Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

‘Mass Terror Attack’ Averted: Labor Union Will Decide Future Layoffs at Teva

October 20, 2013 5:12 pm 3 comments

Israeli Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Following a wave of public criticism over Teva Pharmaceutical’s decision to lay off 700-800 Israeli employees as part of a companywide restructuring program, Teva announced an agreement with the Histadrut labour federation not to dismiss any workers without the federation’s consent.

The debate over the fate of Teva’s workforce reached a fever pitch earlier in the week when opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) called Teva’s plan “a mass terror attack,” saying that given the near-zero taxes the pharmaceutical giant pays, the plan was an “act of cannibalism.”

The problem with Yachimovich’s populist blather is that it spares her the necessity of having to explain how Israel is strengthened – economically and socially – by the Histadrut’s strong arm tactics. While claiming to be acting in the interest of Israel’s workers, Histadrut has actually made things worse for the middle class.

Histadrut has increased the burden on Israel’s middle class by rigorously protecting thousands of jobs – no matter how overpaid or badly performed – at the ports, the Israel Electric Corporation, the banks, the water utility Mekorot, local municipalities, the military industries, Israel Railways, and elsewhere.

Employees at these government monopolies are paid in excess of a billion shekels a year, far above what they would earn in a competitive market. The salaries of these overpaid union members and government workers are financed directly by the middle class.

Yes, the same middle class that Yachimovich and her Histadrut cronies claim to be helping has seen its standard of living plummet as a result of rampant government intervention.

To listen to Yachimovich and Histadrut, one might be tempted to believe that they are earnestly trying to save Israel from becoming Russia, a country where corruption has penetrated all levels of government and most other aspects of life.

Sure – the Israeli economy has problems, in particular, a startling degree of income inequality. But in the span of just a few decades, Israel has transformed itself from a semisocialist backwater into a high-tech superpower.

While most of the world is afflicted by an economic meltdown, Israel demonstrates fiscal responsibility, sustained economic growth and a conservative, well-regulated banking system. Furthermore, the emergence of Israel as a hi-tech hub has allowed it to get through the global economic downturn with no deficit or stimulus package.

Yet, Yachimovich and the Histadrut continue to chase the windmills powered by the memories of 450 percent inflation. But 2013 is not 1973. It turns out that the elixir for Israel’s societal ills was to free itself from one-party control of the government and the economy. Today, economists around the world agree that free trade creates jobs through economic expansion.

If Israel’s powerful organization of trade unions and liberal politicians are truly interested in protecting the country’s workers, they should focus less on preventing ‘mass terror’ attacks and more on opening up the country to competition and international trade, which would allow all Israelis to raise their standard of living.

3 Comments

  • Ilbert Phillips

    Either the economics explained in this article are true or not. California and Wisconsin both had the same problem of overpaid governmental workers (including teachers) supported by strong unions who are not subject to the incentives of the market. Wisconsin solved its problem by taking control from the unions. California by raising taxes. Now California is moving toward making illegal aliens legal to pump more money into the system rather than controlling governmental expenditures and getting its excessive union plan under control. All liberals use the Marxist lingo of “unbridled capitalism” to avoid dealing directly economic reality. Capitalism stopped being unbridled in the United State under FDR and in Israel in the 1970’s.

  • “Yachimovich’s populist blather”, the populist blather is all from Netanyahu and the panderers to unbridled capitalism. The author of this rubbish appears to be anonymous, how brave!

    • First of all, with respect, my name appears right under the headline, so I am definitely not hiding. With regard to populist blather, telling your Prime Minister to go and speak “right now” with the Director of Teva and dictate what he must do, as if he is a two year old who just disobeyed his mother is both disrespectful and ridiculous. It is an attempt to please the public without effect, that is populist.

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post.

      Gidon Ben-Zvi

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →