MK Dr. Nachman Shai (Kadima) attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following the publication of an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report that placed Israel alongside the US at the head of a list of countries with the greatest socioeconomic disparity.
"The prime minister's vision has come true - America is here!" Shai proclaimed.
Shai added, "But instead of creating a liberal democratic society that is open, tolerant and multi-cultural like America, we have copied the piggish capitalism, concentration of wealth, and merciless economic paradigm that generates growing gaps between rich and poor."
The new OECD report on social inequality shows the average income of the top decile in the advanced economies is on average nine times greater than that of the lowest decile – while in Israel it is 14 times greater. The United States and Turkey showed similar disparities.
Israel is the only country apart from Japan where the average income between the mid-'80s until the end of 2000 declined for the lowest decile. The average rate of decline was 1.1%. Meanwhile Israel's top decile rose by 2.4%.
Supporters of Netanyahu's economic policies – in place since his tenure as finance minister under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon – note that internal imbalances in Israel's economy have been offset by Israel's continued economic stability amid a global economic downturn and sovereign debt crisis that has shaken international markets.
Israel's economy has seen a slowdown in growth – but no negative trends – that is expected to right itself by early 2013.
Netanyahu's government has moved in recent months to lower the cost of living and housing in Israel in response to 'social protests' that erupted earlier this year. The government, as of yet, has not instituted programs – such as widespread retraining and university subsidies – intended to strengthen Israel's job force and reduce socioeconomic gaps in the long-term.