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Sheftel: Crisis? Nonsense

The financial “crisis” raised by protest leaders is absurd, says Yoram Sheftel, pointing to a rapid increase in consumption of luxury goods.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/5/2011, 10:20 AM

 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?Tent city housing protest
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?Tent city housing protest
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Flash 90

Attorney Yoram Sheftel took leaders of the cost-of-living protest to task Friday for their complaints that Israelis “cannot finish the month.” Sheftel pointed out that even former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “complained that in the years 2003 to 2007 he found it hard to finish the month.”

Talk of a widespread financial crisis “is malicious demagoguery,” he argued.

A look at Israeli consumption is enough to show that buying power is not on the decline, he said. “Just this past year the import of cars to Israel grew by 13 percent. Since January 142,000 cars have been brought to Israel, and most were not purchased by Danker or Teshuva,” he said.

“The import of dishwashers has soared by 60 percent. Washing machines and clothes dryers as well... The import of specialty and large-screen TVs grew by 440,000 units to a total of 750,000 per year,” Sheftel continued. “Each third family buys a new television once a year. Those are crisis numbers?”

When a country is truly in economic crisis, fewer goods are purchased, he continued. “The United States is still considered the richest society in human history. There, they produced 17 million cars per year until five years ago; this year they produced only 11 million cars, while in Israel the numbers just keep going up.”

Those curious about claims of a nationwide crisis in purchasing power should look at the people making the claims, Sheftel said. “Rachel Barda of 'Ometz L'Sarev,' which encourages young men not to serve in the army. Ms. Rosiliu, who condemned Operation Cast Lead. Dafna Leef, movie producer for the anti-Semitic New Israel Fund gang,” he listed.

“Now they have a new demand, no more and no less than to recognize illegal villages in the Negev, to recognize those thieves, Bedouin criminals who invaded Negev land. That is the true face of the struggle,” Sheftel concluded.