Media bias: The incessant battle between the ‘Right’ and the ‘Left’ serves self-enrichment while ignoring social issues

Israel is “shocked” by reports that many nursing home residents are being abused and beaten while living in filthy and intolerable conditions. “I am shaken by what happened here,” Health Minister Yaakov Litzman told Channel 2 television in an interview. “It is inhuman, I don’t even have the words. We can’t ignore this. I am talking about all of the homes for the elderly in the country.”

The health minister was honest enough to admit that the situation has gotten completely out of control. But where have the parties of the “Right” and the “Left” been all these years? Most people know about such situations.

People subservient to financial gain

When profit is the prime motive in caring for people, those who are cared for become subservient to financial gain. Particularly if there is nobody to ensure that corners are not cut and those who are able to profit don’t pocket as much as humanly possible.

While living in a privatized hostel in southern Tel Aviv I noticed that many Russians did not speak Hebrew though they have lived in Israel for up to 25 years. When Israel had no money or resources its people devised the ulpan system to resurrect a dead language for the first time in history. The ulpan was successful but is now being replaced by private teaching which costs a fortune while those who cannot afford to pay do not learn Hebrew.

Privatized shelters for the homeless cost society a fortune

The government pays the hostel owners for each resident and the residents pay the hostel owner for saving them from not living on the street. Underpaid welfare workers get a cut for forwarding clients, which means that the social workers are more interested in getting their cut from the owner than helping those whom they are supposed to be helping.

Instead of having a couple take care of the residents, usually a man must stay in the apartment 24 hours a day, which is not psychologically healthy, to say the least.

Don’t lift a finger unless you are paid

In order to cut costs the residents receive donated food which is beyond the date, while nobody minds that donations of fruit and vegetables are left to rot. The dominant mentality is: do not lift a finger unless you are paid. Many residents end up getting sick, which eventually costs the health care system so much money that new homes could probably have been refurbished with the same resources.

No public housing, only hopes of large profits

The Hebrew newspaper Israel Today is running a series of articles about the ongoing housing crisis. Public housing in Israel was privatized and sold some years ago and the proceeds vanished to forwarding addresses. Construction companies which earn average profits are likely to go bankrupt, which means that realtors will not sell homes unless they can earn large profits. So the sector is at a standstill. Meanwhile, cranes and buildings collapse because so many construction companies cut corners in order to earn a profit.

Irrelevant theories the basis of policies

The ‘Right’ finds itself implementing policies, often based on the theories of Milton Friedman, which today have little basis in reality. Milton Friedman was agnostic and opposed nationalism but nevertheless supported Israel. He devised his theories in an Anglo-Saxon society during the Cold War era. The theories bear little if any relation to the situation in Israel today, and lead to policies that are absurd.

The ‘Left’ has leaders who are not popular and offer no viable alternatives. There is a huge gap between Soviet socialism (based on the idea that the average person is dumb and needs leaders and a replacement for the Russian Orthodox Church to tell them what to do) and Jewish socialism (based on the assumption that people are capable of co-operating voluntarily). However the ‘Left’, similar to globalized capitalism, tends to join the international sway to the detriment of Judaism and Zionism.

The ‘Left’ cares about the disadvantaged, only not in Israel

Both the “Left’ and the ‘Right’ concentrate on international issues and the Israeli-Arab conflict, while ignoring the problems of the average person. The ‘Left’ in Tel Aviv is concerned with the fate of economic migrants, who look down on the poorer Jews, while failing to realise that the former receive more help than the latter.

The Jews in the diaspora care about all the disadvantaged people in the world, with the exception of the Jews in Israel. The ‘Right’ and the ‘Left’ lecture them on the situation in the Middle East or the plight of the Palestinians.

The tendency of the Israeli media is to blame the “Left’ or the ‘Right’, while its citizens, who do not, or should not, care about such diversions, bear the brunt.

About the Author
Asaf Shimoni is an author, journalist and translator who returned to Israel in 2016 after spending 40 years abroad, most of them in the Netherlands. He grew up near Boston, made aliyah while living on a kibbutz (from 1973 to 1976), and graduated from Syracuse University in 1978. He also lived some 5 years in Sicily. He believes that the media should be as critical and truthful as possible.
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