Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Arab Spring, Israeli Summer

The Arab Spring started on December 17, 2010 in Tunisia, when Mohamed Bouazizi of Sidi Bouzid, a street vendor, set himself on fire to protest the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides.  Using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, the protesters where able to organize without the government being able to monitor them.  Thus  the Tunisian government was brought down.

The violence and protests quickly spread to Egypt (Where Mubarak was deposed and the Muslim Brotherhood set to rule in his place.), Jordan (King Abdullah II is fighting to control his nation.), Syria (Assad is ruling with a very iron fist.), Iran (The Mullahs suppressed that revolt very fast.), Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc...  The whole Middle East is in uproar except for Israel.  Until now!
A Knesset committee will vote today on a request to ask the State Comptroller to investigate Israel’s cottage cheese prices.

The Knesset Control Committee will debate today a proposal to ask State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to look into the behavior of the price supervisory council, in light of the steep increase in the price of dairy products, and especially that of cottage cheese.

The rise in cottage cheese prices have been in the forefront of the news of late, especially the Globes business newsmagazine, which first brought the issue to the fore. Globes has been strongly pushing a grassroots effort to call a nationwide boycott of cottage cheese, beginning July 1. The Globes website in Hebrew for today, for instance, has five front-page articles on the topic and related issues.

“We want the dairy companies, and others, to make their profits in the merit of growth engines such as initiatives and new ideas,” said Committee Chairman MK Carmel Shama (Likud), and not via price coordination of various types and centralization. This current expensive cost-of-living social crisis demands a long-range solution - but also an immediate one.”

Shama also said that the low official inflation rate is misleading, in that basic staples such as housing, water, gas, and basic foodstuffs have in fact risen by “tens of percentage points.”

A spokesman for Tnuva Dairy Company said that the price of cottage cheese has not risen in six months. So what is all the brouhaha now? That’s precisely what MK Ze’ev Elkin of Likud asked in the Knesset last week, when he noted that the Kadima government removed the price controls from cottage cheese no fewer than three years ago, leading to an immediate jump from 4.82 shekels per 250-gram container to 7.15. It was being sold a month ago at around 6.50-7.50 shekels, but several supermarket chains have lowered the price in recent days because of the boycott call.

The boycott leaders explain that their crusade is not only over cottage cheese, but about food prices in general. “How can it be that in Great Britain, soup nuts made by [Israeli food giant] Osem sell for the equivalent of 9 shekels, while here they cost 16? Why does Osem’s Bamba peanut snack costs half as much there as here?”

Full Story
OK it is not exactly similar to what is going on in the Arab World, but it is the only Middle East Protest to actually get the results desired and not create another Islamic State.

While the Arab world will settle down to their new fate of no freedoms, and Shar'ia Law.  Israelis will settle down to cheaper food prices.  Especially Cottage Cheese.

No comments: