Poverty & Israel's Occupy Wall Street

After it applied to become a member of the OECD, an elite club of the world's top economies, Israel got an economic bill of health that sent shock waves through society. The evaluation was a a sobering wake-up call, placing the country at the bottom of most economic measures as the poorest of the developed world and as second only to Turkey and the US in the gap between its rich and poor. The short explanation is that a process of extreme privatization over the past thirty years created a corrupt and highly centralized economy in which public money  subsidizes the semi-private arms industry, the West Bank settlers, and the religious orthodox. As a result, Israel now has one of the highest costs of living in the developed world, with one of its lowest average incomes. On July 14th, 2011 Daphni Leef, a young Tel Aviv resident decided to protest by pitching a tent in the heart of the city's wealthiest neighborhood. By the end of the week, thousands of tents sprung up around the country and the Social Justice (J14) Movement was born. Unlike in the Arab world, in Europe, and with Occupy Wall Street in the US, the Israeli government did not repress the protests. Instead, it simply ignored them and after two summers of the largest demonstrations in the country's history, the movement simply petered out.
 
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