The Israeli welfare state is a sacred cow. No major party can afford to estrange the immense number of voting spongers: elderly Russians who never worked in Israel and big, religious (often) Sephardic families that depend on monthly government checks rather than jobs. The voters on welfare use the political apparatus to milk Israel’s middle class.
Israeli welfare payments to Arab families are the apogee of stupidity. We actually pay Israeli Arabs to have more children and make Israel still less Jewish. Israeli politicians think they can buy Arab loyalty with welfare, but the Arabs despise their stupid benefactors. Israeli welfare lets the Arabs breed in economic safety. Welfare recipients with plenty of spare time are often marginalized and radicalized. Israeli welfare payments to Arabs are buying her a fifth column.
Israeli society is deeply stratified. The interests and economic inputs of the rich, the intelligentsia, the Ashkenazi, the Sephardim from Arab and African countries, and the Arabs are incompatible. Only relatively monocultural countries survive. Political parties that address everyone, address no one. Niche parties only underscore and eventually deepen differences among the various groups. The highly fragmented parliament is bent on compromise and mutual bribery rather than on establishing a common denominator.
The Israeli economy is pitiful even for a country at war, certainly for a Jewish country. The GDP figures, not altogether impressive, are misleading. Consumable income (the money available after living expenses) matters and—rather bizarre for a Jewish state—is minuscule.
There is no solution to the welfare problem in the current political framework. Underproductive Israelis do not care that their welfare checks sink the economy. The middle class will have to go into the streets and ignite a media outcry in order to make the Knesset listen.