The wisdom of Yosef Hatzaddik could come in handy for the modern State of Israel, which, like Pharaoh’s Egypt, is suffering from a major economic crisis, according to United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Uri Maklev. “Pharaoh and his advisors could not explain the differences in income between the rich and poor, as reflected in the king’s dreams. Yosef came and gave them the solution, and they realized it had to be implemented quickly.”
MK Rabbi Maklev was referring to the recently released report by the Taub Center on poverty in Israel. Among other things, the report showed that one out of every three children in Israel was living in poverty. “The Taub report shows that there are serious gaps between income and the cost of living,” MK Rabbi Maklev said at a special Knesset discussion on the matter on Sunday. “It’s not actually about poverty, but about the [income] gap between what people earn and how much it costs them to live. This is the real issue.”
According to the Taub report, the income gap in Israel is double that of other OECD countries, representing the 35 industrialized countries of the world. Over the past several years, the cost of living has risen 21 percent in Israel, while real income has risen only 5 percent on average, according to the report.
Just as in Egypt, the answer is discernible, but wisdom is needed, said MK Rabbi Maklev. “This income gap is the result of poor economic policy, which causes the gap between rich and poor to widen, even when both parents in a household work. We are not even talking about housing, where the gap between what is available and what people can afford is even greater. The authorities need to set clear policies and set goals to resolve these growing gaps. The solutions to closing these gaps exist, but they just need to be implemented,” he added.