A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
July 30 , 2007 Holocaust survivors to receive small pension next year/Israel running out of power
TodayŐs news from Israel was led by the news that the government has finally decided to issue a special pension to Holocaust survivors. The only problem is nothing will be given in this year, 80 shekels a month will be given next year and 120 shekels a month the year after. There are 80,000 Holocaust survivors living under the poverty line in Israel at the moment. They are all in their 70Ős and 80Ős and the government is going to pay a small amount over a number years. How absurd is it, especially when the Claim Conference (a Jewish organization that has received money on assets on behalf Holocaust victims) said that it has over 1 billion dollars in assets, and yet Israel is allowing the remaining victims of the Holocaust in Israel to live out their life in poverty?
Talking about absurdities, the recent heat wave in Israel has pushed Israeli energy consumption to 100% the capacity of IsraelŐs power plants. One would think that under these circumstances there would be new power plants in advanced stages of construction. But no, there are no new plants under construction. If there ever was a need to find money for an investment, either private or public, this is the time. But, it seems everybody is too busy to deal with such a minor problem.
Eli Hurwitz, the Chairman of the board of Teva, appeared on London and Kirschenbaum today as member of the Bordat Committee that analyzed the defense budget. Hurwitz stated that any increase in the defense budget that Barak wants will have to come out of other parts of the budget. Hurwitz reminded viewers that nearly 10% of Israel's GNP goes for defense. This compares to 2% for most developed states (in the US it is 3%). This is a burden that Israel needs to shoulder, but is a very heavy burden.
There is an interesting story from Iran that has not been covered very much in the US. It seems that Iran has just passed a law implementing gas rationing. Every car owner is receiving an allocation of 100 liters a month. This has caused serious rioting in Teheran. President Achmadinajan was even shown on TV apologizing to the people of Iran. Considering the fact that Iran is the second largest exporter of oil in the world, this situation is absurd. The problem lies in Iran's inability to refine the oil. It needs about 40% of its oil output for domestic needs, but only has the reining capacity for 10% of that.
Another interesting piece on the Arab world was a piece on the use of cell phones. They seem to be sweeping the Arab world. The segment interviews workers in Egypt who said they cut back on their food to pay their cell phone bills. Muslim spiritual leaders seem less than happy with this phenomenon as exchanging pictures seems to be one of the favorite occupations of many of the cell users.