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cost of settlements

1543 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  madrone
Here is great article about the estimated costs of the settlements to Israel - remember the govt. doesn;t release the actual costs:

The extra civilian price tag: at least NIS 2.5 billion a year

By Moti Bassok and Haaretz Staff

One of the most closely guarded secrets in Israel is the amount of funding that is channeled to the settlements. Budget items were built to conceal this information and no government report has ever been published on the subject. Now, for the first time, Haaretz is presenting a nearly complete picture of the additional cost of the settlements, which totals more than NIS 45 billion since 1967
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I have a headache and probably a bit dense (or more than normal) because of that. What does the currency NIS stand for and how does it relate to the euro or dollar? How many people live in the settlements?
NIS= New Israeli Shekels

New because they were stabilized in 1985. Israel's currency has a kind of crazy (and to me, rather amusing) history of its own.

Here is the webpage with the current exchange rates.

I went looking for current statistics on how many Israelis are living in the settlements. Mideastweb has data from 2002: they say that 210,00 Jews are living in the West Bank and another roughly 200K are living in annexed E. Jerusalem (which includes Mt. Scopus, original home of Hebrew University, etc.)

Why the money for settlements is a scandal: the US made its loan guarantees to Israel contingent on Israel dismantling a good part of its infrastructure. Israel was founded by socialists and the current Israeli and US governments are not into social safety networks, entitlements, unions, etc. (The sick part is that the Bushies aren't content to dismantle OUR safety network in the US, they have to dismantle Israel's, too!) At the moment, the country's largest labor union, the Histadrut, is on strike. (Not that a strike is such a big deal in Israel, at least I can't remember a time when someone in Israel wasn't on strike...) Over the summer, an Israeli mom made international headlines through her protest of these cuts.

So anyway, you should also know that Ha'aretz is sort of the NY Times of Israel: Lefty, but not soooo lefty, intellectual--you have to have a pretty good education to read the Hebrew paper. They don't like Sharon. I like reading Ha'aretz because of that. (The other papers : Ma'ariv and Yediot Achoronot, don't have English websites. They might present other opinions, but anyway I would probably trust Ha'aretz on most things, except maybe their reporting on religious Jews...too much bias. FWIW)
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Thanks for the links CaptainOptimism. I've decided that the 210,00 has to be 210,000 and not 21,000 because of the size of the area. Large difference if I've decided incorrectly. With that, it would be NIS 3,136 per year ($710) per settler. But it also said that there were more settlers during the 70's and 80's, so that would lower the cost per person. I guess that would be how much more per settler to what the government spends on everyone else. And then that also doesn't add up with the tax breaks that settlers get. I don't think my figures can be right or they really have started spending more in recent years.

It seems like the social support network is systematically being dismantled throughout the world. Or at least from what I know. Here in France, we have a conservative government because of a pitiful situation with the last election. Even though it seems like I always defend this government on the boards here, I cannot say I support them. There has recently been a lot of uproar here because they cut some taxes and also cut one particular social benefit that will be leaving some people without. The tax cut was much larger than the benefits cut, so they will still have to come up a lot more money to pay for the tax cut. The gap between the rich and poor widens here also.
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I don't know if my post makes very much sense. I shouldn't try even partially deep thoughts when I'm not feeling well. I'm going to bed instead.
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