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Forum LockedSocial situation of modern Israel

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    Posted: 18-Nov-2008 at 06:59
Yesterday I was reading a news about a car bomb that had killed one of Israel's most powerful mob bosses. It was the first time I knew that organized crime existed in Israel on such a large scale.
After doing some research on the internet, it seems that over the last decades, there has been a widening of the rich and poor in Israel, and that crime has become an escalating problem in a handful of marginal neighbourhoods.
 
While in the news we hear a great deal about the Israeli-Palestian conflict, and about the uneasy cohabitation between Israeli Jews and Arabs, little attention has been paid to the widening social differences among Israeli Jews.
 
Over the last decade, a large number of immigrants arrived in Israel, mainly from the former USSR and Ethiopia.
Have these Jews been thoroughly integrated into Israeli society, or are they marginalised?
 
Russian gangs have also found a foothold in Israeli, and many Russian gentile criminals have obtained Israeli passports.
 
Are there any Israelis here to clarify these issues?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Nov-2008 at 23:37

I am not an Israeli, but my strong impression is that the wave of Russian immigrants has been  problematic for Israel. In an effort to increase the number of immigrants, the Israelis defined "Jewish" to include people of relatively distant Jewish ancestory and also ignored warnings about some of the potential immigrants.   

Evidently, a noticable minority of the former Soviet  immigrants either were career criminals, refused to acculturate or to learn free market economic skills etc.  In addition, many were only distantly Jewish and some had little sense of identity to Israel yet had high expectations of a western lifestlyle.  A certain number quickly left Israel with US visas.
 
Due to these problems, Israel then began accepting Jewish converts from  Mexico, India and China as immigrants.  Being from developing free market countries and also being religous converts, these people are far more likely to identify with Israel, have free market economic skills and are less likely to complain about hardships / dangers.  
 


Edited by Cryptic - 19-Nov-2008 at 23:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maharbbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Nov-2008 at 08:20
what I've gathered from my trips in Israel and my relationship with Israelis is the following:

1. Due to its size, Israel exports and imports a lot this favours the rise of smugglers (you don't have smugglers between Illinois and Michigan). Add to that closed borders for political reasons and a huge economic and social gap between Israel and the Arab world.
2. The constant state of war in the area, the importance of covert operations, the number of active and retired operative and soldiers, the sheer number of guns in the country etc. and you have a fine workforce for the mob.
3. The region is a major point of entry to the EU from Africa and Asia for forbidden stuff such as drugs, weapons and migrants.
4. Israel is a grey state in terms of banking rules. Actually it is half way to be a fiscal heaven. Lot of money laundering goes through Israeli banks at one point or the other. The government can't help it, it sometimes needs money badly.
5. For a long while Israelis saw their country as a kind of dream come true; crime was low as it often happens with highly patriotic nations. But in the last 20 years this unity has broken down and petty crime has risen. But the result is that the police is really not used to fight criminals, let alone organized ones. Moreover, the police work is commonly disrupted by fighting terrorism (from both sides), credits are short.
6. Finally, I'd say when it comes to corruption and government inefficiency, as well as nepotism and other stuff of that kind, Israel is really up there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Nov-2008 at 16:19
A very good insight to the problem; especially regarding the fact that Israel is a fiscal haven comparable to Switzerland.
 
I also read on the papers that there is a growing gap between rich and poor among Jews in Israel.
Prior to the 1980s Israel was a relatively safe country, but some Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have become no-go areas controlled by gangs and thugs.
 
Are most of these underclass Jews native-born Israelis, or are they immigrants Jews from other countries?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Nov-2008 at 19:30
Originally posted by Maharbbal Maharbbal wrote:


 .....crime was low as it often happens with highly patriotic nations. But in the last 20 years this unity has broken down and petty crime has risen.


Wha????? Can you elaborate that please???????


Edited by Spartakus - 22-Nov-2008 at 19:31
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--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Nov-2008 at 04:47
Hello to you all
 
As far as I know and from what I read, Organized crime in Israel came with Russian immigrants way before the modern wave. Unlike Jews of western europe, Jews of Russia were isolated in ghettos and in those ghettos crimes were rampant. Russian Jews brought organised crime (that helped them in Russia protect themselves) with them to America (Bugsy Siegle, Meyer Lansky et al) where there was no real threat. Most Jews immediately became part of mainstream America but some still hung to the old ways. Some of them immigrated to Israel and tried to establish crime syndicates but failed. It was only when a flood of poor immigrants, bad economic situation and lots of unemployed ex-military (all in the late 70s and early 80s) did organized crime take hold in Israel.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Nov-2008 at 07:23

Israel has long been a haven for the Jewish-American mob and has always had a problem with organized crime. There's nothing new about this at all. Major gangsters like Meyer Lansky and Joseph Stacher have always been able to use the Right of Return to flee authorities and escape to Israel. Israel has very poor extradition laws; until 1978, Israeli law completely forbid extradition of criminals charged with crimes in other countries. This caused it to become very attractive for gangsters with a Jewish background, for obvious reasons. Mind you, we aren't talking Brazil here. The population is small and Israel does, now, have extradition procedures (not to mention that it is, after all, a police state).

Israel has long had plenty of home-grown organized crime too, for instance the Abergil family, Zeev Rosenstein, Gonen Segev, etc etc. Presumably this is mostly because of the influence of criminal immigrants (such as Lansky etc) - organized crime is like business in general, the more of it that gets collected into one place, the more it reproduces and spawns itself. 

Still, in perspective ... it's got alot of problems with organized crime for a country it's size, but it's far less of a key player in organized crime than places like Colombia, Mexico, the US, or even Canada.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Nov-2008 at 10:18
Many of the Russians who migrated are not at all, or are only very nominally, Jewish. Primarily migrating for economic and not zionist reasons.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maharbbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Nov-2008 at 11:17
Originally posted by Spartakus Spartakus wrote:

Originally posted by Maharbbal Maharbbal wrote:


 .....crime was low as it often happens with highly patriotic nations. But in the last 20 years this unity has broken down and petty crime has risen.


Wha????? Can you elaborate that please???????


Easy, a high degree of patriotism usually give people a sense of purpose.

You're less likely to rob your neighbour when you are fully aware that your own safety depends on him.

The same applies in the economy. A state and its citizens are less likely to fool around when they are aware that the enemy is at the gates and that a single screw up may bring a huge catastrophy. For instance, the threat of Northern invasion was a very good incentive for South Koreans to accept a huge workload at a low salary. So you can say that Kim Il Sung greatly helped in the quick industrialization and economic growth of his southern neighbour.

We are gregarian animals. When a sense of duty is required we tend not to fool around. Just consider for instance the feeling of trust and brotherhood soldiers enjoyed on the front in WWI. Even nowadays the 1940s and 50s appear as a sort of lost paradise for many American despite the daily threat of Russian nuclear attack.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Nov-2008 at 00:08
Originally posted by Maharbbal Maharbbal wrote:


Easy, a high degree of patriotism usually give people a sense of purpose.


The mob has it's purpose too: get richer.

Quote
You're less likely to rob your neighbour when you are fully aware that your own safety depends on him.


That is called saving your ass.

Originally posted by Maharbbal Maharbbal wrote:


The same applies in the economy. A state and its citizens are less likely to fool around when they are aware that the enemy is at the gates and that a single screw up may bring a huge catastrophy. When a sense of duty is required we tend not to fool around. Just consider for instance the feeling of trust and brotherhood soldiers enjoyed on the front in WWI. Even nowadays the 1940s and 50s appear as a sort of lost paradise for many American despite the daily threat of Russian nuclear attack.





1) Your whole thesis is using abstract terms. Who is a patriot, and who is the authority to judge him as such?
What is a duty? In which political context?
What is a crime? Can we distinguish it as such during a war period?
And does all the above you mentioned mean that less patriotic or non-patriotic countries are de facto less safe?

2) Even if we accepted all these abstract terms:
When the enemy is at the gates, there is no economy to talk about, only troops. And when there are troops, you are obligated to comply in order not to eat a bullet in your head. It does not matter whether you are a patriot or not. In the end, if it is to eat the bullet, then you will eat it.
  Greece was very much patriotic during WWII. Yet, "black merchants" , mavragorites, were selling their products to their compatriots in sky-high prices.
 You have US constructing companies gaining very favorable contracts in Iraq, just to gain more profit under the banner of patriotism and democracy.
Take modern Turkey:very patriotic, but at the same time ( at least until recently, right now i am not aware of it's crime rates) had very high crime rates.
Take Britain: Patriotic as well, yet with very bad juvenile crime rates.

Concerning WWI, just consider what happened in Tsarist Russia to see the collapse of your argument. The best novel for that is Michael Bulgakov's "The White Guard".

In the end,organized crime has little or nothing to do with the sense of duty or "patriotism". It mainly  has to do with the level of prevention and suppresion that security forces are capable off, with the level of economic prosperity and with the level of average education. Iran has very low crime rates, because it's suppresion mechanisms are very strong, not because of it's "patriotism".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Nov-2008 at 00:25
Originally posted by Maharbbal Maharbbal wrote:


Easy, a high degree of patriotism usually give people a sense of purpose.


The mob has it's purpose too: get richer.

Originally posted by Maharbbal Maharbbal wrote:


You're less likely to rob your neighbour when you are fully aware that your own safety depends on him.


That is called saving your ass.

Originally posted by Maharbbal Maharbbal wrote:


The same applies in the economy. A state and its citizens are less likely to fool around when they are aware that the enemy is at the gates and that a single screw up may bring a huge catastrophy. When a sense of duty is required we tend not to fool around. Just consider for instance the feeling of trust and brotherhood soldiers enjoyed on the front in WWI. Even nowadays the 1940s and 50s appear as a sort of lost paradise for many American despite the daily threat of Russian nuclear attack.





1) Your whole thesis is using abstract terms. Who is a patriot, and who is the authority to judge him as such?
What is a duty? In which political context?
What is a crime? Can we distinguish it as such during a war period?
And does all the above you mentioned mean that less patriotic or non-patriotic countries are de facto less safe?

2) Even if we accepted all these abstract terms:
When the enemy is at the gates, there is no economy to talk about, only troops. And when there are troops, you are obligated to comply in order not to eat a bullet in your head. It does not matter whether you are a patriot or not. In the end, if it is to eat the bullet, then you will eat it.
  Greece was very much patriotic during WWII. Yet, "black merchants" , mavragorites, were selling their products to their compatriots in sky-high prices.
 You have US constructing companies gaining very favorable contracts in Iraq, just to gain more profit under the banner of patriotism and democracy.
Take modern Turkey:very patriotic, but at the same time ( at least until recently, right now i am not aware of it's crime rates) had very high crime rates.
Take Britain: Patriotic as well, yet with very bad juvenile crime rates.

Concerning WWI, just consider what happened in Tsarist Russia to see the collapse of your argument. The best novel for the relativity of patriotism and duty is Michael Bulgakov's "The White Guard".

In the end,organized crime has little or nothing to do with the sense of duty or "patriotism". It mainly  has to do with the level of prevention and suppresion that security forces are capable off, with the level of economic prosperity and with the level of average education. Iran has very low crime rates, because it's suppresion mechanisms are very strong, not because of it's "patriotism".



Edited by Spartakus - 26-Nov-2008 at 08:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Nov-2008 at 17:42

Another aspect in the decline of Israeli social cohesion is the Secualr verse Ultra Orthodox divide.  In addition to their demands that Israeli society be based on their religous beliefs,  they are exempt military service and spend years on welfare rolls while in religous academies. Naturally, some openly manipulate both benefits.  

When the Ultra Orthodox were few in number, they were easy to ignore and their associated expenses could be written off.  Due to very large families, however, their percentge of the population has been growing and so have the head aches and the costs. 


Edited by Cryptic - 26-Nov-2008 at 17:43
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Nov-2008 at 22:15
The problem with Israel's society is that it has not found peace  since the beginning of it's creation.Mainly, because of it's inability to understand that militarism is a dead solution. Plus, it tries to portray itself as Jewish and, at the same time, Western democratic. Which is impossible.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2009 at 13:31
Another element about Israel that fascinates me is that it is founded by Jewish populations from all over the world who had lived in separate communities for up to milleniums, yet when they tried to re-construct a country together, there seemed that have been relatively little bigotry and "tribalism" between each of the groups.
As far as I know, most Israelis today are a mixture of Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Middle Eastern origins.

I'm sure that Jews from Germany, Poland, and Russia would have developed very different customs to Jews from Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt, and even more distinct everyday habits to Indian, Iranian, and Ethiopian Jews. Most probably, many Jews from Russia don't speak a word of Hebrew, while Sephardic Jews could be completely ignorant of Ashkenazi customs and social values.

At least as an outsider it seems to me that the different Jewish sub-groups seemed to have integrated rather easily without encountering many problems between themselves.
Sometimes we hear of social problems involving the marginalisation of Russian and Ethiopian Jews, yet they seem very trivial compared to the problems with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.

Do the political tendencies reflect any of the ethnic sub-divisions among Jews?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2009 at 14:07
Hello Calvo
 
Well the really fascinating thing is how did they revived the Hebrew language from death to become the official language. Albeit it is totally different than the original language but none the less this is a wonder.
 
As for assimilation, well the overwhelming majority of Jews were Ashkinazis. These people built several universities and an entire school system well before the creation of Israel and while the first generation of Sephardim migrants did not assimilate at all the 2nd generation did that quite easily.
 
There are some problems with assimilation and social differences in Israel. Israel is still divided socially between the Ashkenazi who dominate the state and the economy, the Russians who live in ghettos and the sephardim who are not that much different than Arabs there.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2009 at 16:21
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

 
There are some problems with assimilation and social differences in Israel. Israel is still divided socially between the Ashkenazi who dominate the state and the economy, the Russians who live in ghettos and the sephardim who are not that much different than Arabs there.
 
 
I thought that Mizrahim and Sephardic Jews are half the population of Israel, and roughly the other half are Ashkenazis.
I don't think that Sephardic Jews are treated like Arabs there because many top Israeli politicians and ministers are Sephardic. The far-right party of Leiberman who's main propaganda is anti-Arab, is followed mostly by Sephardic and Russian Jews rather than Ashkenazis
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote winningstad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 15:57
You should still remember, thought, that given the extreme amount of immigrants Israel has experienced, she has done realtively well in integrating them.
 
Especially during the early years.
 
 
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