Why Israel’s Economy Is Booming

Despite mounting protests over the rising cost of living—much-publicized in the Israeli media—newly released data show that the Jewish state is experiencing unrivaled economic growth. Gad Lior explains:

An economy that records an 8.1-percent annual growth is definitely not in distress. The Germans, the British, the Spanish, and even the Americans are green with envy. Consumption was up 19.2 percent in the last quarter of 2021, and 11.7 percent in all of last year. This a shopping bonanza the like of which we haven’t seen in a long, long time. It seems that whatever the Israelis held back in the first year of the pandemic, they’re making up for now.

Even businesses that previously saw their footfall collapse entirely suddenly picked themselves up off the ground. Customers returned hungrier than ever, looking for any excuse to go out shopping, to eat out, to go to the movies, or to enjoy a concert. . . . Likewise, Israeli industry and importers also emerged from the pandemic with flying colors.

The fact that the state budget was approved for the first time in nearly four years also helped economic growth. . . . As for the future, the market is expected to continue recovering, save for a catastrophic event such as a war or a super-violent variant. However, these record-high numbers can’t last forever and would be almost impossible to top.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Coronavirus, Israeli economy


Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion