Parashat Shmini Leviticus 11:1-11:47 – Clean and Unclean Food 05.04.13

Parashat Shmini Leviticus 11:1-11:47 – Clean and Unclean Food 05.04.13

by

Howard Adelman

I was brought up in a kosher home. The first time I ate treif (food that does not conform to Jewish kashrut dietary laws) was when I was 16. A bunch of us committed the sin together. We went down to 91/2. That was a restaurant on Elizabeth Street in Toronto (#91/2) located on the second floor of an old house in the old Chinatown which is where Nathan Philips Square is now located. I had sweet and sour pork spareribs. I can taste them until today. I am sure I had the same sensation as others when eating delectable but forbidden food, all the more delicious because it was forbidden and never before eaten, as I broke God’s and, more importantly, my mother’s commandments to never eat treif. Pork is treif for though pigs have cloven hooves, they do not ruminate (chew their cud). Mohandas Gandhi in his biography recorded the same type of sensation when he was in London as a student and ate meat for the first time in his life. His best friend, a Muslim, accompanied him and ate pork. We were all sinners.

When I reread this section in Leviticus, my only surprise was the following passage: There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper”(Lev. 11:21-22). Up until now, I never recalled reading that passage. I did not know that locusts, katydids, crickets and grasshoppers were kosher. I thought of being in Bangkok at the market and holding my nose in disdain at the idea of eating a deep fried katydid or grasshopper sitting on a tray of a street vendor. As I read the passage, I thought: I should have tried that grasshopper. After all, they are kosher. But locusts are evidently more meaty than the crunchy grasshoppers. They are probably too salty though for me. In any case, they are a taste sensation I have never had.

Quite aside from impurities indicated by defects or improper slaughter, why are some animals, mammals, fish, birds and insects considered unclean or impure while others are classified as pure and suitable to eat? Or is looking for rationality in this list itself a stupid question? My daughter Rachel, an Orthodox Israeli biblical scholar who now teaches at a rabbinic college in Boston and checks my commentaries for egregious errors but disdains taking any responsibility for my wild writings, keeps kosher. It creates minor complications and inconveniences when she eats here or at the homes of one of her siblings. But she accommodates and adapts with a smile while the hosts – her sister or my wife – are very considerate but less amused by what they consider an idiosyncrasy but one for which I have a nostalgic indulgence. However, I have heard from modern families who are so upset that one or two of their children have returned to eating kosher food that it totally upsets the family harmony. They think their children have joined a cult and that deciding to eat kosher divides the family at Friday meals and holiday occasions.

If some animals were impure, why did God save them from the flood and tell Noah to bring all the animals on the ark, both the clean and unclean? When I was a kid, we were told the reasons were for standards of health. Pigs in particular were regarded as filthy. Yet pigs are one of the most intelligent and friendly animals and are, in fact, very clean. This is very evident if you visit a modern pig farm. Pigs don’t like to wallow in mud except to cool off from the heat (they don’t sweat to cool off) and prefer to be clean. Jews, and probably Muslims as well, have given pigs a bad rap. Just as homosexuality is regarded as an abomination in the Torah, so are pigs. I recall insults that called friends "dirty pigs". Though not equivalent to being anti-Semitic, we were certainly guilty of prejudice against pigs; we were anti-porkers. And with very little if any justification! However, by not eating pigs, the lives of the pigs were saved and they were not sent to be slaughtered. Perhaps the Bible designating animals as clean was the real disservice for those animals got eaten.

Modern health foodies and especially vegans are more kosher than Jews for they are conscious of everything they eat and are wary of putting anything in their bodies that defile it for they regard their bodies as temples. I am a heathen in comparison who worships eating fresh bagels – though I am now on a deprivation diet for four months. If I stop eating bagels, I lose weight. However, I regard anyone who toasts a fresh bagel as being not simply unappreciative of this magnificent food but as a real defiler and sinner. That is what for me is really unkosher – toasting a bagel – my God!

More seriously, if hygiene was a rationale for these divisions, it may have been valid to some degree for pork in a hot weather climate but has little if any validity today. If, more likely, the designation ‘kosher’ was used to draw a fat dark and definite line between the ethical and the unethical, the worshipper and the pagan, between affirmation of life and attachment to death, between the sacred and the profane, or to formalize the separation between Jews and gentiles, my own suspicion is that in the present world it only works to some degree with respect to the last dichotomy.

But I do not believe kosher laws necessarily have a heuristic purpose. They are chukim, laws without a rational explanation but which may have a functional result, namely to help Jews maintain a distinct and separate existence from other peoples and inhibit intermarriage with non-Jews by serving as daily reminders to those who keep kashrut as Jews.

They may be right.

Leviticus Chapter 11:

11 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: 3 You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.

4 “‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you.7 And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

9 “‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to regard as unclean.11 And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their carcasses as unclean. 12 Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you.

13 “‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle,[a] the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

20 “‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. 21 There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. 22 Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. 23 But all other flying insects that have four legs you are to regard as unclean.

24 “‘You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 25 Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.

26 “‘Every animal that does not have a divided hoof or that does not chew the cud is unclean for you; whoever touches the carcass of any of them will be unclean. 27 Of all the animals that walk on all fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 28 Anyone who picks up their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. These animals are unclean for you.

29 “‘Of the animals that move along the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, 30 the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon. 31 Of all those that move along the ground, these are unclean for you. Whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean till evening. 32 When one of them dies and falls on something, that article, whatever its use, will be unclean, whether it is made of wood, cloth, hide or sackcloth. Put it in water; it will be unclean till evening, and then it will be clean. 33 If one of them falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean, and you must break the pot. 34 Any food you are allowed to eat that has come into contact with water from any such pot is unclean, and any liquid that is drunk from such a pot is unclean. 35 Anything that one of their carcasses falls on becomes unclean; an oven or cooking pot must be broken up. They are unclean, and you are to regard them as unclean. 36 A spring, however, or a cistern for collecting water remains clean, but anyone who touches one of these carcasses is unclean. 37 If a carcass falls on any seeds that are to be planted, they remain clean. 38 But if water has been put on the seed and a carcass falls on it, it is unclean for you.

39 “‘If an animal that you are allowed to eat dies, anyone who touches its carcass will be unclean till evening. 40 Anyone who eats some of its carcassmust wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. Anyone who picks up the carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.

41 “‘Every creature that moves along the ground is to be regarded as unclean; it is not to be eaten. 42 You are not to eat any creature that moves along the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is unclean. 43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 44 I am theLord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45 I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

46 “‘These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves about in the water and every creature that moves along the ground.47 You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.’”

Shmini Leviticus 11.5.04.13.rev..doc

Canadian Jewish Voting and Israel.04/04/13

Canadian Jewish Voting and Israel 04.04.13

by

Howard Adelman

Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada and a newly minted writer for the Huffington Post, published his first opinion piece on 4 April in the form of a question: "Will the Jewish Community Choose Trudeau Over Harper?" It is not a real question for a number of reasons, but primarily because the Jewish community is not a voting monolith. It never has been. When I attended Harbord Collegiate years ago, in my row of seats there was my politically unaligned self in the first seat (my name began with an A) and a communist sitting behind me. Behind him sat a supporter of the CCF and behind that a Liberal Party and then a Conservative Party supporter. We were all Jewish. This high school during the 1950s was 95% Jewish. All those behind me went on to become practicing physicians. Their political ideologies and voting patterns probably also started to converge.

By the end of the twentieth century, the pattern of a wide diversity among the Jewish electorate had dissipated and the largest majority of Jews in Canada voted for the Liberal Party, although fracture lines had begun to show in both the Pierre Trudeau government and the Jean Chretien government from 1993 to 2003 that succeeded the Conservative interregnum government of Brian Mulroney. However, Joe Clark in 1979-80 with his stumbled initiative on moving the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem and Brian Mulroney in spite of his very strong support for Israel were never able to take advantage of those cracks to develop a significant opening for Tories to broaden their support from Jews. The Tory party under Mulroney was still too much of a mismatched collection of prairie traditional conservatives, Ontario Red and Big Business Tories and soft Quebec nationalists. Chretien’s Liberal government had supported a two-state solution and Israel’s right to exist within secure borders but opposed expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza as well as the building of the security fence on West Bank territory and in East Jerusalem. The Liberals always condemned Palestinian terrorism but then offset this by criticizing Israeli retaliation as disproportionate or excessive. Further, at the UN, when Howard’s government in Australia (and the USA) backed Israel, Canada either abstained or voted for UN resolutions critical of Israel.

The crack then became an actual gap as Jewish voters began to slip away and no longer voted for Liberals at rates 20% higher than the average other minority group; the rate, though still overwhelming in its support for the Liberal Party, had slipped to just 10% above as Frank Dimant well understands for he co-edited the 2001 volume with Ruth Klein, From Immigration to Integration, The Canadian Jewish Experience: A Millennium Edition in which David Goldberg initially pointed to this slight shift in his essay, "The Post-Statehood Relationship: A Growing Friendship". Ezra Levant had already asked in 2000, "Is the Jewish love affair with the Liberals over?" in the National Post (13 October).

Canada had just voted on 7 October 2000 to condemn Israel at the United Nations by using its seat on the UN Security Council to endorse Resolution 1322 that condemned Israel’s "excessive use of force" against Palestinians; there was not even a balancing criticism of Palestinian terrorism. This was just the pinnacle of 10 out of 12 resolutions that Canada supported and the USA and Israel opposed to maintain Canada’s ostensible role as a "neutral" party, including resolutions that condemned Israel for violating the rights of the Palestinian people, condemning the settlements in the Golan, Gaza, the West Bank and even East Jerusalem as illegal, endorsing Palestinian refugee rights to their property and income without any balancing statement about Jewish refugees from Arab lands. To still the Jewish backlash, Chretien wrote a letter to the Jewish community that regretted the consternation caused by the UN vote but not the vote itself. Further, he did not suggest any change in policy direction. This is strong evidence suggesting that Frank is wrong in claiming that the Liberal establishment did everything it could to maintain its Jewish adherents. In the Jewish rally in Montreal in support of Israel, Irwin Cotler, a former president of the Canadian Jewish Congress and Justice Minister, had to vocally criticize the members of his own government. In Toronto, Elinor Caplan did not show her face and the large rally loudly booed the Liberals. The opening for the Tories was clear.

As everywhere else in the west, the propensity to vote centre-left became strained as the delegitimization campaign against Israel heated up in the twenty-first century, as the second intifada and wars in Lebanon and Gaza took place in which many civilians were killed, and as conservatives in Canada, the United States and Europe demonstrated stronger support for Israel. The Jewish community voting pattern began to demonstratively shift as conservative parties increasingly attracted more votes, especially from members of the organized Jewish community for whom Israel ranks extremely high in their self-identification. Stockwell Day began to make inroads as head of the Canadian Alliance Party as Frank Dimant acted to promote links between evangelical Christian supporters of Israel and Jewish groups. These challenges were recognized. (Dennis Stairs (2003) "Challenges and opportunities for Canadian foreign policy in the Paul Martin era," International Journal LVIII:4, Autumn, 481-506) The Martin government had regrouped and voted against rather than abstaining on UNGA resolutions condemning Israel for violence and its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and began a pattern of openly opposing one-sided resolutions that hampered the peace process.

Once the Conservative government was elected in 2006 in spite of a movement by the Liberal Party away from the Chretien bias that had shifted against Israel, the Stephen Harper government began to attract more Jewish supporters. Harper expressed the strongest support for Israel even among conservative parties in the west. Everything else being equal, the Harper government should have pulled the most Jewish voters to become supporters of the Conservative party of Canada if Israel had been the only defining issue. Initially, the movement of Jewish voters to the right continued at a very slow pace even after Canada took a number of very prominent positions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that favoured Israel — beginning with suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority (Canada was the first country in the West to do so) when Hamas obtained a majority in March of 2006 and unequivocally defending Israel’s reprisals in Lebanon when Harper was in Europe for the G-8 and Israel attacked Lebanon after Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in July of 2006. Even though the Israeli 34 day massive attack that killed more than a thousand Lebanese and displaced a million, and even though 50,000 Canadian citizens were in Lebanon that Canada had to evacuate, and even though eight members of a Montreal Canadian-Lebanese family were among the casualties, Harper defended Israeli military actions as "measured".

The shift, though still relatively lethargic, had become noticeable as prominent Jewish Liberals announced that they had torn up their Liberal Party cards and joined the conservatives – the film producer, Robert Lantos, was a prominent example. At the same time, in August 2006, Heather Reisman, Gerald Schwartz, and other Jewish Liberal plutocrats published an open letter praising Harper for his brave stand. Heather Reisman subsequently cancelled her membership in the Liberal Party and joined the Conservatives. Michael Ignatieff made the biggest political gaffe of his short political life and his many other gaffes by accusing Israel of war crimes.

When Harper was re-elected with another minority government, Canada was the first country to withdraw from Durban II in January of 2008. On 8 May 2008, Stephen Harper insisted on Canada’s unshakable support of Israel; those who threaten the Jewish state were also threatening Canada. Ezra Levant with his acerbic pen on 23 November 2009 mocked the small group of non-notable notable Liberals who criticized Harper for practicing divisive policies over Israel. At the beginning of 2009, Steven Harper’s government publicly supported Israel’s military response to the rocket attacks from Gaza and was the lone dissenter on the UN Human Rights Committee’s criticisms of Israel’s actions. In the same year, the Harper government withdrew its financial support for Kairos presumably but not ostensibly because of its political bias against Israel. Peter Kent, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in February of 2010, reiterated Harper’s stated alignment with Israel and said as much directly to Riad Malki, the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister, on a visit to Ramallah in September of that same year, much to the consternation of the Palestinian Authority. Probably as a result of this stand, the next month Canada lost its bid for a seat on the Security Council even though Canada had received assurances that 135 countries would back the Canadian bid. (Cf. Paul C. Merkley (2012) "Reversing the Poles: How the Pro-Israeli Policy of Canada’s Conservative Government May Be Moving Jewish Voters from Left to Right," Jewish Political Studies Review 23:1-2, 13 April; see also Donald Barry (2010) "Canada and the Middle East Today: Electoral Politics and Foreign Policy," Arab Studies Quarterly, October, 191)

The cracks were widening. The indications could not be missed. In the September 2007 by-election, Jewish support for the Liberal Party in Montreal’s Outremont riding collapsed. In March 2008, in Vancouver Quadra with a small but significant Jewish constituency, the Liberal candidate barely won and Jewish Liberals openly said that they had switched their voting pattern. In the 2008 elections, the Conservative outreach to various ethnic urban ridings the Conservatives won 18 of 80 ridings. On 2 May 2011, the Tories leapfrogged ahead. The Harper government got its majority. The government had attracted significant support from ethnic groups. For the first time ever, a majority of Jews (52%) voted for the Conservatives. Irwin Cotler who was first elected in Montreal with 92% support was barely re-elected. A tectonic shift had taken place. (Cf. Jeffrey Simpson (2011) "How the political shift among Jewish voters plays in Canada," The Globe and Mail, 28 September 2011 who agrees that, "Mr. Harper’s position is driven by profound personal conviction rather than political calculation.") However, it is incorrect to say that, "In the past two years, Jewish public opinion has rallied heavily behind the Conservative Party." There has indeed been a tectonic shift in Canadian politics but Jews voted for the Tories by a bare majority.

Frank Dimant’s article presumed a monolithic Jewish community while contradicting that assumption in the body of the essay. The article did not probe voting pattern shifts and their explanation. Jews, like other voters, share the same concerns with the state of the economy, social policy or a perception (incorrect) of rampant crime. Instead, Frank focused only on political appeals in terms of Israel, but rather than suggesting that they were opportunistically motivated, he insisted, correctly in my mind, that they were principled. But he also claimed that the elites in the Jewish community were in bed with the Liberal Party of Canada when, in fact, the plutocrats had begun to desert the Liberal Party in 2006. The opinion piece insists that a shift took place from the Liberals to the Tories because of a grass roots revolt. The reality is that, by his own admission, the shift was advocated by Frank Dimant much earlier and predicted by Ezra Levant even earlier. Further, Frank cannot be exactly characterized as grass roots however convenient a posture in serving as a contrarian to the historic dominant propensity of the Jewish community.

However, Frank was correct on another matter. The beginning of the realignment of some of the elites and others in the Jewish community took place because, under the leadership of Stockwell Day of the Alliance Party, then a small opposition party separate from the Tories, had a record of the strongest pro-Israel support though its own supporters came from rural and small town voters in Ontario and the West where there were very few Jewish voters to be garnered. Initially the shift built slowly. It accelerated when the Jewish voters became convinced that the Tory positions on Israel were sincere and deeply felt and not just politically opportune appeals. The fact that this shift was accompanied by serious errors from the other side certainly helped overcome old voting habits.

Frank insists that the mandate of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) that replaced the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canadian Zionist Federation, the United Israel Appeal and the Federations – a mandate never publicly professed – was to keep Jews voting Liberal. It is hard to criticize a mandate that was never expressed let alone give credibility to its existence, or even the larger even more conspiratorial claim (one that was certainly not expressed) that the mandate included a policy of discouraging any dissent within the Jewish community. Significant elite shifts of the financiers of CIJA – which B’Nai Brith stayed away from – to the Tories belies Frank’s claims and suggests another possible spur behind Dimant’s blatant animosity and conspiracy theories. One of the ironies in reading Frank is one is surprised to find that he shares with strong supporters of the Palestinian cause that the Jews are led by an elite cabal with an inordinate political and financial influence. (See the various writings of Kristin Szremski who is the director of media and communications for the American Muslims for Palestine.)

Frank insists that "Jewish public opinion has rallied heavily behind the Conservative Party". Although the shift was tectonic in terms of Canadian politics, it was still just a bare majority. Harper attracted the strongly identified and socially conservative Jews but the urban secular Jews had shifted to the New Democrats in significant numbers. Frank claims that this shift will be counteracted by a concentrated effort to realign the Jewish agenda with the Liberal Party, not Liberal Party policy with the organized Jewish community agenda, by focusing on other issues than Israel. The purpose of these set of claims is not offered to raise the consciousness within the Jewish community that their elite leadership is leading them astray as one might suspect, but a warning tothe Conservative Party not to take Jewish community support for granted and to understand the dynamics at play within the heavily-politicized atmosphere that prevails in the Jewish community. Before the Conservative Party accepts his advice, I advise the members to critically examine Frank’s claims.

Frank is right that he and B’nai Brith Canada led an open campaign to shift Jews from voting Liberal to voting Conservative. Second, as I tried to demonstrate, there has been a shift in voting patterns among Jews and it has been significant. Most Jews in the nineties voted for the Liberal Party and did so disproportionally to their share of the population and, as in the United States, contrary to what might be expected given their incomes. Further, even when Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister and was a strong supporter of Israel, the majority of Jews voted Liberal. The shift took place in the twenty-first century, proceded gradually as Frank Dimant wrote and in the 2011 election became a rout. But as stated above, in the 2011 elections, the Ipsos Reid poll claimed that for the first time, a majority of Jews (52%) voted for Stephen Harper; 24% voted Liberal and 16% supported the NDP. (The enormous data set from that poll has been donated tothe Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.)

Why did it happen? Not because, as Frank Dimant would lead one to believe, a Jewish elite is trying persistently to lead the Jewish community to a Liberal Madagascar rather than the promised land of a Likud-led Israel, but because of persistent and internally divisive Liberal policies while the Harper Tories have been clear and consistent and sincere strong supporters of Israel even before it was to their political advantage. Further, the Tories have abandoned their white rural base as their exclusive foundation and have successfully infiltrated most of the ethnic communities. In the case of their appeal to mainstream Jews, it is not clear that it is to their political advantage since there are now three times as many Muslims in Canada as Jews and Tories did worst in garnering Muslim votes than the Liberals. Only 12% of Muslims voted Conservative; 46% voted Liberal and 38% NDP.

At the meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association in June of 2012, Patrick Kelly and Professor Livianna Tossutti presented a paper that asked "How the Liberal Party of Canada Lost its Electoral Dominance in Canada’s Immigrant Communities?" Harper in discussions with Tom Flanagan had stated at the beginning of the twenty-first century that Conservatives could not get a majority unless they attracted significant numbers of immigrant voters. TheTory vote was rooted in older men and women, traditional occupations and the Protestant churches and could also be correlated with higher income groups with some notable exceptions. However, at the turn of this century, half of the constituencies had at least 10% of its electorate who were immigrants. In one-third, 20% were immigrants. In one-fifth, 30% were immigrants. The Liberals had successfully branded themselves as the party of diversity and multiculturalism. Harper set out deliberately to challenge that branding. Stockwell Day had not succeeded because he was too closely identified with traditional community conservatives of an evangelical Christian persuasion. Harper bracketed that sort of appeal to stress economic conservatism plus more generally shared conservative values promoted by family-centred policies – child care allowances and support for traditional marriage, the latter receding as time went on and gay marriage established itself as family-centred. Nevertheless, if you have a non-traditional living arrangement, are secular, work in the arts or a helping profession, are young and female and an environmental activist, you will almost certainly not vote Tory and most likely vote NDP.

Interesting, the initial beneficiary of the shift in ethnic voting patterns was the NDP which picked up the vast majority of the 23 point drop in Liberal support in 2004 with the sponsorship scandal haunting the Liberals. But by 2008, it was the Tories who benefited from the 10 point further drop in ethnic Liberal support. The outreach to the immigrant communities was clearly paying off. (Cf. F. Ellis and P. Woolstencroft (2009) "Stephen Harper and the Conservatives campaign on their record," in Jon H. Pammett and Christopher Doran (eds.) The Canadian Federal Election of 2008, 16-62, 37-8) The Tories picked up ethnic voters who continued to identify with their ethnic communities in a strong way and who regularly attended their place of worship but did not appeal to those who opted for integration and adopting an un-hyphenated identity. This increased significantly in 2011 and Jews were part of that trend, though perhaps in increased proportions because they were more established and because Harper went out of his way to express his strident support of Israel. Conservatives garnered almost 40% of the overall vote and even more of the immigrant voters who had been in Canada more than ten years (43%). With some communities, the percentage was much higher because Conservatives did not make significant inroads with visible minorities, including Asians, Hispanics and Blacks born outside Canada. The Tories had won the votes of immigrants who had established themselves economically as middle class Canadians.

Laura Rosen Cohen in the National Post (30 July 2012) asked, "Will American Jews follow the example of their neighbours to the north?" There is no indication that the Republicans have a leader as politically astute and with the deep convictions as Stephen Harper or a Democratic leadership as accident prone as the Liberal leaders with the exception of Bob Rae have been. Further, whereas Stephen Harper kept his evangelical community conservatives in check, the Tea Party took control of the steering wheel of the Republican Party in the USA. In contrast, Barack Obama is the most Zionist president in American history. Further, as Irwin Cotler has pointed out, Canadian Jewry consists predominantly of much more recent immigrants for whom the memory of the Holocaust is personal and more intense, are affiliated in much higher proportions with Orthodox Judaism, live in a country much more dedicated to hyphenated integration than a melting post assimilation and 74%, twice the ratio of Americans, have visited Israel.

I believe that as long as Harper remains in power, his leading role as an advocate for Israel will remain intact. He will undoubtedly consolidate support for the Tories by strongly affiliated Jews. Since politics in the west, especially in Canada and the USA, has devolved from brokerage parties that paste together coalitions of regional interests and appeals to national unity into left-right parties divided by values and economic interests (in Canada, the NDP supporters are merely the hip side of the American democratic party but have similar values to the Liberal Party of Canada), given the divisions on the left in Canada, there is no reason the Conservatives cannot enjoy not only long term majority support from Jews, but a long stay in power in this century, especially if they increase their support from Catholic voters who represent 40% of Canadians.

Canadian.Jewish.Community.Frank Dimant.doc

Current State of the Israeli Economy 03.04.13

Current State of the Israeli Economy 03.04.13

by

Howard Adelman

One of the most prominent issues in the run up to the election was the cost of living in general and the cost of housing in particular. Yair Lapid vowed to tackle that issue. Let me offer some examples.

Thus, a cheap restaurant in Israel is more expensive than in Toronto but a good restaurant costs about the same. Basics, like milk and bread, are cheaper in Israel, but eggs and cheese are surprisingly more expensive. Fruit and vegetables are much cheaper in Israel and so is transportation even though a litre of gasoline is 60% dearer in Israel. Brand clothes are much more money in Israel but apartments are almost 20% less to rent but more than 20% more to purchase. The latter figure is astonishing but I am somewhat sceptical of its accuracy for in my experience in Toronto the rents are higher and the costs of purchasing apartments I believe is also about 20% higher. But the most important revelation is that salaries in Israel are about 40% less when the cost of living overall, except for the cost of purchasing an apartment, is about the same.

Inexpensive restaurants are a bit more costly in Israel but good restaurants cost about the same.

The real issue in Israel is that salaries are not comparable to the cost of living. Other than the cost of housing, which I will deal with in a separate blog, it is not clear how Lapid can tackle this problem. Lapid raised several other issues in the campaign concerning government expenditures. He provocatively asked: “How dare they sit there with 34 ministers and deputies and then come to the middle class and tell them they’re taking another NIS 1,800?” He claimed that ministers without portfolio cost the taxpayers NIS 60 million, the same amount parents of autistic children requested in social aid. Lapid in negotiating with Netanyahu did succeeded in reducing the number of ministers and deputy ministers, but at the cost of clout for his party.

On another issue of what are called entitlements or tax loopholes in American political parlance, Lapid called for an end to the annual practice of “Hok Hasederim”, the distribution of large sums of money not provided for or allocated within the budget. Yet Lapid`s first action as Finance Minister on 21 March was to order $13 million transferred to the foundation to assist Holocaust survivors – the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims. It is very hard for anyone to object to directing funds to meet quality-of-life needs for aging survivors, including at-home nursing care, especially since it was an integral part of the coalition agreement, but the process appears to me as a naïve outsider to be a continuation of “Hok Hasederim”. At least the cut of three hours of nursing services per week can be restored and no one surely begrudges that expenditure.

But these are small potatoes. One deep historic fear in Israel is of runaway inflation, the rise in prices based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) indicating how much less you can purchase with the same number of dollars as the year before.. However, the fear seems exaggerated. Both in terms of historic inflation figures (the overall increase from the year before) and average inflation (the average rate of increase in each month over the full year), the rate of inflation in Israel is not that much higher than Canada`s.

Since interest rates are so low, those on fixed incomes who depend on interest from deposited monies to earn income are effectively earning no money since inflation wipes out the value of anything earned. In fact, deposit income in the current period is even less than the rate of inflation. So pensioners and others on fixed incomes suffer.

Israel also suffered from the global economic slump when its growth rate was only 2.4% in the final quarter of 2013, the slowest rate of increase in three years but one that many industrialized countries might envy in these perilous economic times. Israel has had a spectacular rate of growth and is a model of convergence for a country that not very long ago was poor and now has caught up and passed a number of developed countries. Economists long ago dispensed with the Solow model in which economic growth depended on physical and human capital. Total factor productivity (TFP), the measure of an economy’s long-term technological change or technological dynamism, is now perceived as the main agent for stimulating growth. Israel has and continues to excel in this area, particularly with respect to improving innovations along quality ladders more than simply expanding the variety of products made and sold. Further, productivity improvement also accelerates capital accumulation thereby multiplying the positive effects.

Further, Israel continues to expand its free trade regions that also may help stimulate growth since Israeli economists pioneered in the nineties in the research that demonstrated that a country gains more from another country in proportion to the R&D of the other country if you trade with this country more. Israeli institutions have also evolved to reinforce and enhance technological change, but there is a general fear that the institutions that foster the accumulation of knowledge are too underfunded, an issue that will be discussed in the blog on education. This is important because there exists a robust relationship between the quality of institutions and economic performance. Further, though economic incentives are widely in place to enhance knowledge accumulation, a side effect has been a growing disparity between those in the knowledge economy and those outside of it, a topic that will be discussed in the blog on disparities in the Haredim and Israeli-Arab sector.

As Deloitte reported in 2011, Israel excels in the supply of financial and business services and in high tech manufacturing in electronics, software, communications and pharmaceuticals as well as low tech industries such as chemicals and plastics. Where it enjoys the greatest comparative advantage is in the high levels of investments in education and R&D, particularly through the military which creates not only basic innovation and knowledge but networks that subsequently go on to create businesses and new qualitative improvements in products.

Israel once offered a myriad array of investment incentives that may have attracted capital but, at the same time, created economic distortions and a bureaucratic nightmare for some. The Encouragement of Capital Investment Law that came into effect on 1 January 2011 has eliminated most of the previous incentives, rationalized the tax rate, reduced the number of development zones, and simply reduced corporate tax rates for those businesses that export at least 25% of production. Corresponding changes were made in the distribution of dividends. With the rationalization of the taxation system, Israel has experienced enhanced rates of investment. However, middle class savings rates have declined as incomes have not kept up with increased costs.

The biggest change in the Israeli economy is on the doorstep and will be the subject of a separate blog. In the Deloitte 2011 report, Israel was described a country with few natural resources. With the discovery of the huge gas fields offshore with one on the verge of coming on stream, this is no longer the case. Israel will save US$2-3 billion in imported energy bills. This will have a tremendous impact on the Israeli economy but requires a separate discussion. The reality is that Israel has become a country of the energy equivalent of a land of milk and honey that will enhance its great lead in its booming high-technology sector complemented by the structural reforms that reduced controls on foreign currency exchanges and profit remittances.

However, Israel faces the problem of many other developed countries – a stubborn unemployment and underemployment rate, particularly among young people. Further, the 2011 unemployment rate of 5.6% rose to 6.3% in 2012 and currently sits at 6.5%. Though not as high as the American rate of 8% with America still not quite over the great recession, or even Canada`s rate, unemployment in Israel did reach a thirty year low in 2011.

As the last remaining item on the overview of the Israeli economy as the lead up to understanding the budget that Lapid can be expected to introduce, we come to the budget deficit. On 1 July 2012, the Former Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, received approval from the Israeli cabinet to double the 2013 targeted budget deficit from the initially proposed 1.5% of GDP with an absolute ceiling of 2.5% to a new target of 3% of GDP, with the expectation that it would come in at 3.5-4%. The actual deficit came in at about 4.2% of GDP or a 39 billion shekel budget deficit or AM$10.8 billion. The cabinet was accused at the time of being reluctant to cut spending and raise taxes ahead of the then October 2013 scheduled elections. The Bank of Israel governor, Stanley Fischer, warned that both inflation and interest rates would increase. The bank’s base interest rate had fallen to 0.5% in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis, rose to 3.25% in the middle of 2011 as Israel’s economy recovered, but has since been cut to and hovers around 1.75%.

The shekel immediately dropped from almost 4 to the dollar to 3.9 and continued to drop to its current exchange rate of 3.56 after having remained steady for a number of years. In a final meaningless rhetorical flourish, the cabinet then voted to set a 2014 budget deficit target of 2.75%, of 2.5% in 2015, of 2% in 2016 and 1.5% in 2019. There was never any discussion of a balanced budget. However, Israel’s debt-to-GDP ratio remains relatively stable and less than that of many developed countries – though that is not saying a great deal these days. The country’s debt burden, however, is higher than most developed countries because the government pays a relatively high rate of interest on government debt. The Israeli government is undoubtedly banking on the shekel strengthening when natural gas begins to glow from its offshore wells.

Yesterday, Stanley Fischer, while praising Israel`s economic performance and the monetary policy maintained by the bank, stated in its report on 2012 that Israel`s budget deficit was the main economic problem. (Moti Bossok Outgoing Central Bank Chief: Israel`s fiscal situation economy`s main problem, Haaretz, 2 April 2013.) He also urged the government to create a sovereign wealth fund from its anticipated new found gas wealth. Lapid may increase taxes to cover part of the deficit but he will have to do so without inhibiting business and prospects for economic growth.

Lapid`s main problem will be how to increase government revenues and where to cut expenditures. Certainly, defense will be cut. Netanyahu and Lapid already have agreed that defence cuts will cover 4.5 billion shekels over the next 18 months. Where those cuts will be made is yet to be determined.

Current State of the Israeli Economy 03.04.13.doc

The Budget Challenge for Israel.02.04.13

The Budget Challenge for Israel 02.04.13

by

Howard Adelman

Yair Laipid as Finance Minister has stated his priorities on his Facebook page:

1. Reduce the cost of living by every means at its disposal (part of the coalition agreement);

2. Enhance free market competition and reduce the concentration of power;

3. Reduce economic disparities and launch a fight against poverty.

Yesh Atid controls four other ministries that have a significant impact on the economy: the Education Ministry headed by Rabbi Shay Piron; the Health Ministry headed by Yael German; the Social Affairs Ministry headed by Meir Cohen; and the Science Ministry headed by Jacob Perry. Further, except on the issue of whether housing needs to be expanded in the settlements on the West Bank or within the State of Israel, Lapid and Naftali Bennett share the same perspective on the economy. Bennett is Minister of Economy and Trade and his party controls the Housing Ministry. So Lapid has the political resources to get a radical economic package through the Knesset. There have been a lot of rumours that Netanyahu gave Lapid the economic ministry to allow him to fall flat on his face and destroy both himself and Yesh Atid as a political force. But the result would be that Netanyahu will also go down with the ship. They not only have an agreement to work together but common interests.

However, Netanyahu comes from the George W. Bush fiscal school for whom it is anathema to raise taxes. On the other hand, Netanyahu oversaw tax increases that came into effect in January. Lapid in the election campaign railed against those tax increases in his famous line: “The Israeli middle class has turned into [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s ATM.” However, as I will later show, Israeli direct income taxes and indirect value added taxes now offer few incentives for any increase. More importantly, there are more than sufficient revenues available by simply closing what in North America are called loopholes and in Israel are called incentives. I will deal with sources for increased revenue in the blog on the day after tomorrow.

If Lapid tries to cut out incentives, he will be subject to immense pressures from outside. If he tries to cut from ministries, he will face opposition from within, and the most formidable will be the Department of Defense. One is wary of trusting his toughness given how poorly he did in the bargaining over ministries but mostly over other positions in the government. But so far he is talking tough. And saying No is relatively easier than getting someone else to say Yes.

The greatest challenge Lapid faces will not be those who pressure him both from within and outside government but from those who are indifferent to the size of the deficit and, in any case, cynical about the possibility of structural changes. After all, in a budget of NIS 350 billion largely locked into a third for interest payments on debt, another third for salaries and the other third with little room for flexibility, how can any finance minister come up with NIS 15 billion in cuts and additional revenues of about NIS 30 billion?

Part of the answer lies in the power of the Finance Ministry as every Canadian knows who watched Paul Martin in the Chretien Canadian Liberal government and Jim Flaherty in the Tory Harper government work their budgets to ensure Canada was not dragged down in the whirlpool of gross indebtedness. The Finance Minister is not just a traffic cop who turns lights red for ceasing expenditures and green for resuming them. First of all, he has a powerful influence on the amount of traffic. Secondly, the Finance Ministry is not just a set of stop lights but a detailed manager of the economy with veto power over every expenditure as well as responsibility for setting the overall budget for each ministry.

I will try to answer the question of how I think Lapid will approach the problem by future blogs under the following planned headings:

1. Israeli Economics – A New Dawn (yesterday)

2. The Budget Challenge for Israel (today)

3. Current State of the Israeli Economy (tomorrow)

INCREASING INCOME AND PRODUCTIVITY

4. Tamar and Leviathan

5. Tax Loopholes and Privatization

6. Monopolies and the Tycoons

7. Technology

CHANGING PATTERNS OF EXPENDITURES

8. Housing

9. Military

10. Disparities – Haredi and Arab Israelis

11. Education

12. Health

I will try to wrap the whole discussion up by evaluating whether such changes will make Israeli a fairer and more equitable society while, at the same time, increasing both opportunities and incentives. Will it be more humane as well as more competitive or will one objective be at the expense of the other? Everyone might expect me to write on these questions, but on the economy? In undertaking these series of blogs, I will have the benefit of world class economists both in Israel and abroad who have contemplated these issues, written on them and undoubtedly some of them will have influenced both Lapid and Bennett in their political platforms.

These experts include: Professor Avi Ben-Passat, a former Director-General of the Finance Ministry (1999-2001), a Senior Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and a Professor at Hebrew University; his colleague and collaborator, Momi Dahan, at the same institute, Head of the Federmann School of Public Policy & Government at Hebrew University and an expert on macroeconomics and finance as well as economic inequality; Mordechai Kremnitzer who is a Professor Emeritus from Hebrew University, a former Dean of the Law Faculty and currently ice-President of Research at IDI where he heads the Constitutional Principles, National Security and Democracy as well as the Arab-Jewish Relations projects.

Below I have provided a selection of some of the economists whom I will cite with respect to the various topics I plan to cover. I list them to ask you to submit other experts whom I should read in preparing my blogs.

Energy Resources: Tamar and Leviathan (04.04.13)

Philip Hemmings, OECD

Dr. Michael Gardosh, Geophysical Institute of Israel,

Dr. Yehezkel Druckman

Tax Loopholes and Privatization (07.04.13)

Fudim Shrem Kelner, Professor of Finance, IDC, Israel

Daniel Czamanski Technion

Monopolies and the Tycoons (08.04.13)

Oded Sarig, Treasury Commissioner for Capital Markets

Arik Peretz

Yoav Bar-On

Fudim Shrem

Daniel Tsiddon Staggering and Synchronization in Price-Setting

Technology (09.04.13)

Daniel Tsiddon Leapfrogging

Manuel Trajtenberg – Product Innovation and Patents

David Shamah

Shlomo Gradman, Chairman of the Israeli High Tech CEO Forum

Housing (10.04.13)

Manuel Trajtenberg

Daniel Tsiddon

Hosny Zoabi

Z. Eckstein

Yosef Mealam

Military (14.04.13)

Shmuel Even

Yaakov Lefshitz

Disparities – Haredi and Arab Israelis (15.04.13)

Eran Yashiv

Daniel Tsiddon

Manuel Trajtenberg

Health (17.04.13)

Neil Gandal

Tomorrow I will discuss the Current State of the Israeli Economy to show why new sources of revenue must be found as well as cuts made on the expenditure side to meet a target, not of a balanced budget – there are no Tea Partiers in power in Israel – but of a deficit of 3% of the gross national product. The deficit ran at over 4% during 2012 and perhaps even exceeded that amount in the first quarter of 2013.

The Budget Challenge for Israel.02.04.13.doc

A New Dawn – Israel’s Economy

A New Dawn – Israel’s Economy 01.04.13

by

Howard Adelman

Last night I went to bed just before midnight. This morning, I woke up at 7:00 a.m. It was already light. I slept for seven hours straight. I did not get up once. In university, I used to sleep from 1:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m., but that was 55 years ago. Now, to sleep more than 4-5 hours during the night is unprecedented for me. It clearly has to do with my sleeping with a breathing mask. I have now gotten used to it and did not pull the mask off or turn the machine off in my sleep last night. I am curious about what this will do to my sleepiness during the day and my nap patterns. You will be probably pleased to know that I will consequently have less time to write. My blogs might even become shorter.

One thing that has not changed is that I go directly from a deep sleep to being wide awake. I’m at my desk working within two minutes of waking. I assume that will not change as it is a product of my different brain wave patterns. Those patterns have, until the last few years, been of great benefit to my productivity. However, they have more recently led to my current problems with sleep apnea with the side effect of high blood pressure which I never had before. Hence, the sleeping mask and supply of oxygen during the night.

Obviously, a number of factors go into having a good night of sleep other than wearing a sleeping mask. I do not drink coffee and generally do not drink alcohol so these have never affected my night of sleep. I also do not usually eat chocolate. However, Nancy made a batch of chocolate cookies for Pesach and I had several right after an early dinner with my four grandchildren who live in Toronto. Evidently the dinner was early enough – 6:00 p.m. – so that eating several chocolate cookies did not affect my sleep. Nancy cooked a terrific meal for the grandchildren. However, they were so rambunctious after dinner that one needs a good night of sleep after they leave. Further, the early dinner may have helped getting a full night of sleep because we usually eat several hours later.

I certainly do feel really refreshed. As usual, when I went to bed and put on the mask, I was asleep literally in seconds. I do not meditate or pray or use other measures to relax when I go to sleep. I lie down and am usually asleep within, at most, a minute. When I wake up, I wash my mouth, but otherwise go straight to work at my desk without eating for I like to have breakfast with Nancy when she gets up. I probably should exercise but I do not. In any case, I feel totally refreshed. I tend to shower later and work first.

I always wake up without an alarm and eager to get to work on whatever is on my mind. However, the most surprising part is to wake up when it is already light. What a delight! I not only do not have to feel my way around in the dark lest I wake up Nancy, but seeing the bright day is exciting in itself. The sky was clear blue and it looked glorious outside. Mornings have always been blissful to me and now they will be accompanied by light, though I think I will miss watching the sunrise.

All this is but a prolegomena to a new series of blogs on the Israeli economy which I will begin tomorrow in preparation for Israel tabling its new budget sometime in June. In part this is recognition that political affairs, in particular, relations with Palestinians both within Israel and in the occupied territories, will be primarily determined by economic interests rather than security issues, although there will clearly be an interaction between the two and both will be shadowed by ideology. Further, most foreigners, particularly Jews in the diaspora, know little about the Israeli economy other than the image of Israel as a start-up nation. Protests, then, over the cost of living in general and cottage cheese in particular, take them by surprise. Third, as in most advanced economies with the rising supremacy of the neo-liberal economic agenda, the disparities between the disadvantaged and those with money has grown. Israel once boasted the least amount of economic inequality, and was second only to Tanzania. The country now ranks among the highest in economic inequality. Fourth, all economies are buffeted by external economic crises, particularly those current in Europe with its series of monetary crises. Israel is very vulnerable, particularly since it has a very large trade with Europe. Finally, as most people are aware, the Israeli economy is in trouble with expenditures greatly exceeding state revenues. The electoral shift in the last election largely took place because voters had lost faith in Likud’s ability to manage the budget.

For background, the State Budget of Israel that sets out planned expenditures and sources of revenue must be tabled no more than 60 days before the beginning of the financial year. If the fiscal year is July to June, by law the budget should be tabled by the end of April. With a new government just recently formed and sworn in, this became an impossible deadline. The first meeting of the cabinet on 18 March 2013, in addition to approving the Security Cabinet immediately after it was sworn which I have already written about, unanimously approved amending this Basic Law for the State Budget to extend the deadline for approving the 2013 budget to 135 days from the date the 33rd government was established. Within 85 days from its swearing in, the government must submit a budget proposal to the Knesset, which will be about mid-June. The Knesset will have 50 days to pass the budget after three readings, or in early August.

I will follow the following rough initial agenda. First, I will review who in the cabinet controls the key economic sectors and what their current policies are. Second, I will take an overview of the current Israeli economy because, as is widely known, the deficit reached 4.2% of GDP instead of the targeted 2% and the new government must both make huge budget cuts as well as raise new revenues to prevent the budget deficit from spiralling out of control. This means spending cuts of at least $14B shekels or over $US3.5B and tax hikes of up to twice that amount again. Such changes can be calamitous especially given that Yesh Atid and its leader, Yair Lapid, now Finance Minister, promised to build large numbers of affordable rental apartments for young people. HaBayit HaYehudi led by Naftali Bennett, the new Economics and Trade Minister, promised to build new apartments and infrastructure for the settlements. Further, Uri Ariel from his party is the Minister of Housing. On the other hand, the growth of the Israeli economy has been a tremendous success story. Israel has moved steadily up the Human Development Index and now ranks among those countries in the very high development group, ranking 16th ahead now of Belgium, Austria, France and Finland.

Bennet also promised to break the concentration of economic power among the economic oligarchs in Israel and to sever the ties between financial corporations and non-financial ones to end the current pattern of cross-ownership. He has been put in charge of the cabinet committee charged with both reducing the cost of living and breaking up the monopoly controls of Israeli economic power. Nochi Danker the Koor Group, Yitzcahk Tshuva from both the Delek Grou and the El-Ad Group, the Ofer family which owns the Mizrachi-Tefahot Bank, Shari Aronson who owns Bank Hapoalim, and the other billionaire oligarchs will all be threatened. For though the Knesset debated a bill presented by former Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz along these lines to come into effect in six years, the bill, though it received preliminary approval did not come to a final vote and Bennett wants it to be toughened. It is not clear to me yet how the budget and these new moves against concentration of corporate power will affect one another, particularly since the tycoons are awash in debt and policies governing large-scale lending may undermine the stability of their enterprises. Yossi Maiman lost control of the Ampal Israel American Group and the Danker Group is rumoured to be at risk. However, we will soon see as this policies to break up the monopoly on corporate power are expected to be passed by the Knesset before the budget is tabled.

Further, now that the religious parties are excluded from the government, part of the savings and additional revenues will eventually come by putting the Haredi sector to work in the productive economy and reducing subsidies for the Yeshiva sector. We will explore the options available in this area and the anticipated economic, social and political implications. After all, the alliance of Yesh Atid and HaBayit HaYehudi has gone beyond a tactical alliance of convenience in negotiating with Netanyahu and has become a strategic alliance to lower the costs of housing and develop the economy. Further, both parties now see the possibility of an historic change and a new dawn first in uniting a hardline Orthodox party and a centrist secular/modern Orthodox party with a common agenda to draft Haredim and end their sweeping exemptions from military service, enhance their secular education and work-participation, and reallocate resources for an a fairer share of rights and responsibilities across all of Israeli society.

On another front, in the energy sector, the Tamar Offshore Gas Fields are expected to come into operation during the forthcoming fiscal period and the even larger Leviathan field about 2-3 years later. They will have a tremendous impact on the revenue side, on the balance of trade and on both business and consumer costs.

There is another area of the budget that will require separate attention, the defense budget amounting to one-sixth the budget. Everyone expects the defense budget to be cut and Ya’alon as Defense Minister supports such cuts. However, he and Lapid will inevitably come to blows as Lapid will push larger and more immediate cuts while Ya’alon would prefer smaller more spread out cuts.

For all sorts of reasons, there are wide expectations of a new dawn in Israeli economic policies. Though perhaps I may no longer be waking up before dawn, I can spend my time examining whether this in fact can be expected to be a new dawn or not.

Israel.Economics.A New Dawn.01.04.13.doc