Skip to main content

Israelis Squander Future By Overspending

Two years after the social-justice protest, Israelis have not learned and are still spending money they don't have, with no plans for the future, warns Ran Melamed, deputy director of Yedid.
A bank employee counts Israeli Shekel notes for the camera at a bank branch in Tel Aviv August 7, 2013. Picture taken August 7, 2013. REUTERS/Nir Elias (ISRAEL - Tags: BUSINESS) - RTX12EW0
Read in 

In November 1997, about 1½ years after Benjamin Netanyahu was first elected prime minister, nongovernmental organization (NGO) Yedid was founded, with the goal of supporting the socioeconomically disadvantaged and strengthening social solidarity. Those were the days of the first large-scale privatization measures in the market, which Netanyahu championed, and the absorption of a large wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union. That year, almost all of those who came to the organization seeking help were new Russian-speaking immigrants. Sixteen years later, nearly half of those who turn to Yedid are of the Israeli lower middle class, who earn NIS 6,000 to NIS 11,000 [about $1,700 to $3,150] a month and cannot adequately support themselves. 

This dry data is further proof of the fragile state of the Israeli middle class, which, despite the social protest that began in the summer of 2011, is becoming a weak class in need of legal and defensive aid in facing the state. This is precisely the core of voters for Yesh Atid, the party of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who turned in a short time from the hero of the middle class during the election campaign to its enemy.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.