Report: Israel in decade of social decline

Report: Israel in decade of social decline

Zionist nation running into bankruptcy? Inability to run social programs due to huge cuts in the budget. Won’t be long before everything crumbles.

Report: Israel in decade of social decline
Center for equality and social justice publishes report analyzing cuts in budget for social programs; solution: Stop tax cuts for wealthy, raise corporate taxes

Miri Chason
11.14.06, 19:26

A new report published on Tuesday indicates that over the past 10 years, Israel has been experiencing a constant decline in budget allocations for social programs. “If we combine the all cuts in the budget in the past decade, it will be clear that we are in a decade of social decline,” the report says.

The report was compiled and written by the “Adva Center,” specializing in equality and social justice in Israel; it analyzes all cuts in the national budget that involve social issue and it is the tenth year it has been published.

According to the report, and based on the 2007 budget proposals and the 2008 projections, the expenditure on social programs per capita stand currently at NIS 11,679 (USD 2,727 ) whereas in 200, it stood at NIS 13,301 (UDS 3,106 ), a drop of 12 percent.

The report also presented figures regarding the economic situation following the war in Lebanon during the summer. In this respect, the recent statements made by Defense Minister Amir Peretz that the cost of the war will not harm social programs, the report said that it is unrealistic for that to happen. “The government is estimating the cost of war at NIS 13-14 million (about USD 3 billion), and the government has decided to that in 2007, this figure will be covered by increasing the spending budget, as well as cutting social services.”

‘Do as the Americans did’

But aside from the pessimistic outlook, the report also proposes a solution for the problem: “Instead of cutting social services, it is possible to stop tax cuts which are only useful for the richest 10 percent of the population. In addition, instead of cutting even more in the social safety net, it is possible to raise corporate taxes for one time, just like the United States did in times of crisis.”

One of the areas which showed the sharpest decline was education, which experienced a 16 percent decline in budget for school hours per student. Other declines include the development budget, and the higher education budget. The health budget has also experienced a drop of 14 percent.

There is however a positive light in the report. The only area which experienced a rise in budget allocation was the government investment in infrastructure. This increase was seen mostly in the transportation sector, especially in railway development and trains. However, the Adva report also indicates that the railway budget is due to be cut in 2007 after all.

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