Posted by admin under Child Poverty, Children, Crime, Disposable Income, Divorce, Getting By In Israel, Green Charity, Perspective, Poverty in Israel, Self Improvement, Social Justice, Solutions to Poverty, Terrorism and Poverty, Torah, Tzedakah, Uncategorized, Unemployment, What can "I" do, What can THEY do, World Poverty
Awareness is a big part of the solution. This US high school ran a poverty simulation program with great results. Here’s the article:
Carson Sullivan never worried about putting food on the table for his family.
The Vermillion High School student learned all about the process, however, when he took part in the South Dakota Youth Congress poverty simulation at the USD School of Law Wednesday afternoon. The simulation kicked off the annual, two-day South Dakota Youth Congress conference for high school juniors and seniors nominated based on their interest in public policy and leadership qualities.
During the simulation, students from across the state role-played the lives of low-income families. Some were homeless, while others were disabled. Some of the participants role-played senior citizens living off Social Security benefits.
Still, their job was to provide the basic necessities and shelter for their families during the course of four 15-minute “weeks.”
Within minutes of the simulation starting, Sullivan was at the Department of Social Services, asking how to obtain food stamps. The experience made him feel “very flustered” while filling out paperwork.
“I really don’t know how I’m going to pay for this,” Sullivan said.
Read the rest here.
Quite true at the national level. Sometime not so true at the private level. Many people are truly victims of the society in which they live. That said, here’s an interesting insight from Israpundit.
Pre-1967 Israel has almost no natural resources, and it certainly lacks the oil wealth of its Arab neighbors, but it is among the richest nations in the region. That is because the Jewish immigrants brought Euro-American culture that promotes diligent work and technological innovation, including ways to turn deserts into gardens. While Israel’s dirt-ignorant, primitive, and savage Arab and African neighbors still batter women to death with stones while they cripple people for life by cutting off hands and other body parts, Israelis discover ways to help paraplegics walk again.
Common sense says that people who look for and discover ways to restore damaged limbs and bring unprecedented mobility to paraplegics are going to be far wealthier than those who think in terms of whipping, mutilation, and stoning. Israel’s self-earned wealth and prosperity are daily reminders to Israel’s Arab and African neighbors that most of the latter’s poverty is entirely of their own choosing, and that they deserve to live in filth and squalor. As the old saying goes, you make your bed and you lie in it.
A look at Freedom House is a good indicator of whether a country will be poor or rich; wealth tends to correlate with political freedom and civil rights. Haiti is, for example, rated “partly free” while Somalia, the place where a girl was stoned to death in a stadium, is rated “Not Free.” Although the earthquake in Haiti requires a charitable response from the civilized world–”there but for the grace of God go I”–Haiti and Somalia have chosen a low standard of living so that is what they deserve. Now consider Israel’s Arab neighbors, most of which are similarly homo sapiens by birth but subhuman by choice.
Country Per capita GDP (IMF) Freedom House rating
United States $46K Free (highest freedom rating)
Japan $33K Free
Israel $28K Free
Saudi Arabia $23.4K Not Free *
Iran $11.2K Not Free *
Egypt $6K Not Free
Jordan $5.6K Partly Free
Syria $4.9K Not Free
Sudan $2.4K Not Free
Somalia $0.6K (CIA Fact book) Not Free
* Qatar, which is “partly free,” has the highest per capita GDP. With a population of only 900,000 living on top of “black gold,” even the Beverly Hillbillies would be on top of the list. On the other hand, oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Iran have lower per-capita GDPs than resource-poor Israel and Japan. This attests to the inferiority of their societies and culture, and that is why they hate the Jews. (Perhaps the Japanese are too far away to hate conveniently.)
I am a little baffled as to why political commentators have been slamming President Obama for his supposedly sluggish response to the botched Christmas Day terrorist attack.
After all, press reports stated that just minutes after the drama unfolded, Obama “left an Oahu golf course abruptly” — mid-round! – and that his “motorcade raced back to the [president’s vacation] house in a dramatic fashion” so that he could attend to the crisis. What more could you ask for from a Commander-in-Chief?
Oops! Those reports do not describe the president’s reaction to learning about what was almost the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9-11. Rather, they describe what Obama did Monday following news that the son of a member of his entourage had sustained a bump on the chin from an errant surfboard
Would that our president had reacted as swiftly to news of the near murder of 288 Americans over Detroit. Instead it took him three days to adequately respond while a concerned American public was forced to endure the spectacle of Obama’s Keystone Kops flounder and fail on every relevant point of the near disaster.
During the seven-and-a-half years of the post 9-11 Bush administration, a common refrain was that it was not a matter of if the next large scale terrorist attack on America would occur, but when. While there is a lot the American military, Homeland Security and other agencies can do to tighten security, we were told, there is only so much that can be done in a country as freedom-loving as America.
Still, Bush’s administration took seriously the charge to provide for the common defense, and no other major attacks took place on American soil. It is an accomplishment for which the much maligned former president received little of his well-earned praise.
Horrifyingly, President Obama’s response to the events of Christmas Day typifies his administration’s languid approach to the various threats to America’s security. While it may be difficult to protect this nation, it certainly comes with the job description. His lackadaisical handling of national security renders us profoundly and increasingly vulnerable to attack.
The Obama administration has banished the term “war on terror” from its vocabulary. Instead, America is battling, in Obama’s words last week, “a far-reaching network of violence and hatred” that produces, in the words of his secretary of Homeland Security, “man-caused disasters.” Caused by whom one might ask.
Such euphemisms are rooted in a stifling political correctness about the nature of the enemy America faces. Political correctness also prevents the administration and most of the media from identifying radical Islam as a cause, much less the main cause, of terrorism. No matter that the terrorists themselves seem at pains to broadcast that it is their religion that prompts them to commit their murderous deeds.
Obama has said terrorists have a “lack of empathy for the suffering and humanity of others…most often, though, [terrorism] grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.”
But we know that’s not true. The would-be Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is the son of a rich Nigerian banker who attended a prestigious London university. Fifteen of the 9-11 hijackers were from high income classes or middle class. And so on.
It’s not about poverty. It’s about religion. As a former Taliban official has said, “The Americans are fighting so they can live and enjoy the material things in life. But we are fighting so we can die in the cause of God.”
And as former Muslim terrorist Hassan Butt wrote in The Guardian in 2007, “…what drove me and many of my peers to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain, our own homeland and abroad, was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world.”
The administration’s foreign policy is animated by the idea that America can best defend itself by conducting a vast public relations campaign, with the president himself as chief spokesman. That explains the seemingly endless string of presidential speeches to foreign audiences apologizing for America and bowing to foreign demands.
Despite the endless sanctions by the U.S. and United Nations, in December it was reported that Iran is now testing a “neutron initiator,” which can detonate a nuclear warhead and has no peaceful purpose. And Iran has begun testing missiles that can reach Israel and Europe.
But the administration seems to have decided that it will not respond with force if Iran develops (if it has not already developed) a nuclear weapon. Obama’s open hand approach to Iran has been met with the iron fist of the Mullah’s regime. In a moment of candor in December, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted, “I don’t think anyone can doubt that our outreach has produced very little in terms of any kind of a positive response from the Iranians.”
A year-end Rasmussen poll found that public confidence in the conduct of the “war on terrorism” has collapsed during Obama’s first year. When Obama was inaugurated, 55% of likely voters believed that we were winning and the terrorists were losing. But by December 29th, only 36% of voters still felt the U.S. was prevailing.
That’s not surprising. A recent Rand Corporation report stated that of the more than two dozen homegrown terror plots uncovered in the U.S. since 9-11, ten surfaced in 2009. That puts “the level of activity in 2009 much higher than that of previous years,” Rand senior adviser Brian Jenkins told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in November.
The Rasmussen poll also found that following the botched Christmas Day plot, nearly 80% of respondents believed it was likely that there will be another terrorist attack in the U.S. in the next year, “a 30-point jump from the end of August when just 49% of Americans felt that way.”
Through his hollow words and listless response to terrorism, Obama in less than a year has transformed the notion of When-Not-If from a warning into an inevitability. Whether he likes it or not, keeping Americans safe from terrorist attack is not optional, and if lives are lost, he will be held responsible.
From the Jerusalem Post
Six percent of Israel’s needy children are forced to steal food when they are hungry and almost a quarter of the country’s children being brought up in less affluent families are sent out to work to improve their household’s finances, a report published Tuesday by the non-profit humanitarian aid agency Latet has found.
According to the organization’s annual Alternative Poverty Report 2009, which is based on data collected from more than 100 food charities countrywide and on in depth interviews with individuals and families living below the poverty line, there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of people seeking welfare assistance from non-profit organizations over the past year. The rise is mainly due to the economic recession that hit late last year, the organization reported.
“For many people the economic crisis is just starting,” commented Latet Director Eran Weintraub on Tuesday following a press conference about the report, which for the past seven years has offered a more personal approach to poverty than the statistical perspective provided by the National Insurance Institute’s annual poverty report released last month.
“We are expecting that many more people in 2010 will join the already tens of thousands of individuals trapped in the cycle of poverty,” said Weintraub, adding that non-profit organizations such as Latet are growing increasingly concerned that they will not be able to cope with the rise.
Among the findings of the report, the organization noted a growth of 10% in the number of people that lost their jobs over the past year due to the economic crisis, with 25% saying they were not optimistic about finding work in the near future.
While the situation grew more difficult for adults, the report highlighted the worsening conditions for the country’s children.
Aside from the 6% of children admitting to stealing food, 20% of needy families reported that their children had become involved in violent activities due to the tough financial situation. In addition, 34% said they were fearful their children would eventually become involved in crime or start taking drugs because of the economic hardships their families faced.
Further, an overwhelming 62% of families said they could not provide their children with suitable food staples, while 45% claimed their young were not receiving even one hot meal a day, including at school or in after-school programs.
The report also found that the situation for 44% of those currently receiving food aid had significantly worsened over the past year, with 63% reporting that they are unable to purchase medical treatment or supplies due to their financial situation.
In its questions to the general public, the study found that 80% of the population believes that the government has failed in its attempts to stamp out poverty in Israel and 40% feel that government policies actually contributed to worsening the crisis.
According to the official National Insurance Institute report, 1,651,300 Israelis lived below the poverty line in 2008. Among these figures, 783,600 were children, a slight increase from 773,900 the previous year.
Back in the 1960′s it was politically chic to endorse the social theory that the root cause of crime was income inequality and social injustice, sort of a Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc assumption that the existence of A caused B. Whoa! Not so fast reported Heather MacDonald, writer for the Manhattan Institute. The Institute concluded, much to the surprise and chagrin of the criminologists, social scientists and fevered brow liberals that the opposite was extant. In fact, in spite of the wailing that the inherited Bush recession will beget poverty, which will beget lawlessness, which will beget criminals, the reality is that crime is down (7 million job losses later) at the lowest level since the early 1960′s.
According to MacDonald, Sociologists Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin argued that juvenile delinquency was essentially a form of social criticism of a bigoted society which stunted their upward mobility, ergo, the poor minority turned to crime as a means to an end.
Professor Cloward, a career student and teacher at Columbia University and his liberal sidekick, Ohlin, served presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter.
They provided the structural framework for such programs as the Office of Economic Opportunity, Headstart and a plethora of welfare initiatives. Their thinking, vacuous and obtuse, is typical of eastern establishment educators; namely, they piffled “since crime is a rational response to income inequality, it follows that government can best respond through expanding social services and wealth redistribution than by arrests and incarceration.” Sound familiar?
Figures from the crime rate during the Great Depression of the 1930′s contradicts the notion that need breeds predation. During that desperate economic time in American history, crime declined.
Nevertheless the votaries of “root cause apologetics” continue to chimerically ignore the true facts and continue to hum the bitter refrains of racism.
Andrew Karmen (professor at John Jay College) echoed the unfounded middens of Cloward and Ohlin by declaring that crime is “a distorted form of social protest.” The New York times in their anti-anything conservative, sibilant fashion, urged President Obama to re-vitalize federal spending on after-school programs, social workers and summer jobs. The NYT editorialist sobbed, “The economic crisis has created the conditions for more crime and more gangs–among hopeless, jobless young men in the inner cities.” Here are few numbers the NYT guy should have perused before he engaged his pen. The FBI reports that homicides dropped 10 percent nationwide in 2009; violent crimes in general dropped 4.4 percent, and property crimes down 6.1 percent. In Los Angeles, where the jobless rate is 12.3 percent, homicides dropped over 25 perecent. Car thefts went down 20 percent.
Police departments in several large cities have adopted the Compstat method of determining policing strategies; namely, utilizing crime data and not political posturing for crime fighting. The Compstat method is opposite to the apologist’s root-cause theories, and argues that policing can control crime for the sake of economic viabililty. Further, policies based on crime data have lowered crime and demonstrate that law enforcement can control criminal anti-social behavior and provide public safety through enforcing the law, notwithstanding economic conditions.
The arguments for cutting the number of police officers coupled with early releases of prisoners during a recession are both self-defeating. Public safety is integral to thriving urban life and keeping crime rates low is the best option to take, at least until an economic recovery begins.
Those who make a cottage industry of race baiting have long inculcated in the minds of poor minorities that poverty causes crime. More and more this destructive and incorrect assumption is becoming less and less an un-rebutted shibboleth.
Businesses leave crime-ridden neighborhoods, taking jobs and opportunities with them; property values plunge; owners dis-invest in property and any rehabilitation of the area gives way, as it usually does, to criminals. Crime causes poverty, not vice versa.
In thinking about what can be done on a macro level to address the spectrum of the ills in Israeli society, this article by Jonathan Rosenblum says much about those first steps needed.
Leveling the Playing Field
By Jonathan Rosenblum
Assassination of a nation’s highest elected official represents the ultimate breakdown of democratic government. Naomi Chazan was therefore justified in reexamining the circumstances leading up to the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin and asking whether the proper lessons have been learned (“Democracy Check,” October 30, 2009). Predictably, however, she locates all the democracy deficits on the Right side of the political spectrum, and ignores certain ongoing flaws of Israeli democracy.
Democratic legitimacy depends on citizens’ perception that the playing field is level and that the rules of the game are applied equally. Tolerance of opposing views rests on the belief that if one’s own preferred policies have not prevailed today they may do so tomorrow and that no structural barriers will be erected to the reversal of current political fortunes. When that trust is lost, those out of power feel justified in resorting to extra-democratic means.
Ensuring an even playing field has never been the strong point of Israeli democracy. The referees of the game are commonly players on one team. More than a decade ago, Ari Shavit in Ha’aretz took aim at the “totalitarian self-assurance” of Israel’s cultural elites and their belief that “our truth is the only truth.” Speaking as a member of those elites, Shavit protested the willingness to use “whatever influence we can muster as referees [in the democratic process debate], reporters, and commentators to influence the game in our favor – to do whatever it takes to ensure our final victory [and] vanquish once and for all the Sons of Darkness on the opposing team.”
Numerous factors prior to the Rabin assassination lessened the legitimacy of Israeli democracy and thereby raised tensions in the body politic. None are mentioned by Chazan. Knesset ratification of the Oslo Accords, one of the most monumental decisions in Israel’s history, was secured with blatant political bribes to two MKs elected on the slate of the far-Right Tsomet list. Oslo supporters did not exactly play cricket. Rabin also contributed to the roiling anger by treating opposing views as unworthy of his consideration. He proclaimed himself prime minister of 98% of Israelis and told opponents they “could go spin like propellers.”
Israel’s highly ideological Supreme Court is another aspect of the biased referee problem. The perception that victory at the ballot box may be effectively snatched away by the Court lowers trust in the democratic process. And that problem is compounded by Israel’s unique method of judicial selection, which gives the sitting justices of the Supreme Court virtual veto power over new justices. The result, as Professor Ruth Gavison points out, is that the Court becomes a self-perpetuating ideological cult, and those who hold different views of the proper role of the judiciary in a democratic society have little reason to hope that their views will find representation on the Court.
EFFORTS TO LEVEL the playing field continue to flounder today. Every attempt to reduce the power of the Left to serve as referee of the political process is met with howls of derision. The current attacks on Justice Minister Yaacov Ne’eman for proposing to split the duties of the attorney-general is the latest example. Seldom noted is that the power of the attorney-general in Israel is virtually unparalleled in the world. And the position is almost entirely a creation of the Supreme Court, which treats the attorney-general as their emissary to keep a watchful eye on the executive branch.
The double standards that plague every discussion of free speech issues is another example of the continuing absence of one set of rules for all. Harsh statements made by anyone on the Right are treated as incitement to murder; similar statements by those of the Left are dismissed as harmless. Incendiary words by the Left – reflections on the sometimes salutary effects of civil war (Ephraim Sneh), calls for an intifada against political or religious foes (Yonatan Gefen), or reveries about mowing down fellow Jews with a machine gun (Uri Avineri) – are nothing more than robust expressions of free speech. Underlying the distinction is an unstated theory: Those on the Left are all peaceful flower children; those on the Right all crazed potential murderers, easily aroused to mayhem.
Those who seek to lessen the hold of the Left in academia or the media – important referees in the democratic process game – are met with accusations of McCarthyism. Once again there is a double set of rules. Many academics favor every imaginable form of affirmative action, except one: ideological diversity in their departments. Hebrew University Professor Yitzchak Galnoor has been one the loudest critics of the “McCarthyism” of academic monitors like Isracampus. Yet when he was civil service commissioner, Galnoor sought the firing of Hebrew University Professor Nachum Rakover, this year’s Israel Prize laureate in Jewish Law, for telling a Knesset Committee that Jewish law opposes same-sex marriage. Few of those who complain of witchhunts in academia protested when the director-general of the Education Ministry, a Meretz appointee, fired a high school teacher in Haifa for complaining that Rabin memorial ceremonies were being used to advance a particular political viewpoint.
A recent Ha’aretz op-ed described Israeli academics as under scrutiny by “vigilantes” who “incite” university donors and encourage students to “spy” on teachers. And that was just the first paragraph. Stripped of the hyperbole, what remains of these charges?
Surely the nature of what is taught in Israel’s universities is a matter of public interest. Was Professor Amnon Rubinstein, the former Meretz Education Minister, being McCarthyite when he wrote that in many Israeli university departments no traditional Zionist need apply? This week, Ha’aretz reported that many Tel Aviv University students are intimidated from speaking in class by the fear that left-wing professors will give them lower grades. Was Professor Nira Hativa, head of TAU’s Department of Curriculum, being McCarthyite to raise the issue?
Statements by Israeli academics and journalists – e.g., Professor Neve Gordon’s call in the Los Angeles Times for a boycott of Israel – have a disproportionate impact on worldwide perceptions of Israel. Such statements benefit from a multiplier effect by virtue of their origin. Anyone who attempts to defend the consensus Israeli view of the “peace process” abroad will inevitably be confronted by someone quoting an Israeli academic calling for an end to Israeli apartheid. That makes the work of those academics a matter of public interest, just as it is a matter of public interest to know who is funding Israel-based non-governmental organizations and what their political agenda is.
If a faculty member at any Israeli university wins a Nobel Prize, donors can count on hearing about it. Do donors not also have a right to know that they are funding academics who seek to delegitimize Israel? Finally, why should professors be granted some unique right to immunize from scrutiny their classroom statements, made in their public capacities, or other published work?
Academic monitoring organizations have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of what they publish, and would be well-advised to keep their own characterizations of statements to a minimum. But they are providing a valuable corrective to the current monopoly of one narrow band of the political spectrum over large swaths of Israeli academia.
Ultimately, the best protection against a repeat of the Rabin assassination is reaching a national consensus on one set of rules for all political players.
This Video describes an earlier time:
Spoke with a good friend today from the old country. He lives in Toronto, Canada (sort of America…). One of his colleagues is visiting her grandmother in Meah Shearim.
She had witness the senseless destruction the haredim we causing during the riots (the call them “demonstrations”) last week. Her main observation was that she simply could not understand why these people insist on destroying themselves. And that is exactly the point.
The hareidi community can be so extreme in their “protection of themselves” from the rest of the world that it many times results in the most negative consequences.
A case in point? This same friend is thank G-D doing well in the business world. He is on the tzedakah drivers’ route for the “shnorers” (beggars) that come from Israel to collect money. These beggars in many cases do so for their own personal financial need.
he had a 21 year`old (young!) man drop by recently to ask for a donation. He was newly married and everyone is thank G-D healthy. he was collecting to support his new young family. My friend just could not understand why this young man does not go out and get a job.
The answer of course is that the hareidi community in which he lives frowns upon anything that will take him away from his Torah study. Hmmm, some of my most peaceful Torah learning has been on those trans-Atlantic flights…
The point of course is that the implosion, the self destruction, of this community is rampant. Hopefully its demise (that is, the demise of the self destruction) will not be too painful.
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