Notes on Israeli inequality

by on December 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm in Economics, Uncategorized | Permalink

Inequality in Israel has been rising rapidly, but it is neither from trade with China nor because of robots.  In part more of the Israeli economy has shifted — for technological reasons — into inequality-inducing sectors, such as information technology.  The greater size and openness of the Israeli economy also mean that preexisting educational disparities, many of them rooted in religious and ethnic differences, now map into greater income differentials.  For instance a growing role for exports in the economy boosts income inequality because not all workers have access to the international customers, whether directly or indirectly.

Many of the ultra-Orthodox here have characteristics of “threshold earners,” as I have discussed that concept in the past.  Their wages have stagnated in real terms or even fallen over the last decade.

Russian-born Israelis have enjoyed strong income gains, whereas the non-Haredi Israeli-born middle class Jews have lost a small amount of ground.

The price of housing remains inefficiently high.

I sometimes say that Israel is where “Average is Over” happens first:

“…the income gap between the 90th percentile and the median worker in Israel is the highest of all the developed countries, as is the income gap between the median (50th percentile) and the 10th percentile. And if that is not enough, the income gap between the 75th percentile and the 25th percentile, in other words the income gap within the middle class − between the upper and lower middle class − is also the highest in the developed world.”  The link is here.

The bottom decile actually has done quite well in terms of rates of change, but the 6th through 8th deciles have done especially poorly (same link).  That source serves up the intriguing hypothesis that the disappearance of middle class-earning middlemen in the Israeli economy is due to the disintermediation of the internet, although without citing any data.  In any case, it is the non-substitutable, non-automatable, manual labor jobs which have seen rising pay at the very bottom.

(As an aside, a number of recent studies of rising income inequality caricature the technology hypothesis in a variety of non-useful ways, and thus (incorrectly) reject it.  I hope to consider those arguments in more detail, in the meantime I will note that the Israel case study is a useful corrective to those views, by showing the broad spectra of ways in which technology influences income distribution.  It’s not just or even mainly about “robots.”)

The Israeli economy has a high degree of economic and financial concentration.  How much that problem would be alleviated if Israel could have normal trade and investment relations with its immediate neighbors?

A higher employment to population ratio would yield a good deal of low-hanging fruit.  It is hard for me to judge across what time horizon that might happen here.

Michael December 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Of course, if you include the Palestinian lands, income inequality in that region is even worse.

dead serious December 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm

There’s no such thing as Palestinian land to an Israeli.

Ganzomasada December 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

We’ll if there are no Palestinian lands in Israel, where are they?

I really don’t see how any income comparison can be complete without including the ccupied ghettos. By no means can those be considered independent states.

Engineer December 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm

The PA (including the areas that are under Israeli military control) is a separate and radically different economy and needs to be considered separately.

Bill Harshaw December 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Whatever happened to the dreams of the kibbutz? ( All I know about Israel I learned from Leon Uris. :-)

Brian Donohue December 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Reality?

Rahul December 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm

When no longer under a (relatively) severe existential crises, people are less willing to co-operate & sacrifice?

Engineer December 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Many of them are now quasi-privatized.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 9:56 pm

“Whatever happened to the dreams of the kibbutz?”

A quite similar fate to what happened to Christian socialist communes in 19th Century America, such as Amana: they work pretty well while the ideology/faith is strong, but after a few generations the grandkids tend to turn them into more or less commercial enterprises. For example, the Amana colonies in Iowa were Pietist utopian communes from 1856 to 1934, when Amana became a strong corporation in the appliance industry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amana_Colonies

Marian Kechlibar December 11, 2013 at 4:48 am

Generation change. The founders of kibbutzim were a self-selected group indiferent to personal property and wealth. Their children reverted to the human median.

I remember reading an article by an old kibbutz woman, who described how aghast the kindergarten workers were, when they realized that the 3- and 4-year olds fight for toys as viciously as any other children in the world, and that it does not bode well for the future of the experiment.

Ray Lopez December 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I would say that Japan is where the End of the Great Stagnation and/or End of Keynesianism happens first (they are related in my mind, as Keynesianism favors maintaining the status quo in demand, and hence results in stagnation in a society akin to not culling forests of deadwood in forest fires)

Israel is where water rights and electric cars (they have Tesla style recharging stations everywhere) happen first.

Mark Thorson December 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm

The company that built those charging stations went bankrupt, after blowing through $800 million. Another company bought those assets for a mere $450,000, but it remains to be seen whether they can make a go of it.

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/11/21/israeli-startup-buys-bankrupt-electric-car-company.aspx

JWatts December 9, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I would say that Japan is where the End of the Great Stagnation and/or End of Keynesianism happens first

You might be right about that. At the very least Japan has a high public debt and a low growth rate.

Japanese debt is 214% of GDP vs Greece’s 161% and their average growth over the last two decades is close to 0.

Lowrie Glasgow December 9, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Have you visited Greater Israel ? Apartheid is poor economics for some groups.
Who is sponsoring this junket? Personal funds ?

Thor December 9, 2013 at 3:12 pm
Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 3:21 am

But the prime minister of Israel is still not going to Nelson Mandela’s funeral. The Likud Prime Ministers like Begin got along fine with the apartheid government.

Ari December 10, 2013 at 9:31 am

This had little to do with geopolitics or Mandela himself, and everything to do with domestic optics. This sounds somewhat silly to non-Israelis or those unfamiliar with the internal political dynamic there, but this is actually an issue of rapidly growing importance for Israelis confronting corruption in government.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/9/israeli-pm-benjamin-netanyahu-backs-out-nelson-man/

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 9:35 am

Of course Mandela’s backing Arafat and Qadaffi has nothing to do with the Israeli prime minister’s skipping his funeral.

Rahul December 10, 2013 at 10:03 am

@Sailer

Maybe it did. So what? Perhaps it was both : a signal for thrift and politics.

Do you have a deeper point you want to make here?

Rahul December 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm

“the income gap between the 90th percentile and the median worker in Israel is the highest of all the developed countries, as is the income gap between the median (50th percentile) and the 10th percentile”

Is this a cherry picked metric? Just wondering because if I look at Gini or alternatively the ratio of income of the richest 10% to the poorest 10% USA comes off worse than Israel on both metrics.

Technically, is there reason to choose any one of these metrics over the others?

FC December 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm

And before or after subtracting taxes and adding allowances?

David Wright December 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm

It’s mathematically impossible that the I(90)/I(50) ratio and the I(50)/I(10) ratios are both larger in Israel than in the US and the I(90)/I(10) ratio is not, because the latter is just the product of the former.

It looks like Israel does come out over the US when one looks at before-tax-and-transfer income, but that is arguably “good inequality”: it shows that your system allows even your least productive people to find work and encourages your most productive people to work to their capacity. From the data I can find, US inequality is still larger than Israel’s when one looks at after-tax-and-transfer income. Of course, it is possible that Tyler has access to a more recent data set.

Rahul December 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Indeed. Something doesn’t seem right here.

mike December 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm

The “income of the richest 10 percent” is not the same as the 90th percentile, and the “income of the bottom 10 percent” is not the same as the 10th percentile.

TallDave December 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm

If the presence of Steve Jobs makes it worse, it’s probably not a good metric.

Engineer December 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm

> I sometimes say that Israel is where “Average is Over” happens first

There are some unique factors in the Israeli economy. One is demographics: there are lots of young people (including non-Haredi). Higher education is shorter and more practically oriented. Unemployment is low and among younger people and higher among over-40s.

There is investment cash, but not nearly enough to keep everyone employed – the result is hundreds of bootstrapped startups. The can-do military mentality dominates in business and the management style is extremely adhoc. Thus there are very few large companies.

ummm December 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm

A good video about why peter schiff is an idiot
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt3sGCFkcKk
Expansion of the money supply is not necessarily inflationary. Stock market is going up because earnings are good. Strong earnings are not correlated with 100% of the US economy due to multinational corporations and other factors.

The empirical evidence suggests wealth inequality still doesn’t post a threat to the economy although a lot of people like to talk like it does. Don;t see much that can be done to fix this

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Tyler says:

“The price of housing remains inefficiently high.”

Real estate agents say that the price of land inevitably goes up because they aren’t making any more of it. Israel is an interesting example of a place where the price of land has gone way up despite the government making more of it by settling conquered territories.

dead serious December 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm

+1

Or, as an honest libertarian would call it, stealing.

TMC December 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Taking land is not stealing when the other side attacks first.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Who can forget how at dawn on June 5, 1967 the Egyptian air force swooped down on the unsuspecting Israeli air force and destroyed most of the Israeli planes on the ground?

dead serious December 9, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I guess by TMC’s rules if you are attacked that gives you license to passive-aggressively steal the land of people with the same color skin as your attackers (many not descendants of those who did the attacking I’m sure) half a century later.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Yeah, but the Arabs had it coming because of their Pearl Harbor-style surprise air attack on Israel on June 5, 1967 that started the Six-Day War:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War#Preliminary_air_attack

Oh, wait … sorry. My mistake. It appears the _Israelis_ staged the Pearl Harbor-style surprise air attack on Egypt that destroyed 338 Egyptian planes on the ground. This was the first battle of the six days of the Six-Day War.

So, yeah, let me fix that: the Arabs deserved to lose all that territory in 1967 because they attacked second.

Cliff December 10, 2013 at 12:15 am

When you are in an existential war with another country it absolutely gives you the right to conquer them. Contrary to your claims of stealing land 50 years later, they have given back almost all the land they conquered.

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 2:18 am

“When you are in an existential war with another country it absolutely gives you the right to conquer them.”

Just like Japan was in an existential war with the United States on December 8, 1941. If the Japanese had won, who’d remember little details about who attacked whom first on December 7, 1941?

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 2:25 am

“Contrary to your claims of stealing land 50 years later, they have given back almost all the land they conquered.”

Right, except for the land they want to keep.

Marian Kechlibar December 10, 2013 at 5:35 am

Steve, how is that fundamentally different from pretty much any other border in the world? As I look around, most of them are results of wars, ancient or recent ones.

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 6:10 am

How many wars of conquest have white people pulled off since 1945? Europeans aren’t supposed to conquer non-Europeans anymore. It gets people upset.

Engineer December 10, 2013 at 6:56 am

It appears the _Israelis_ staged the Pearl Harbor-style surprise air attack on Egypt that destroyed 338 Egyptian planes on the ground

Oh yeah sure.

In reality, everyone who was around in ’67 remembers that war was expected after Nasser ejected the UN presence from Sinai. The Israelis were considered to be toast.

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 7:41 am

The Czarist foreign office once set a memo to the czar noting that they had gone through all their historical archives and they were proud to report that out of the 40 wars Russia had been involved in, Russia had started 38 of them.

This notion that the Good Guy only fires after the Bad Guy starts to draw is an invention of cowboy movies.

General Rabin was put in charge of naming the war and he chose “Six-Day War.” Israel started the Six-Day War on the first of the six days by a Pearl Harbor-like surprise attack.

Prime Minister Begin in 1982 pointed out that the Six-Day War, like Israel’s attack on Egypt in 1956, was a war of choice.

Engineer December 10, 2013 at 8:40 am

Israel started the Six-Day War on the first of the six days by a Pearl Harbor-like surprise attack.

There had been various aggressive moves by Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. Israel said it would regard the closing the Straits of Tiran as an act of war and then Nasser closed them. The attack was a “surprise” only because back then people expected Jews to act timidly (and the “Pearl Harbor” comparison is of course just provocative nonsense).

dead serious December 10, 2013 at 10:59 am

“When you are in an existential war with another country it absolutely gives you the right to conquer them. Contrary to your claims of stealing land 50 years later, they have given back almost all the land they conquered.”

Please tell me what you think today’s “settlers” are doing each and every day. Giving back land, in your mind?

This article is from yesterday:
http://rt.com/news/israel-annex-west-bank-918/

“Israel’s Economy Minister believes the time has come to annex parts of the West Bank and install full economic and military control over Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, which are deemed illegal under international law.

“I favor implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the zone where 400,000 [Israeli settlers] live and only 70,000 Arabs,” minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday as quoted by the AFP.”

These fucking slimeball Israelis push and push from all angles: land-stealing, forcing others to live in degrading conditions, and then when these people have had enough and try to stand up to it – albeit in a destructive way (but what other options are there? if they wait around long enough these scumbag Zionists will setlle everything like the roaches they are) – the Israeli government cries “terrorism” and does the same thing it’s already doing but at twice the effort.

For a country founded on fighting back against oppression, and that used terroristic tactics (by the standards of Revolutionary War times), America’s siding with Israel is hypocritical and so weird to me.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm

The “total fertility rate” of Muslim women in Israel is said to have fallen from 4.57 per woman per lifetime in 2000 to 3.73 in 2010. In contrast, the TFR for Jews grew from 2.67 in 2000 to 2.96 in 2010. This is a very high figure for a fairly well-educated population, the highest in the world for any developed country. In comparison, the much-celebrated TFR among whites in predominantly Mormon Utah was 2.45 in 2002.

Some of this Jewish fertility is less useful to the state. The ultra-fertile ultra-Orthodox were long exempt from conscription and tend to absorb a lot of welfare to pay for all those Jewish children. On the other hand, Asian Times pundit Spengler (who is former Lyndon Larouche aide David P. Goldman), claims that mainstreams Jews in Israel average a healthy 2.6 children each. …

Yet there’s a downside to Israel’s rapidly growing population that Goldman doesn’t dwell on—one that is helping drive these cost-of-living protests in Israel: all else being equal, a growing population drives up the cost of land.

http://www.vdare.com/articles/protests-and-population-policy-israel-s-lessons-for-america

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Israel was founded by Zionist socialists who wanted Jews to stop concentrating in high end jobs like finance and international trade that had caused so much resentment toward them in Europe. Israel was supposed to be a normal country where Jews were to be farmers, soldiers, ditch diggers, and all the other humble occupations an economy needs. That actually worked more or less as planned for a surprisingly long time.

Roy December 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm

It is still working. A lot of those farmers, and all the soldiers are Jews, and since the intifadas the number of Palestinian workers has declined, though I understand that is going up again.

revver December 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm

What was wrong with the land Stalin gave them?:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Autonomous_Oblast

Andreas Moser December 12, 2013 at 7:20 am

Would you trust Stalin?

Roy December 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm

So average is over happens first where density is highest.

In a century when population collapses average can possibly resume. Maybe Japan will be first.

ummm December 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm

In other countries you may have a lot of inequality but it’s usually on the periphery as opposed to in America here the media and pop culture amplify & disseminate it. Turkey has a lot of billionaires but you hardly read about them in Turkish press or on tv.

Roy December 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Where I currently live in the US, I don’t hear much about American billionaires either. But then Great Basin and Inland Northwest are pretty empty.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Israelis are fascinated by billionaires. Forbes Israel recently ran a cover story listing all the Jewish billionaires in the world:

http://takimag.com/article/jewish_wealth_by_the_numbers_steve_sailer/#axzz2n1gtDH4v

Rahul December 10, 2013 at 3:32 am

Maybe it’s cultural. Indian media is obsessed with our billionaires.

Urso December 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm

The idea of a threshold earner is interesting, but do we have any evidence of this going on, or just Tyler’s generic musings?

dirk December 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Here’s what I don’t buy about the “threshold earner” theory. There were no doubt a lot of threshold earners during the 90′s tech boom and bubble. Programmers who worked a couple years, saved money, took a year off to go hiking, rinse and repeat. But how is that supposed to work in the current economy or the average is over economy? If you take a year off now, you’re a member of the longterm unemployed, aka the ZMP pool. Not many professionals can pull off those gaps in their resumes anymore and return to a professional job. So maybe they become employed at slacker-type jobs in the service industry, say waiting tables or bartending. At those sorts of jobs you are never going to save enough money to take more than a few weeks off at a time.

Meaning that there’s no large niche in the economy anywhere for these “threshold earners” who work until they’ve earned X amount of money which they trade for leisure time. White collar workers can’t afford to take more leisure because they won’t stay white collar workers; blue collar workers can’t afford to take more leisure because they can’t afford it.

Todd December 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm

There were no doubt a lot of threshold earners during the 90′s tech boom and bubble.

It’s pretty boomy right now for many.

The reasons income is rising so fast at the top is there are more high paying jobs than there are people with the skills/education/IQ to do them.

If you have a decent reputation and the right skills, you can easily take a year off.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm

That’s why George Mason economists are always campaigning so publicly for Israel to admit millions of smart Chinese and Indian immigrants.

Cliff December 10, 2013 at 1:12 am

What about people who just up and retire early? Based on media I would say this is a growing phenomenon.

farmer December 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm

“educational disparities, rooted in ethnic differences”

so in Israel different ethnicities produce different educational results? Are there any oooooooooother countries like that, Mr. Cowen?

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm

From an Israeli business publication: “The PISA exam shows substantial gaps between Hebrew and Arabic-speaking pupils. In the math exam, Hebrew speakers achieved a score of 489 points, while Arabic speakers achieved a score of 388 points. Arabic speakers scored 98 points less than Hebrew speakers in the science exam.”

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/12/israels-pisa-scores-arab-v-hebrew.html

489 is kind of mediocre, by the way. (The OECD average is supposed to be 500.)

Zionism was traditionally anti-intellectual as well as socialist. The goal was to make Israel into a regular country. The socialism is wearing off, but the anti-intellectualism perhaps might be getting stronger. Israel seems to be becoming a Mediterranean culture with excellent commercial smarts, but not all that much interest in high culture. Tel Aviv is rather like L.A., where Ashkenazis with traditional intellectual tastes (e.g., classical music) are increasingly being replaced by hard-partying Israelis, Persians, Armenians, Georgians, and the like.

dead serious December 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Tel Aviv might be trending that way but Israel as a whole is trending ultra-conservative orthodox.

The seculars – as true everywhere – aren’t having kids and that’s pretty much all the orthodox do. That and Talmudic studies.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm

“The seculars – as true everywhere – aren’t having kids”

That sounds plausible, but I’d like to see a citation for what the Total Fertility Rate is for Israel’s non-Ultra-orthodox Jews.

Engineer December 10, 2013 at 4:33 am

Anecdotally: the Israeli branch of my company always has lots of women on maternity leave. Also each Haaretz weekend edition has a profile of a “regular” Israeli family (sometimes Arab, sometimes religious, usually secular) and they typically have at least 2 kids and sometimes 3-5.

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 6:14 am

Thanks.

That’s my impression: regular Israelis, not just black hats, have roughly Utah levels of fertility.

Unlike in America, the government wants the majority to stay the majority.

Rahul December 10, 2013 at 7:34 am

How’s the fertility of non-orthodox Jews in USA?

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 7:42 am

It’s not as low as you’d expect from where they live.

dead serious December 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm

I stand corrected – I didn’t realize that seculars were birthing at such high rates.

TallDave December 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm

If II is increasing because some people are creating newly vast amounts of wealth and everyone’s life is improving as a result, this is in no way a bad thing.

If II is increasing because a dictator is seizing all the resource wealth and cutting rations to the poor, this is probably a bad thing.

GINI needs a “why” coefficient.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Tyler writes: “A higher employment to population ratio would yield a good deal of low-hanging fruit.”

The Israeli government subsidizes ultra-Orthodox Talmud students to do little of use besides father more Jews. But it’s currently worth it because that’s a very high priority for Israel. A quarter of a century ago, Israel was widely assumed to be demographically doomed by the War of the Cradle, but the Jewish state has since proven highly effective at boosting Jewish fertility without boosting Arab fertility.

Lately, you hear that Israel is doomed not because it has too few Jews, but because it has too many Jewish men who live on welfare while they study medieval texts. Obviously, that’s not economically ideal and not sustainable in the very long run, but you should not underestimate the Israeli government’s ability to manage its demographics.

Unlike the U.S., Israel devotes a huge amount of brainpower to studying demographic issues with the intent of manipulating them for the benefit of the majority of voters. Here, for instance, is a review of a fascinating book called “Alternative Futures for the Jewish People” published in 2010 by the Israeli-American thinktank Jewish People Planning Institute:

http://www.vdare.com/articles/demography-is-it-good-for-the-jews-or-the-americans

So, I think it’s likely that once Israel’s War of the Cradle against the Arabs is conclusively won, the Jewish State will take effective steps to get more work out of the ultra-Orthodox.

Claudia December 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I would push back on the “threshold earner” not because it’s wrong but it’s not that novel and thus little help in understanding the increase in inequality, in Israel or the US. The beloved middle class (or even those higher up and lower down the income scale) has long been about making ends meet. It is only the dollar amount attached to “ends” that varies across the groups. So we’re all threshold earners and have been.

The new twist is you have a group of individuals whose actual earnings in the market is well below what they (and everyone else) expected. So they stick out … the adult male who has been out of work for years, the recent college grad who is working unpaid internships, etc. Sure it’s there ‘choice’ to some extent how they spend their time but they’ve been dealt a tough economy and institutions that are less and less forgiving of career mess up or maybe even pick favorites. I still think that these more glaring threshold workers are more the sign of a problem, a sick economy than a sign of individual economic expression. Though it is important to get the diagnosis right.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Tyler notes:

“In any case, it is the non-substitutable, non-automatable, manual labor jobs which have seen rising pay at the very bottom.”

This may have something to do with Israel’s hugely effective crackdown on illegal immigrants. Or as the Israelis call them: “illegal infiltrators.” Even though as Janet Napolitano pointed out the laws of physics prevent the construction of effective border fences in the United States, they seem to have different laws of physics in Israel because they can build fences that even keep out suicide bombers, who are, by definition, highly motivated.

Rahul December 10, 2013 at 7:37 am

Whats the length of Israeli land borders versus the US? Might this be more about engineering economics?

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 7:46 am

It’s the usual perimeter vs. area question: America’s borders are much bigger than Israel’s but America’s economy and population is vastly bigger. In other words, America could much more easily afford the kind of highly effective fences that the Israelis have quickly put up, but American elites, unlike Israeli elites, just don’t seem to want to do what it takes to get it done. It’s almost as if Obama, both Bushes, McCain, Schumer, Rubio, Zuckerberg, Gates, Blumenthal, Cruz, and Murdoch all want more immigration across the southern border.

Oh, wait, they do …

Rahul December 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

There’s also the slight qualitative difference between the relative utility of stopping suicide bombers versus wannabe janitors?

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 9:44 am

You’re not keeping up. Suicide bombers is so 2003. Since the Arab Spring of 2011, the Israelis have completely sealed off the Egyptian border to keep out black African economic immigrants (or as Israel calls them, “illegal infiltrators”). Mubarak used to do that for Israel, but the short-lived Islamist government didn’t bother, so Israel built a highly effective fence along the lengthy desert border:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93Egypt_barrier

The Anti-Gnostic December 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Fascinating. I want to hear more about this “Israel,” this special snowflake of a country where ethnicity is an allowed basis for discrimination, housing can be priced “inefficiently high,” and the government actually defends the nation’s cultural and territorial integrity.

Steve Sailer December 9, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Israel is a quite successful country, one that the United States should attempt to learn from. For example:

“Does a Border Fence Work? Check Out the Dramatic Change After Israel Put One Up”

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/11/11/does-a-border-fence-work-check-out-the-dramatic-change-after-israel-put-one-up/

Israel’s Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority has released dramatic statistics reflecting how effective the construction of a border fence has been at stemming the entry of illegal migrants seeking to cross the border from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

According to the government, the number of illegal entries has declined from the thousands in each recent year to just several dozen this year.

In January, Israel finished building the main portion of the 16-foot high fence, which is made of razor wire and reinforced by military surveillance, including motion sensors and cameras, aimed at keeping out both illegal African migrants and terrorists operating in the Sinai.

According to the most recent quarterly figures published by the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority, 36 people have been caught trying to enter the southern border since January.

Rahul December 10, 2013 at 9:07 am

Might it be relevant that the Israeli fence was a 143-mile stretch? The US-Mexico land border by comparison is ~2000 miles.

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 9:49 am

143 / 2000 is significantly less than the GDP of Israel divided by the GDP of America.

It’s a matter of will. The Jewish State has deal effectively with its illegal immigration problem because it’s pro-Jewish.

Peter Whiteford December 10, 2013 at 12:50 am

According to the OECD income distribution database (Google it), the Gini coefficient in Israel is slightly lower than in the USA, but has increased more since the 1980s.

Steve Sailer December 10, 2013 at 2:11 am

“Many of the ultra-Orthodox here have characteristics of “threshold earners,” as I have discussed that concept in the past.”

No, ultra-Orthodox men who are paid by the state to study the Talmud and procreate are not all that similar to American men who drop out of the labor market when they have enough money for awhile.

prior_approval December 10, 2013 at 7:17 am

You are absolutely right – the ultra-Orthodx are providing stricter moral guidance to society, not needing it.

Marian Kechlibar December 11, 2013 at 5:00 am

I am not sure whether you’re being sarcastic or no.

In case you aren’t, most people will agree on the doubt that actions like stoning cars that dare to move on Saturday is somehow “strict moral guidance to society”. All the secular Israelis I have spoken to are disturbed by the growing religious fundamentalism.

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