A pleasant surprise: 5767 was a good year for most Israelis
A look on the bright side
It was a good year for the majority of Israelis: Our standard of living rose, as did our income, unemployment dropped, profits skyrocketed and the stock exchange did well despite the turmoil of recent weeks.
Our currency became stronger, the State budget was balanced, the hotels filled up, terror attacks almost disappeared and personal security was restored.
Indeed, 5767 was also a good year for Israel's scientists, filmmakers, authors and high-tech inventors, but particularly for real estate entrepreneurs, who quickly spanned the globe and built, built and built. In Kazakhstan, in Singapore, in Las Vegas - everywhere (except Israel!)
It wasn't only the positive domestic developments that surprised us, so did the external ones. After Hamas overtook Gaza and became entangled – similar to us in the past – in its sands and alleyways, the impotent Mahmoud Abbas became a man. The peace process was taken out of its deep slumber. The economy in the West Bank was revived.
It's unbelievable, yet even the pendulum of the Iraqi war is showing signs of American success. It's too early to celebrate, yet there are achievements. Heads can be held high in Baghdad.
Al-Qaeda? No country in the Arab world has fallen into the hands of a terror organization nor has it come anywhere near them. If it has any power, it was not evident in 5767. Six years after the abhorrent terror attacks on the Twin Towers, the dark charm of al-Qaeda has dissipated and it has gradually turned into a stall selling copies of Osama Bin Laden CDs.
Israeli cities have been renovated, intersections have opened up, train stations inaugurated, the number of road accidents has dropped, and the ports were blocked due to the influx of ships. International artists once again began appearing on our stages.
Foreign economists explained that the income per capita here is a dozen times higher than we thought and doesn't fall below that of Germany and France. We listened. We didn't believe it, but we took pride. Their compliments made us feel good.
Good year for government
This was, therefore, an extraordinary year for the Israeli middle class, which filled the shopping malls and the parking lots. It purchased and invested, saved and spent, climbed the ladder of prosperity and happiness and enjoyed life.
It won't help those who say otherwise: 5767 was a stable year. A year without upheavals, without revolutions. A year of calm and public committees who submitted their boring strategic views. Just the way the bourgeoisie likes it – and deep inside we are all bourgeois.
This was also a good year for the incumbent government, which contrary to the forecasts became stronger. One superfluous minister (Abraham Hirchson at the Finance Ministry) and another anguished minister (Amir Peretz at the Defense Ministry) have gone, leaving behind more suitable persons in their stead.
The worst part is already behind the Olmert administration; the voices calling on it to step down have waned. It's deterioration in public opinion polls has been halted, and a turn for the better has been taken. Kadima, the centrist party, is now looking to the future without fear.
Oh yes, last year we experienced that little moral matter that buzzed in our ears: 5767 was a year replete with hair-raising stories of corruption, harassments, bribery and theft. Substantial indictments have not yet been served, even plea bargains.
Let's admit it: We are leaving 5767 behind in sorrow just like every positive surprise. It really was a good year, but unfortunately only for those who are not parents of abducted soldiers, for those who didn't purchase apartments through Heftsiba, for those who do not live in Sderot or the Gaza vicinity and for those who are not being pushed beneath the poverty line.
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