During my 20-year career in investment management, I learned that it’s unwise to be wedded to ideology. To succeed, facts must influence you more than ideology.
So let’s evaluate the leadership of Binyamin Netanyahu using the facts. Below are statistics gleaned from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics and the OECD. This data represents Netanyahu’s 10 years in power.
Since 2014, the percentage of expenditure on public order has dropped 12%. Over the same period:
- Sexual harassment is up 82%
- Violent crime increased 18.9%
- Home burglaries increased 8.3%
- Cyber-crime went up 28.1%
It’s no secret Israel is in a severe housing crisis.
- Tel Aviv rents as a percentage of housing prices are 9th highest in the world – higher than those in Paris, London, New York, Geneva, and Singapore.
- Since 2014, the amount of disposable income it takes to pay for a home in Israel has increased 5.3% to a staggering 162 months worth. This contrasts with Japan at 132 months, France at 119 months, UK at 106 months, and the USA at 48 months.
- Between 2016-19 residential building permits increased 2.3% per annum, while the number of marriages (a proxy for household formation) was 57% higher.
- Out of 38 OECD countries, only 3 spend less of their GDP on healthcare than Israel: Ireland, Lithuania, and Poland.
- In 2014 Israel spent 1.5% less of GDP than the OECD average. Today we spend 1.8% less (NIS 8.6bn).
- Since 2014 the number of hospital beds per capita has decreased 5.2%.
- Over the same period the number of doctors per 1,000 Israelis only increased by 0.04.
- 37.7% of Israelis between the ages of 5-9 are considered overweight, compared with 31.4% OECD average.
- According to Shabak data During his second 5-years the number of rockets fired annually at Israel from Gaza increased by 49% a year to 1,257.
- Shortly after Netanyahu’s reign, the United Nations nuclear watchdog declared “Iran’s stock of uranium [is] enriched to 60% [close to weapons grade] … It would take Iran roughly three to four weeks to produce enough material for a bomb”. Netanyahu has clearly failed in his prime objective.
Cost of living / Rich-poor divide
- In 2014 Israel was the 20th most expensive country in the world. By the end of Netanyahu’s tenure, Israel had become the 8th most expensive country globally–life in Israel became significantly more expensive!
- Israel suffers greater inequality than 34 of its fellow 38 OECD members.
- Israel’s poverty rate (those living on less than half the country’s median income) is the second worst in the OECD. In 2017, 12.9% of Israel’s population were considered working poor. That is 59% more than the OECD average. Only Turkey, Mexico, Chile, and Spain are worse off than Israel in terms of impoverished working citizenry.
- Math: We rank 30th out of 38 OECD countries
- Reading: We rank 29th
- Science: We rank 31st
- According to OECD data, the starting salary for a teacher in Israel is 25% less (in comparative purchasing power terms) than the average (note- this data was produced before the union agreement signed at the start of the 2022 school year by a non-Netanyahu led government).
- Investment in public transport is 17% below OECD average.
- Public sector expenses are 13% above the 9.2% average. Before Netanyahu entered office, Israel spent 4% below average.
- Local taxes (Arnona) are the 6th highest in the OECD.
- 62% more Israelis have exposure to PM2.5 air pollutants, compared with the OECD average.
In conclusion, the data illustrates that 10 years under Netanyahu did little to help the people of Israel. I hope we vote for parties who will effectively tackle these core issues and make life in Israel safer, healthier, and less divisive.