Based on the last figures I could find— a couple of years ago— the U.S. was giving Israel about $3.8 billion annually in ,military aid. On top of that, the U.S. government subsidizes Israel’s economony almost as much. Among the world’s counties, Israel’s GDP is in the top 30. And in 2022 these were the top 20 countries by GDP per capita:
Hong Kong- $48,984
Israel is pretty high up there, way too high up to get around $7 billion annually from U.S. taxpayers, especially when they are subsidizing over 86,000 kollel “students” a year. These are grown men who study religion and do no work and whose housing, food, etc are paid for by Israel (and ultimately by U.S. taxpayers. There’s a hot debate about this in Israel but one government after another covers that up in the U.S. They also avoid military service.
You may’ve seen that our closest ally in the Middle East (or 51st state according too countless Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle) is allowing a Tony fanatic religious fringe to set more and more public policy. “A key reason why the two ultra-Orthodox parties have been among the biggest proponents of the government’s judicial overhaul has been their desire to prevent the High Court from interfering in [draft exemption]. But rather than just passing the draft exemption bill as a Basic Law, they have aggressively backed legislating an override cause, which would allow the Knesset to overrule court decisions.” But that isn’t all they’re up too, not by a longshot.
Yesterday’s NY Times reported that primitive “Ultra-Orthodox members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right coalition want to expand the powers of all-male rabbinical courts, and to bar women and men from mixing in many public arenas.” The fanatics have been barring women from getting on trains that are carrying ultra-orthodox men. “Public transportation is the latest front of a culture war in Israel over the status of women in a society that is sharply divided between a secular majority and politically powerful minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who frown on the mixing of women and men in public. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that it is against the law to force women to sit in separate sections on buses and trains, ultra-Orthodox women customarily board buses in their neighborhoods through the rear door and sit in the back. Now, the practice seems to be spreading to other parts of Israel.”
As part of an agreement with ultra-Orthodox allies that underpinned the formation of the coalition, Netanyahu made several concessions that have unsettled secular Israelis. Among them are proposals to segregate audiences by sex at some public events, to create new religious residential communities, to allow businesses to refuse to provide services based on religious beliefs, and to expand the powers of all-male rabbinical courts.
…Bus drivers in central Tel Aviv and southern Eilat have refused to pick up young women, because they were wearing crop tops or workout clothes. Last month, ultra-Orthodox men in the religious town of Bnei Brak stopped a public bus and blocked the road because a woman was driving.
Now, the demands of the coalition’s ultra-Orthodox and far-right parties could radically transform the face of a country where equal rights for women are guaranteed in the 1948 declaration of independence and reinforced in several key Supreme Court decisions.
…In a global gender gap report issued by the World Economic Forum in June that ranks 146 countries, Israel dropped to the 83rd place, from 60th place last year. Although the report ranked Israel first in terms of women’s education, the country’s ranking for women’s political empowerment slipped to 96th, just below Pakistan, from 61st last year.
There are fewer women in government than just a year ago. Two of the ultra-Orthodox parties in the governing coalition effectively ban women from running for office, ignoring a 2019 Supreme Court ruling saying that they had to end the practice.
…The Orthodox rabbinical court already has jurisdiction over divorce for all Jews in Israel and gives only men the power to formally dissolve a marriage. The proposed changes would also grant them possible jurisdiction over the economic aspects of a divorce and allow them to act as arbitrators in civil matters such as labor or contract disputes, as long as parties have consented. Critics of the bill say that consent is not always given freely.
Have you wondered why Israel is having massive demonstrations every week? That’s why. Although you might not know it from Hakeem Jeffries’ big AIPAC gala. He brought a couple of dozen Dems to Israel last week for some taxpayer sponsored brainwashing sessions courtesy of Jeffries’ very Republican allies at AIPAC, “which,” reported Chris McGreal, “is working to defeat other members of the party in next year’s elections. [Jeffries is] giving political cover to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has faced months of huge demonstrations against his far-right government’s power grab.”
Jeffries trip is being ridiculed “for making the visit to a country in turmoil look like ‘some junket to Tahiti.’ Hadar Susskind, president of Americans for Peace Now, said the Democratic delegation is ‘behind the times’ in working with AIPAC when it defends Israel’s ultranationalist government and the lobbying group’s political arm is increasingly funded by rightwing Republican billionaires seeking to defeat progressive members of Congress. ‘For Democrats to be going on this trip funded and led around by an organisation that is fundamentally opposed to the policies of their president and their party— and which attacks the colleagues of the people on the trip very, very directly— is absurd. You’re seeing more and more Democrats saying, You shouldn’t be doing that,’ he said. Susskind said that AIPAC’s influence could be seen in some of the positions taken by the 24-strong Democratic delegation which is mostly made up of newly elected members of Congress. They include Representative Shri Thanedar, whom AIPAC spent $4m trying to defeat in a Democratic primary last year after he sponsored a resolution in the Michigan legislature describing Israel as an ‘apartheid state’ and accusing it of ‘countless human rights violations.’… Leaders of the mass protest movement against the judicial reforms said the Democratic delegation did not respond to requests for a meeting. The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, described Jeffries as making statements about the protests ‘that echo the emerging Republican talking points on the matter, rather than the growing number of Democrats voicing concern.’”