As a 501 C 3 non-profit, this organization does not endorse candidates. It is legitimate, however, for our purpose as a pro-Israel/pro-peace organization to reflect upon statements made on Israel and Palestinian society by the presumptive Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. We cite two outside experts for some penetrating thoughts:
Bernard Avishai, a Hebrew University professor of business and a well-known writer on Israeli society, blogs on Romney’s comment that Israel’s strong economy positively reflects Jewish culture and the “hand of Providence,” while suggesting that the Palestinians suffer from a lack of same. By way of contrast, in an open letter to Romney (posted at the Bernard Avishai Dot Com blog) pointing out that they both were once Boston-based management consultants, Avishai briefly outlines the market-depressing effects of the Israeli occupation:
…. you see the frustrating effects of an occupation designed to advance the settlers, not Palestinian development. Problems of mobility are most widely reported: over 60 percent of land in the West Bank is so-called Area C—controlled by the Israeli army to secure Israeli settlements, but turning Palestinian cities into economic islands.
Try growing a supermarket chain when your just-in-time logistics system has to deal with 600 roadblocks; try planning meetings to open a new store. The drive from Ramallah to Jerusalem should take about 12 minutes, but with the checkpoints, it’s normally an hour, and that’s if you have permission. A Palestinian businessman routinely waits a half day just to collect an Israeli permit to enter Jerusalem and begin the journey. The World Bank estimates that, in spite of a projected 6-7 percent growth, per capita GDP is falling ….
And Ezra Klein, a journalist who is an authority on health care policy, blogs on Romney’s praise for Israel’s health care system. The title of Klein’s piece says a lot in itself: “Romney praises health care in Israel, where research says ‘strong government influence’ has driven down costs.”
Klein points out that a variety of governmental mechanisms effectively hold down costs while not lessening the quality of care (he indicates that the life expectancy of Israelis is higher than that of Americans).
Klein’s piece is well worth reading for details on Israeli health care, whose basic structure he describes as follows:
Israel created a national health care system in 1995, largely funded through payroll and general tax revenue. The government provides all citizens with health insurance: They get to pick from one of four competing, nonprofit plans. Those insurance plans have to accept all customers—including people with pre-existing conditions—and provide residents with a broad set of government-mandated benefits.
Health insurance does not, however, cover every medical service. Dental and vision care, for example, fall outside of the standard government set of benefits. The majority of Israelis—81 percent —purchase a supplemental health insurance plan….