'A Third World country, like the United States' (archives)
Photo: AFP

Where did the crisis go?

Financial crisis’ premature end leaves Israelis feeling left out, again

The news hit us out of the blue. The messengers knocked on our door in the middle of the night with the shocking news: The financial crisis is no longer.


We pinned so many hopes on it. We formulated so many plans for a shared future. And now, the “gravest disaster since 1929” has left the building, without even celebrating its first birthday.


In the framework of the celebrations marking the end of the crisis in Israel, we were presented with proof this past week in the form of the revival of the housing market, the hunt for VIP tickets for the Leonard Cohen show, and the record number of Israelis flying abroad this summer, most of them apparently to other Leonard Cohen shows.


The reasons for the sudden mitigation of the verdict are not as clear, but there is nothing new about that either. Just like we did not quite understand why the crisis started, we do not really have a clue as to why it ended, and whether it was indeed a crisis or just a dream.


As opposed to the state of affairs in the United States or in Europe, here it appears that the whole deal ended even before it truly got underway. It feels as though more than we felt the recession, we heard about it. On the news, in foreign news reports, and from a friend whose neighbor’s sister-in-law heard about someone who really had his salary chopped.


The fact that the global crisis did not really acclimatize here is certainly reassuring, yet the relief is tainted by certain bitterness. That’s it? This is what all the panic was about?


Slight sense of disappointment

At this stage, we of course have to praise the Israeli economy which refused – or just didn’t have enough time – to adopt all the bad habits of mother America. However, the local pride, we must admit, comes with a slight sense of disappointment.


After all the local disasters we are accustomed to face here, we longed, for once, to be part of a global catastrophe. We wanted to be part of the enlightened world of an economy in shambles. Now we are starting to realize that yet again we were not quite there. As always, we tried to belong, to be accepted, to push our way in, yet the doors of the exclusive crisis club did not quite open for us.


Just like many other international trends, the crisis also remained for us a rumor from the big world we really tried to adopt, with partial success. In this case too, those of us we wish to feel the spirit of the times or just see what real distress is all about will have to travel to a Third World country, like the United States.


פרסום ראשון: 08.15.09, 14:23
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