It’s no secret that Americans are furious about an economy mired in unemployment, a federal deficit that will burden our children and grandchildren, big money lobbying run amok and political paralysis in Washington. This year’s Tea Party insurgency reflects those legitimate concerns.
But history teaches that such movements — leaderless, unstructured and built on a foundation of rage — can turn to scapegoating and vilification, with Jews being a traditional target.
I'm not sure there's anything more demoralizing than watching Congress and the Obama administration sputter away about an economy that seems to heading south once again.
The past few week's newspapers have overflowed with economic news, ranging from bad to really terrible; economic pundits like the New York Times' Paul Krugman tell a terrible story of economic ineptitude at every level and speak ominously about much worse to come.
If the Israeli economy were a patient, doctors wouldn’t know whether to release it with a clean bill of health, keep it overnight for additional tests or simply prescribe vitamins to perk it up a little. That’s how confusing the symptoms are at the start of 1999.
# Israel’s economy last year grew just 1.9 percent, down from 2.4 percent in 1997 — the slowest rate in the decade, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
What the Israeli government is calling the largest merger in the country’s history will bring together two “premier” telecommunications companies that are expected to have a combined annual revenue next year of $1.5 billion.
ECI Telecom Ltd. and Tadiran Telecom are joining in an effort to challenge bigger competitors.
In addition to wanting to get back the Golan Heights, Syrian President Hafez Assad also is hoping that normalized relations with Israel will help improve the faltering Syrian economy —and Israeli officials already are preparing for that.
“We are mapping the Syrian economy to see what kind of trade avenues could be opened,” said Reuven Horesh, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In this economic crisis, the leaders of Satmar, who defiantly never went to college, are running rings around their more modern brothers and sisters who have advanced degrees and invested with Bernie Madoff. Mainstream Jews are debating hot to steer Jewish education through the crisis, perhaps with tax credits, or the creation of Hebrew-emphasis public charer schools, like the Arabic public school in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Satmar, who figured this out 15 years ago, scored $6.3 million from the stimulus bill for Kiryas Joel’s all-Jewish public school.
An indoor street fair of Israeli merchandise - much of it flown over expressly for the occasion - is scheduled for Mother's Day at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan. It marks just one of a series of events planned for the New York area to help financially troubled Israeli merchants.
I’ve just finished reading a book called “New York Jews and the Great Depression.” Sounds all too current, I know, but it’s a study of the Jewish community here in the 1930s — how it suffered from and responded to the economic crisis that plunged this country into the depths of destabilization.
It’s Still The Economy
By all rights, it should be a hot year in pro-Israel politics. Israel is being pounded by terrorists, U.S.-Israel relations are in flux and the United States is involved in a high-stakes war against terrorism.
But with a handful of high-profile exceptions, foreign policy seems to be the last thing on voters’ minds — including Jewish voters.