Although war forms a major part of Israel's national history since 1948, the economic battles which now besiege the Jewish state pose an even greater and far-reaching threat to its survival.
GVs Woman with baby carriage full of groceries (2 shots)
SVs Bakery with customers in Tel Aviv area (3 shots)
SVs Frozen meat being sold (3 shots)
GVs Cash registers in supermarket (5 shots)
GVs Closed railway station with workers on strike (3 shots)
GVs People in street (2 shots)
GVs West Bank constructions of settlements (5 shots)
GV West Bank street scene
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Although war forms a major part of Israel's national history since 1948, the economic battles which now besiege the Jewish state pose an even greater and far-reaching threat to its survival. Never since Israeli independence was declared nearly 36 years ago has the country faced such civil unrest, strikes, and--worst of all--the cold fact that at least a half million Israelis subsist below the recognized poverty line. The two-pronged controversy centres on governmental expenditure on its military budget and-- most provocatively--on the hundreds of millions of badly-needed US dollars lavished by the previous Begin Administration--and the current Shamir Government--on new West Bank settlements. A National Insurance Institute report, issued on January 16, sparked off two no-confidence motions by the opposition Labour Alignment. Government functionaries launched protest strikes which severely affected postal, rail, and dock services--a direct warning to Premier Yitzhak Shamir that a general strike may well follow if remedial action is not immediately forthcoming. Inflation last year hovered near the 200% level, and stringent foreign exchange controls have been instituted to prevent a further outflow of valuable foreign currencies. What is perhaps more ominous for the poorly-off is that inflation and unemployment are expected to rise even further this year.