Friday, July 20, 2007

Bread Lines, Child Poverty

As of next week, the price of bread will increase by 10-12% because of an increase in the price of flour. The three major bakeries in the country would like to strike, because while their overhead increases, the government, rather than the direct supplier, will be determining the price of bread and will cut into the bakeries' profit margin, and their right to run their own business.

My favorite religious MK and Minister, Eli Yishai - the Israeli Voldemort to Harry Potter - has demanded that the government increase financial subsidies to the religious poor, who will be able to buy less bread for their perpetually expanding families. These same families who refuse to use birth control, who do not serve in the army and do not pay taxes, are now asking an already tenuous social welfare system to spread itself even thinner. Some of them even actively work against the Israeli government, but when they do not deign to find a job and take an active role in improving the lives of their family, the government they decry is expected to pick up the pieces.

From the threats of bread shortages and strikes, you would think we lived in the USSR , waiting on line for bread; and bringing Israeli children into the world - over a million and a half who live below the poverty line - who do not have enough money in the house to be properly fed and clothed and educated.

I believe that it is irresponsible at the very least, if not amoral to bring children in the world because God said "Be fruitful and multiply," and then expect God (or the government) to provide while those who can work, choose instead to sit on their gluteus maximus. I would like to believe that there is a small percentage of religious men learning in seminaries who have a brilliant mind and who will contribute to the spiritual and social well being of their community, and to the Jewish community at large. Let us reward quality over quantity; David Ben Gurion, a secular Zionist, felt it was important to have a core group of religious Torah students. I doubt that he anticipated his program would become a cancer in Israeli society.

The government should not encourage those who use religion to shirk their responsibility to family and to State.

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