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Einav Schiff
Employees of the Teva factory in Ashdod protest its closure

The willful ignorance of lawmakers

Opinion: A Likud MK recently suggested that factory workers who have lost their jobs can earn thousands of shekels a month washing dishes in Tel Aviv, becoming the latest in series of right-wing politicians to display an utter lack of sensitivity to those in need

Einav Schiff |
Published: 02.27.20 , 12:52
Likud MK Sharren Haskel recently suggested that those who lost their jobs at factories in southern Israel find work washing dishes in Tel Aviv restaurants, promising them a monthly salary of NIS 12,000 ($3,500).
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  • When you've stopped laughing and wondering whether I made this up, I recommend you watch the video of the conference at which Haskel, who earns NIS 45,000 per month, said it. Maybe after seeing it several times you will understand that she really was serious.
    Employees of the Teva factory in Ashdod protest its closure Employees of the Teva factory in Ashdod protest its closure
    Employees of the Teva factory in Ashdod protest its closure
    (באדיבות דוברות ההסתדרות)
    After the initial shock dissipates, you will most likely feel a tinge of sadness at the way Haskel, a public elected official and a lawmaker from the country's ruling party, expresses herself.
    Haskel spews a hypnotic combination of distortion and untruths (care to venture a guess how many hours of washing dishes it takes to earn NIS 12,000?) that serves to further demonstrate just how disconnected from reality she is.
    שרן השכל באולפן ynetשרן השכל באולפן ynet
    MK Sharren Haskel
    (Photo: Avi Moalem )
    In her mind these laid-off workers, most of whom are probably old enough to be her parents, are only a bus or a train ride away from Tel Aviv and a better standard of living. If the bus or train even bothers to arrive at all that is.
    It's true that our political discussion is tainted by triviality and populism when it comes to economics, but it's Haskel's willful blindness to the needs of the people that is most disturbing.
    Haskel doesn't see people in front of her, she only sees a workforce, and if the factory they used to work for ran out of money (surely their fault) they should instead polish our plates and clean our cutlery.
    Employees of the Teva factory in Ashdod protest its closure Employees of the Teva factory in Ashdod protest its closure
    Employees of the Teva factory in Ashdod protest its closure
    (Photo: Avi Rokah)
    It's too bad economic issues cannot truly be resolved with a simple snap of a finger.
    Ayelet Shaked's plan to save the country's agriculture industry by cancelling the pensions of all foreign workers working in the sector is yet another great example of a demagogy in which the weakest are seen as the problem.
    How can right-wing voters support such a disconnect? Where are cries of outrage from those who insist that non-Ashkenazi Jews are second-class citizens in Israel? Where is Shas leader Aryeh Deri, who built an entire election campaign on the idea he is the savior of the downtrodden?
    אריה דרעי כנס חולון ש"ס אריה דרעי כנס חולון ש"ס
    Aryeh Deri in speaking in Holon in the run-up to the Sept. 2019 elections
    (Photo: Tal Shahar)
    Sharren Haskel is proof of the fact that despite claims Israel is having its best decade ever, there are plenty who have been forgotten and left behind.
    In fact, they are so disregarded that people like Haskel don't even flinch when they suggest that they find a job that is more or less the equivalent of hard labor.
    If only the next government could be filled with people who understand the reality of living of the edge of society - and perhaps Ms. Haskel could make big money washing dishes.
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