land from its rightful owners by force with an assist from the world’s super powers. It will soon be taken back by force.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yes, the Annapolis initiative will fail because the two-state solution is a non starter. The single sectarian state with equal justice for all is the only solution, but it will take WW III to make it happen.

WW III will be the US_Israel axis of evil vs. the Russia_China_Islam axis. Here is a link to the new Russia_China_Iran triangle:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/GF04Ad07.html

June 4, 2005

“The military implementation of the George W Bush administration's unilateralist foreign policy is creating monumental changes in the world's geostrategic alliances. The most significant of these changes is the formation of a new triangle comprised of China, Iran and Russia.

Growing ties between Moscow and Beijing in the past 18 months is an important geopolitical event that has gone practically unnoticed. China's premier, Wen Jiabao, visited Russia in September 2004. In October 2004, President Vladimir Putin visited China. During the October meeting, both China and Russia declared that Sino-Russian relations had reached "unparalleled heights". In addition to settling long-standing border issues, Moscow and Beijing agreed to hold joint military exercises in 2005. This marks the first large-scale military exercises between Russia and China since 1958.

The joint military exercises complement a rapidly growing arms trade between Moscow and Beijing. China is Russia's largest buyer of military equipment. In 2004, China was reported to have signed deals worth more than $2 billion for Russian arms. These included naval ships and submarines, missile systems and aircraft. According to the head of Russia's armed forces, Anatoliy Kvashnin, "our defense industrial complex is working for this country [China], supplying the latest models of arms and military equipment, which the Russian army does not have". Russia's relations with China are not limited to military trade. In the past five years, non-military trade between Russia and China has increased at an average annual rate of nearly 20%. Moscow and Beijing have targeted non-military trade to reach $60 billion by 2010, from $20 billion in 2004. One of the key components of commercial trade is Russian energy exports to China.

In early 2005, Moscow agreed to more than double electricity exports to China, to 800 million kilowatt hours (kWh), by 2006. Officials at Russia's electricity monopoly, Unified Energy Systems, are also courting Chinese investment in the development and renovation of Russia's electricity system. In October 2004, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Russia's Gazprom signed a series of agreements intended to study how Russia can best supply natural gas to China. At the same time, Russia signed specific agreements with China on oil exports.

Russia's oil shipments to China are slated to reach 10 million tons in 2005, increasing to 15 million tons in 2006. All of these shipments will be made by rail. However, this agreement was overshadowed by talks concerning the construction of an oil pipeline from Siberia to northern China. Russia has been pondering an oil pipeline to China for nearly 10 years. In 2002, plans for this pipeline received a boost when Moscow pledged to invest $2 billion in an oil pipeline running from the Siberian city of Angarsk to Daqing in northeastern China…”

The article goes on to say that at the request of Japan, who is willing to finance the entire $10 Billion plus cost of the pipeline, the pipeline will terminate at Russia's Pacific port of Nakhodka. The pipeline will still pass within 40 miles of the Russian border with China, so it will be a simple matter to add a spur directly into China.

So what we have brewing here is an alliance between China, Russia, Iran and possibly Japan. I can see Pakistan and Afghanistan joining this alliance. The question then is which way would Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the other Gulf Oil States go? Iraq would undoubtedly go with their Shiite brethren in Iran. The presence of the Zionist occupiers of Palestine in the US_Israel axis of evil would probably drive the Suni Gulf Oil States to hold their noses and join the Russia_China_Iraq_Iran axis. The future world superpowers will be in the Russia_China_Iraq_Iran axis.

Pat:

It appears that Israel is going the way of America, both people poorer and Democracy lost, bought by the highest bidder.

BMG:

Just in case you were not smart enough to pick up on my post's sarcastic tone, it was written with a good dose of sarcasm pointed at the Israel haters.

mendel:

It is sad when a small elite take too much of a nation's wealth. Since Israel is a democracy, flawed like ours, but a democracy, steps can and will be taken to remedy this. All of you shrieking Israel haters need to cool out and realize that this is a global issue, a result of the economic dislocations caused by globalization, not a manifestation of the fight between Israel and the Arabs.

Israel is a democracy, Arabs vote there (unlike Arab countries where the ruling party garners 99% of the vote), are represented in the Parliament, even serve on the Israeli supreme court. You Israel haters need to get over the establishment of Israel and move on.

BMG:

Can't the whiny Jews just be quiet already. All they do is make so many problems everywhere they go. Just read the bible. In Egypt they were so stubborn in refusing to just be good Egyptians they had to be enslaved to stop them from taking over. And then they had the nerve to still not behave and the Egyptians were forced to teach them a lesson and when the Egyptians went a little over board the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob wiped out most of Egyptian civilization because they Jews wouldn't just sit down and shut up.

Then look what they did. Once they were free they accepted the Jewish Bible from God at Mount Sinai and took God's word to conquer the lands from the Philastines and Cannanites literally. No, the Jews couldn't behave themselves. They wiped out entire groups of people just because they were "pagans" who worshiped Idols and Trees and numerous gods and sacraficed children to these gods. Can't the Jews just learn to accept other peoples beliefs.

Then they claim to be the chosen people. Clearly they have done nothing to be called the chosen people other than direct descent from Abraham, Issac, and Jacob to whom God said he would choose their decendants as His people.

Moreover, they are not the only monotheistic religion in the world either. Its not as if they have a monopoly on the Old Testament. Muslim and Christain theologies all accept the Old Testament as truth. The Jews need to learn to share more.

And why are they always trying to fullfill that promise God made to Abraham about making his descendants minsiters to the nations. Come on. Did they have to give advice to the leaders of so many nations: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Persia, Ancient Babylon, Ancient Rome, not to mention the Ottoman Empire, the Moors in Spain and the Christains in Spain, the Ottoman's in Egypt, and now the United States too. Come on people, let somebody else have a chance.

And why are they always so into money? Just because they have historically been precluded from most professions except those involving money can't they just find something else to do? Come on Alan Greenspan, did you have to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board for so long? Can't you just keep your talent to yourself?

Moreover, do they have to be so into science. Come on. Couldn't somebody else have have been allowed to invent a vaccine for polio, or allow some other group to come up with the Theory of Relativity?

And why can't you just live somewhere other than in a Jewish state? Its not like the Jews haven't been kicked out of every nation on earth in which they have lived or opppressed there (with the exception of the United States). Israel is less than 1% of the Middle East. Can't you just let the Arabs who control the other 99% have just this little bit, too. Come on, the Arabs love it so much that they even renamed a part of the people Palestinians (after the ancient Philastines) when the Jews started to move back there when nobody in the world really cared about the place.

john mcmichael:

Isriel is not a democracy it is a goverment that openly refuses to recognize or tolerater other religions. It discriminates against people other than Israelis. Above all it oppresses a whole class of people Arabs mostly. Even those Arabs they consider citizens. Lets not forget all the international laws they are accused of violating but not being held accountable due to U.S. veto power at the U.N.and violation of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. Democracy not a chance if so I can not support this type of democracy.

john mcmichael:

Isriel is not a democracy it is a goverment that openly refuses to recognize or tolerater other religions. It discriminates against people other than Israelis. Above all it oppresses a whole class of people Arabs mostly. Even those Arabs they consider citizens. Lets not forget all the international laws they are accused of violating but not being held accountable due to U.S. veto power at the U.N.and violation of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. Democracy not a chance if so I can not support this type of democracy.

john mcmichael:

Isriel is not a democracy it is a goverment that openly refuses to recognize or tolerater other religions. It discriminates against people other than Israelis. Above all it oppresses a whole class of people Arabs mostly. Even those Arabs they consider citizens. Lets not forget all the international laws they are accused of violating but not being held accountable due to U.S. veto power at the U.N.and violation of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. Democracy not a chance if so I can not support this type of democracy.

john mcmichael:

Isriel is not a democracy it is a goverment that openly refuses to recognize or tolerater other religions. It discriminates against people other than Israelis. Above all it oppresses a whole class of people Arabs mostly. Even those Arabs they consider citizens. Lets not forget all the international laws they are accused of violating but not being held accountable due to U.S. veto power at the U.N.and violation of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. Democracy not a chance if so I can not support this type of democracy.

Ben:

Israel is in fact a democracy. All citizens living in Israel proper are allowed to vote. The Palestinians are not citizens of Israel. They live in lands conquered by Egypt and Jordan and then lost to Israel in the Six Days War. Numerous offers of a state of their own have been rejected by the Palestinians. In 1948 they were offered a state of their own and rejected it, only to be conqured by Arab countries. In 2000 they rejected an offer of a state of their own.

Moreover, why do the Jewish People not deserve a state of their own? The Arab People have numerous states of their own as do the French and others. Why is it only the Jewish People who are blamed for wanting a state of their own?

The Arabs living in Israel have the highest standard of living and greatest freedom of All Arabs living in the Middle East.

Tom:

Israel is a Democracy? I can think of a few thousand Arabs who live there and would NOT agree with that statement.

jon:

the kibbutz sector only continues to exist due to massive subsidization by the government. For a long time, it existed as an imposition on the society by the philosophers of Labor Zionism. Kibbutzes do not retain their young. Those that survive have made accommodation after accommodation to greater individual and family autonomy.

Mr. Melman compares a wealth statistic of a group of individuals to an income statistic (GDP). Analytically, apples to oranges. However, I don't doubt there is concentration of wealth and that his poverty statistics are accurate.

Israel's new wealth is not derived from land exploitation or oppression of poor Jews, Arabs, and immigrant workers. Rather, the dynamic sector is the tech sector, energized at least in part by the influx of engineers from Russia.

I'd be curious as to the breakdown of the increasingly concentrated wealth by industry.

Mike:

If Israel wants to sink into the economic despair of her surrounding Arab neighbors, then by all means - take Mr. Melman's advice and tax the rich to "save the poor." Israel's employment numbers are at their lowest in a long time, so let's not screw it up by falling for these harmful wealth redistribution schemes and populist appeals to class warfare.

Eli Passow:

Mr. Melman is correct in much of what he writes. However, one point needs clarification: Poverty in Israel is defined in relative terms, rather than absolute ones. A person in Israel is deemed to be poor if his income is below one-half of the average wage in the country. Thus, no matter how rich Israel becomes, and no matter how well the wealth is distributed, there will always be a substantial number of people who will be considered poor.

Eli Passow
Jerusalem

Lisa in London:

YM"To understand how the country’s wealth is concentrated in few hands, one has to read the Israeli business daily The Marker. The paper estimated the accumulated wealth of the 500 richest people in the country to be around 300 billion shekels (US $75 billion). By contrast, Israel’s GDP is 567 billion shekels (US$130 billion). Israel is now on the Top Ten list of nations with the widest socio-economic gap. Pensions have been reduced. Social security benefits have been cut. In 2005-7, Israel produced more millionaires per capita than any other country. But it also pushed more people back beneath the poverty line than any other western nation in the last decade.
Israel’s Social Security Institute defines the poverty line as an income of 1,744 shekels (US$400) per month per individual, or 4,361 shekels (US$1100) per family of four. One and half million people, or 20 percent of the population, live under the poverty line. That means that thirty-four percent of Israeli children live in poverty."

This is far more serious than the shelling from Gaza...but none of these problems will be addressed until the occupation ends....

Paul:

America's gift to the world ... unbridled greed and corruption.

D Leven:

It is not democracy which is being killed by capitalism...but socialism.

Sean O Connor:

"One and half million people, or 20 percent of the population, live under the poverty line. That means that thirty-four percent of Israeli children live in poverty."

How do these figures break down "ethnically"? Who are this 20%?

Harkadahl:

The worship of money, power and military might are what Zionists and Republicans share. In a more diluted sense these are the things that created and glue Israel together. Remember that the country was created for the primary purpose of providing America a strong foothold in an oil rich region. The cover story was to provide Jews sanctuary from persecution. Of course, justice would have been served if a part of Germany was made the Jewish homeland (or part of America seeing as they are so generous with other people's land!!), but no, that didn't quite fit in with corporate oil ambitions in the US and with fanatical codswallop about promised lands in the Jewish theocratic elite. Naked exploitive greed, dressed up in anodyne phrases like "free market" are part and parcel of the American way (much to Jesus's disgust), and greed will find company anywhere - even in a people still reeling from appalling WW2 traumas.

Klem:

Hi Yossi!

Time to thank God for Milton Friedman!

Greed is virtue in the free market--

George Albert:

Mellman is a old time communist and Jew hater. What does the WAPO constantly give space to the Jew haters like Mellman and not to people that actually believe that Jews are at least equal to every other nation in the world??

Ali Ansari:

Really? But haven't Arabs always been treated like crap since Israel's inception? Where was equality for non-Jewish Arabs?

bob:

In 1948 I emigrated to Israel as a "Betarim", a member of the Irgun's youth group. After only two years I was disillusioned by the materialism of a large part of Israeli society and returned to the U.S. This story is no surprise.

Jim Mann:

"Israel was once a role model ... trying to maintain as equal and just a society as possible" - Y. Melman. YEAH, right: how does a nation with segregated housing, segregated schools, segregated military, and a religion-based immigration policy get off calling itself a "role model"? This is the ultimate zionist Big Lie, which the WaPo has been peddling for years. Unfortunately, we don't believe it anymore.

Michael:

Okay, those points are all valid; well stated. However, what are we to do about them?? Short of reverting to socialism, I don't see any avenue of recourse.

jsinton:

Israel is NOT a true democracy, unless you're a Jew. Having said that glaring fact, it's really a corporatocracy, much like the US and the rest of the world. It's the "robber barrons" that really call the shots in this world, democracy is but an inconvinent myth. The robber barrons know no nationality or religion, other than the love of money and power.

Magister:

Ahmed Ala

You've said it brother

The Other Alan:

Let's not forget the other golden calf worshipped by Israel- Zionism. This ideology (not yet the Jewish religion, but working on it) is predicated on Jewish separatism, anti-nativism, and dominance, and has at least as much to do with bankrupting the soul of Israel. It doesn't take much to extend the disdain for some co-habitants to disdain for all co-habitants.

winemaster2:

The name of the game is greed creed and the Jewish folks are at the fore front in droves following the conservative republicans with their perversity of inequality and rights only of their kind. Along with the ideology of apartheid in their hearts, the results will be a disaster. Some of the ramifications are already realized and much more is on the horizon.

test:

123

Ghost Dansing:

Way too much interaction with American Republicans..... Can't really blame worship of laissez faire globalist economics on American Republicans but their approach is certainly parallel to those described here and it is obvious they (Republicans) have been on the inside track with respect to Israel's political elite.

Israel has a rich culture that goes beyond the original motivations for that Nation's emergence..... Some of the finest historical figures in National Leadership in the world. To reduce that to matters of an extreme economic ideology would be a shame.

Very interesting article. Perhaps a great article. Israel truly remains a fine example of Liberal Democracy enjoying the robust participation of the citizenry. A thank you to Mr. Melman.

Ed:

You have got to be kidding.

I was in Israel more than 30 years ago. It was a poor and non-progressive country. I said at that time that two things must be done. It must rid itself of its socialist past and dreams and it must stop treating the Arabs like slaves.

At least it jettisoned socialism. Clearly socialism does not work. It stifles creativity, progress, and economic wealth for a courntry as a whole.

One need only look to China to see the enormous drop in poverty once capitalism is allowed to flourish.

Yes, in capitalism there are winners and losers. That is how it should be because those who are not productive and innovative lose. People are not equal, not because of their race, creed or color, but because of their ability.

Zoondl Velvel ben Yitchak:

We were advised in the Torah about worshiping the Golden calf. In this case, the golden calf is money. If Israel continues on its present route, it will suffer the consequences. I did not know that this was going on in Israel and I shall now be forced to rethink any further contributions to Israel.

JandD:

Yossi Melman, the difference between you and Israel is when your screaming in the darkness of the grave Israel will be shinning in God's glory.
I love Israel and hate all who hate her.

strange:

strange that the author would lament globalization as equality's last gasp. on the contrary, globalization is a ray of hope in bringing equality to an otherwise morally bankrupt society that profits through oppression and occupation.

perhaps the newly impoverished jews will band with the palestinians?

dan freedman:

the usual thing is to blame it on the jews.

Mike D.:

Capitalism runs roughshod over equality.

Uh, gee, this just in...

Mario:

well thats so interesting..and I used to think that that mexico was that worst...i have an super billonarie almost as rich as Bill Gates, Mr.Slim helu thanks 4 the remarks...someday israel will be at peace.

Patti O'Riley:

The US had a Kibbutz culture in the 60s. Hippie filled Communes were all the rage then, but communes universally suffered withering deaths as members did not appreciate the contributions of others nor felt sufficiently appreciated for their own contributions.

Thankfully, the Hippie culture withered and those odor challenged individuals got to work being capitalists – they’ve helped build quite a prosperous country for us all. The awful capitalism the writer laments so eloquently is how the bright Israelis bring their ideas to the world and put bread on their table. No devil in disguise there.

If politicians are corrupt, then vote in reformers -- the writer stresses that Israeli democracy is still strong. On the other hand, if everyone is corrupt, then you have a cultural issue in common with your Arab neighbors.

SEO:

Zionist/communists meet the House of Rothschild in the Promised Land. What a concept!
A while ago I was reading an article about developments in the hills outside of Jerusalem in what was Arab land. Was this about Zionist zealots squatting on land for the future of their People? No, it was about more square feet and better amenities at a lower price.
SEO

Yep:

Education? Sympathy? for palestians ... sympathy is the last thing an arab man will except...

As for education and a way out of the 'morass' .. u wish things for the palestians that they have never really had before, and that most arab states still fail to provide ... even those with large GDP's ...

Reality must not be removed from all the rhetoric ...

SteveMD2 reply to Alex:

Some of what you say is true, but of course the conditions of the Arab / Palestinians breeds resentment. They don't deserve what they have. They deserve some education, sympathy, and a way out of the morass they are in, whether it is their fault, Israel's fault, the world's fault, or most like all the parties fault.

Yep:

Re the history of palestine ...

Every suffering people can surely blame their predicament on other peoples? ... this is probably true ...history is just a series of injustices ...

But anyone that has any idea about the history of the middle east and the injustices in that particular region knows the following:

The palestinians are victims of 2 things and 2 things only ...
1. The stupidity and prejudice of their arab neighbours. Particulalry Jordan and Egypt who were their previous occupiers.
2. And their own stupidity and prejudice for declaring an enternal path of hatred and intolerance ...

The youth of today are niave if they see israel as the rich power of the region who victimised palestine ... the period of importance between the 40s and 70's that define the current strife had israel as the outnumbered underdog fighting for survival ... the arab 'drive the jews to the sea policy', however well though-out, failed.
Israel, the one oil-less country in the middle east, and the poor arab neighbours who only have ALL the oil resources, and now even jordan and egypt have come to their senses and have left palestinians to pursue the hateful policy on their own ...

The only people who have ever helped palestinians is israel the usa and the EU ... where are the oil billions that the poor palestinians need? its busy funding fanatics to spread hatred and keep palestinians in their squalor ...

how can we help people who dont help themselves ...

PS: everything about israel and the middle east always comes back to these issues ... mainly because they are just do interesting!

SteveMD2:

I am astonished! Has the criminal of the US White House, whose grandfather Prescott Bush's bank helped bankroll the Krupp empire and the (re)arming of the Nazis war machine taken over Israel?

And isn't part of the definition of Fascism something like when big business gains control of the government, in order to feed it's God of Greed, who here hides within the Christian Cross?

You are in deep trouble, my friends, if this article is true. For example, Bush rallies his right wing Christian voters with "values" messages. That is part of what another nefarious individual did during the 30's, to usse hatred against Jews and Gays and other minorities like gypsies to gain total power and we all know what happened.

And you have the new state of Hamasistan on your border, thanks to how Bush's Iraq catastrophe has encouraged Muslim extremist terrorist groups to do their dirty deeds. And you had the summer Hizbollah war for the same reason.

I'm sorry politics makes such rotten bedfellows as we say here - that your nation has to deal with the worst and most crooked administration in history in my country. But if you do have wild capitalism taking over, you have a problem, a big one. For as the middle class and opportunities to join the middle class shrink, you will have more and more terrified and distraught people looking for a solution - any solution. And to review a bit more of history, why did Germany vote in that maniac back about 1933- because their economy was destroyed, and prices doubled twice a day. As a youth, I wondered why in my stamp collection I had stamps of e.g. 30,000 DM. I thought I was rich, until I realized these were free samples.

Those of the God of Greed always lurk around the corner, awaiting their chance to satisfy their obsessive desires, but like an alcoholic, each drink begets the need for more. Be forewarned! Be vigilant! And somehow realize that I bet there are a large number of Palestinians, who if they had decent leadership instead of their own hate mongers, would be glad to do business with you, be your friends, and build a successful nation. But as an American observer, what I see is the Israeli right wing, with their Torahs, claiming all their disputed land is theirs alone, forgetting your neighbors, many of whose ancestors lived there for generation after generation. And it makes me concerned that the right wing and ultra orthodox in Israel are as much an enemy and impediment to peace as Hamas, etc. And many people in the USA are beginning to understand that point, and question whether we should put so much of our foreign policy in the hands of another nation with (re)expansionist goals, but no solution for your so closely related neighbors.

Adamy:

1 million arabs happily in israel .. thats like 1 in 6... and there are many more happy arabs in our great 'western' lands ... makes you think huh?

Non-arab are way beyond second class citizens in arab countries ... including and especially non-arab muslims ...it is simply rediculous to point out that the legal benefits the jewish state of israel gives its jewish citizens make it an unjust and ...

But not that that matters ... NOBODY is happy in arab coutries ... they are desert-like, poor, and have social restrictions that most of us learnt 3 hundred years ago will cause a major stifling of social and intellectual development ... they have got some basic human rights, freedom and secularity lessons to learn before they have any credibility as a 'partner' to peace or even as a population to be respected ...

unless of course israel is no longer labelled as the problem in the middle-east ... or we no longer believe in the equality of women and the separation of church and state ..

Ari:

"Israel was once a role model, one of the world’s most advanced and sophisticated social democracies,..."

This is absolutely false. Israel has no constitution. It does not guarantee its citizens the most basic human rights. It has never been a social democracy - nor does it appear that it will become one in the near future.

Oliver:

You are experiencing in your homeland the same problems that you and your robber "BARONS" have created here....Also a weakness in your resolve to defend yourselves as we have here.....

Anonymous:

1 million arabs live happily in israel - like 1 in 6... and there millions more happily in the USA and other western states ...

Non-arabs are barely welcome in most arab states and unquestionalby are legally 2nd class if they choose to stay .. oh .. and NOONE is happily in arab countries ...

Makes you think huh?

Israel must be the spawn of satan!

Israel's is the best thing ever to happen to the middle east - a rationale people governing themselves (almost) ... wow ...

Adam:

What annoys me is the mere mention of Israel ignites a flurry of ignorant rants (by both sides) detailing false accounts of middle eastern history. The topic of Melman's piece was the effects of globalization on Israel and the growing wealth disparity amongst its citizens. Yet rather than have a focused conversation, all the comments fall back to the same old stupid arguments. It is no wonder why things never change in the political dialogue. If for once, we can read something for what its worth, I think there might be a chance to properly assess how to move forward in relation to the Palestinians/Israelis and the subject matter Mr. Melman wrote about.

Alex:

Most of you people need a history lesson; Jewish settlers didn't steal anything. They bought the land, considered worthless, by vastly overpaying Arab landowners who sold out the few Bedouin tribes that had managed to scrape by at the time. As the desert began to bloom, Arabs flocked to the area in search of better jobs, money, opportunities etc provided by Jewish development. "Palestine" has never existed as an independent entity and was always under the control of an occupying power like the Ottomans who were followed by the British, who divided it into a Jewish and Arab state. Israel didn't kick any of her Arabs out, but they were encouraged to flee because their Muslim brothers promised they would rape/kill/drive the Jews to the sea. Unfortunately for them, it didn't happen and they were stuck in little refugee camps too proud to return to their original villages. It doesn't really bother me any more when some anti-Semite spews the same old propaganda. One day, the Arabs will learn to swallow their pride and cooperate with Israel. Until then, they shall enjoy absolutely destitute conditions, enormous infant mortality rates, and other factors that result in a generally horrendous existence. Justice is served.

harikumar:

with globalization there will be a change in the mind-set of people all over the earth. the robber barons will realize the futility of amassing wealth. Like Bill Gates and the like, wealth will be utilized to solve the major problems of the world and the benefit will go to people all over the world. that is the benefit of globalization. the aims of kibutz will be realized through science and technology. that will be the way.

In India too, we see the same principles working. Don't be surprised in another decade or two the richest 10 individuals in the world will be indians or chinese and not americans or japanese. then this is a temporary phase.

harikumar mumbai india

harikumar:

with globalization there will be a change in the mind-set of people all over the earth. the robber barons will realize the futility of amassing wealth. Like Bill Gates and the like, wealth will be utilized to solve the major problems of the world and the benefit will go to people all over the world. that is the benefit of globalization. the aims of kibutz will be realized through science and technology. that will be the way.

In India too, we see the same principles working. Don't be surprised in another decade or two the richest 10 individuals in the world will be indians or chinese and not americans or japanese. then this is a temporary phase.

harikumar mumbai india

harikumar:

with globalization there will be a change in the mind-set of people all over the earth. the robber barons will realize the futility of amassing wealth. Like Bill Gates and the like, wealth will be utilized to solve the major problems of the world and the benefit will go to people all over the world. that is the benefit of globalization. the aims of kibutz will be realized through science and technology. that will be the way.

In India too, we see the same principles working. Don't be surprised in another decade or two the richest 10 individuals in the world will be indians or chinese and not americans or japanese. then this is a temporary phase.

harikumar mumbai india

N Gabert:

How rare, indeed, to see anything in print in this country that gives a more accurate description of Israel. Thank you for your article. Add to this Israel's ignoring of its profitable sex slave trade,unfair treatment and reduced rights of non-Jews, etc., and one begins to see how different the real world is from what Americans are fed regularly.

Nael:

The results of the ugly occupation is now coming to fruition. How long can Israel sustain its occupation and continue to ignore its very fundamental foundation of equality and complete disregard for the homelessness, poverty, and corruption. All in the disguise of War on Terror.

Occupation is dragging Israel down.

How many people live above the poverty line? How many people are homeless? How many people go hungry? And yet Israel has money for Occupation and War!!! Where is Israels priority? Oh wait, its like the article states, Israel is run but "Robber Barrons" a bunch of thugs that horde all of its natural resources at the expense of its own population.

The Extremist Zionist want you to believe this is God's land yet they go back to worship the very thing Moses Peace be upon him prohibited. The worship of money!!!!

Don't worry the USA will save Israel since it's the 51st state of USA.

Chris Fox:

What else could anyone have possibly expected? Without regulations the wealthy exert influence over government to enable their further concentrating wealth. "Free market" is just the latest shade of lipstick for this pig of a social system. If you want to know how it ends up, look at any Central American dictatorship.

stearm:

These trends in the distribution of income are 'global', in the sense that the same is happening all over the world and quite independently from the political and institutional responses of individual countries... it would be a miracle if Israel were different.

PerversityinAmerica.com:

Finally some truths from Yossi.

Like the USA, greed is king. I don't call such democracies "vital" but instead dying democracies, former democracies, corrupted republics -- unless the citizens themselves urgently change the course things will continue toward implosion and entropy.

Meanwhile, we the lazy, apathetic, easily manipulated lemmings get the governments we deserve.

Anonymous:

Oh the irony of all the Israeli haters. All the bad mouthing of Israel...Yet the most recent poll shows over 80% of Israeli Arabs living in Jerusalem prefer to remain Israeli. Over 80%!

"I don't want to have any part in the PA. I want the health insurance, the schools, all the things we get by living here," says Ranya Mohammed. "I'll go and live in Israel before I'll stay here and live under the PA, even if it means taking an Israeli passport. I have seen their suffering in the PA. We have a lot of privileges I'm not ready to give up."

"I want to live in peace and to raise my children in an orderly school," says Jamil Sanduqa. "I don't want to raise my child on throwing stones, or on Hamas."

Not something that will be seen in the mainstream media. And certainly not something that will be heard from any of the self-defeating palestinans who prefer violence to peace and prosperity.

Isn't it Funny:

All the bad mouthing of Israel...Yet the most recent poll shows over 80% of Israeli Arabs living in Jerusalem prefer to remain Israeli. Over 80%!
"I don't want to have any part in the PA. I want the health insurance, the schools, all the things we get by living here," says Ranya Mohammed. "I'll go and live in Israel before I'll stay here and live under the PA, even if it means taking an Israeli passport. I have seen their suffering in the PA. We have a lot of privileges I'm not ready to give up."
"I want to live in peace and to raise my children in an orderly school," says Jamil Sanduqa. "I don't want to raise my child on throwing stones, or on Hamas."

Not something that will be seen in the mainstream media. And certainly not something that will be heard from any of the self-defeating palestinans who prefer violence to peace and prosperity.

JBE:

Its hard for me, and american Jew, to think of Israel as an egalitarian society.

It is very easy for me to think of Israel as a ultra nationalist, near-communist nation.

Why NOT egalitarian?


Well an elgalitarian nation would not keep an entire indigenous population in a ghetto, under the gun, as we Jews were kept in europe. Yet keep them under fire we do. Yes it takes two to tango - but since we're the ones with the guns, tanks, and water that ran them off of their land and refuse to let them return... well it isn't very egalitarian. Nor is it very "Jewish" behavior, is it?.

Why do I see a nationalist, near communist nation?
Combine Mr. Melman's comments with reality on the ground, and you've got it. Or, just listen to the fundamentalist, hardcore evangelical christians who support Israel, like my sister... They've memorized the rhetoric pretty well... Sis even moved to Israel.

So no. I don't see a compassionate, egalitarian nation. I see a communist/nationalist nation. One that pays its citizens to go to radical right wing fundamentalist training and supports them on welfare. One that occupies other peoples. One that is trying to be modern, and western on the one hand, but is murderous and corrupt on the other.

Raphael :

Zionism is coming to an end. As it should. Should we be shocked to read that a society built on the oppression of another people (Palestinians) is "losing" its soul. When did Israel ever have a soul?

Kyprios928:

What are we to make from this article that we did not know before? Did anyone doubted the wealth of Israel? What is surprising is thay they still call Israel a democracy and not a "THEOCRACY." Everyone knows that the riches that these oligarhs amassed is on the cheap labor of Palestinians and the illegal confiscation of the Palestinian lands.Does anyone dispute that Israel get more aid from the United States than any tax paying State of the United States? Why is it that when America proposed to make Israel, like Hawaii and Alaska, a state or a protectorate they refused? I shall tell you why. Why be satisfied with a wheel of a Rolls Royce when you can have the whole car? I think that Israel must stop and think that the US milk cow will not go on for ever, and then Israel will decline just as the United States will in the very near future.

Ken:

Apparently, Bush's tragic "trickle down" economics - where the middle class and poor are trampled and rich people are given money (massive tax cuts) so they will vote for and pay money to Bush-types - has spread to Israel.

I just cringe as Bush repeatedly brags about the millions of dollars that rich people are going to refund to him when he gives "speeches" to them after he leaves office.

Hopefully, the intelligent people of Israel will end the society-wrecking madness of forfeiting their nation to the rich before it ruins their marvelous country.

Lart from Above:

Israel's right wing has set the example for the Republicans to follow: exaggerated external threat, constant war, drumbeat of xenophoblic propaganda in the media, repression of individual liberties, corruption channeling benefits of state largesse to well-connected individuals and families.

Hitler used a lot of these tactics back in the '30s, which is why the early Israeli democracy avoided these. But that was then. People forget how things happened.

Fortunately it looks like America has learned its mistake and isn't likely to put up with Republican rule for much longer. Many in Israel understand the problem, but collectively they are still taking two steps backwards for each step forwards. Peace can bring security, but security without justice can't bring peace. Rabin must be rolling in his grave.

Ahmed Ala':

The kibbutz was always a myth. While the liberal west remained oblivious, Palestinians have always been aware that many of the kibbutzim were built on the ruins of Palestinian villages and on expropriated lands. Also, the kibbutzim relied on labor of Mizrahi Jews brought in the 1950s from Arab countries. These Arab Jews were badly mistreated by the European Jewish elites. In other words, Israel was built from day one on injustice, conquest and exploitation. Only those who ignored the existence of all these victims ever believed in its mythology of "socialism" and egalitarianism. While there are gross disparities among Jews (with Europeans generally being at the top of the ladder and Mizrahim and Ethiopians being at the bottom) even bigger disparities exist between Israel's Jewish citizens and its Palestinian citizens. This is a result of state policy and systematic discrimination in land, housing, employment and especially education. The education system that exists in Israel is like the "separate and unequal" that was ruled unconstitutional in the United States in Brown vs. Board of Education.

As a Palestinian-American it always amazes me how so many Americans see Israel as some sort of example. Yes, it is an example -- of what to avoid!

Ben:

To the previous posters: Your comments are unrelated to the article and nothing more than anit-Semitic nonsense. Too bad for you the Jews always manage to out live those who seek to destroy them.

S Muhlberger:

"A democracy in decay" is not a "vital democracy." Which is it?

Titus Marcus:

Proud Iraqi Sunni: But, just think my friend if there were no Sunni and Shia to-day: no 9/11; no blowing up Christians in the Phillipines; Buddists in Thailand; Setting fire to Hindus in India; Cutting off Jew's heads in Pakistan and blowing up Christian churches in the country;No Blowing up tourist spots in Bali frequented by Aussies and Hindus;No pizza shops, buses,and night clubs in Israel blown up by zombie bombers; no Christians blown up in Indonisia;and finally no Shia and Sunni blowing each other up. Ah, those would be the days. All the best. The Zionists love you.

MHughes976:

Cyrus did at least found an empire in which peopleof many different religions all felt at home. The Jewish citizens recognised him as elected and anointed by God. Those were the days.

MHughes976:

Cyrus did at least found an empire in which peopleof many different religions all felt at home. The Jewish citizens recognised him as elected and anointed by God. Those were the days.

newageblues:

The nasty similarities between Israel and the US keep piling up. Greed, corruption, militarism, religious fanaticism, shrugging off the future. Wish all the hardworking people in both countries could get the jokers out of our face.

Titus marcus:

Rick of Arabia was not the first poster ? Where is the canned rant about Zionist invaders ? Yossi did well.

Thank you:

That is very close to my point:

"Israel is still a vital democracy, but it is a democracy in decay. The champions of social justice and rational distribution of national wealth – the fighters of corruption – struggle to swim upstream. Israel in 2007 has further lost its old ideals and its soul."

Israel has never been a democracy.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.