The Israel Center
for Social & Economic Progress
an independent pro-market
public policy think tank since 1984
Winner of the 2005 Award for Institutional Excellence and the 2006 Templeton Award for Student Outreach
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Israel Hayom23 Feb ’14
What kind of education should it offer and at what cost?
An excellent higher education system that promotes critical thinking is a must for an advanced economy and society. It is a prerequisite for scientific research and technological innovation that Israel excels in, and crucial for economic growth. But what is a good university? What kind of education should it offer and at what cost?
“Will Dropouts Save America?,” asked Michael Ellsberg in a 2011 piece published by The New York Times, a paper that reveres universities and is considered the flagship publication of the American liberal Left.
Ellsberg notes that most of the high-tech entrepreneurs and the drivers of the Internet economy—from Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg—were college dropouts, having realized that they were wasting their time in class.
“American academia is good at producing writers, literary critics and historians. It is also good at producing professionals with degrees,” Ellsberg wrote. “But we don’t have a shortage of lawyers and professors. America has a shortage of job creators. And the people who create jobs aren’t traditional professionals, but startup entrepreneurs. ... No business in America—and therefore no job creation—happens without someone buying something. But most students learn nothing about sales in college; they are more likely inculcated with the idea that sales (and capitalism) are evil.”
Things are much worse in Israel. Universities help shape a radical view where entrepreneurship is frowned upon. The ethos they espouse is diametrically opposed to the Zionist vision that promoted hard work as the linchpin of a merit-based society. Liberal arts programs devote much attention to the question of how to “redistribute wealth” and very little on how wealth is created. As if wealth just descends from the heavens like Manna and all we have to do is find a way to redistribute it “justly” (whatever that means).
What’s worse is that students are brainwashed to believe that profit always derive from exploitation (see Marx’s Theory of Value), and therefore any commercial transaction is a zero-sum game. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Israelis are determined not to be suckers; they make sure their clients and business partners will be the “exploitees” and not their exploiters. Human capital is Israel’s most important asset. But in academia, the social sciences and humanities are dominated by a group of Postmodernists and Neo-Marxist zealots who manage to block the advancement of anyone who is not like them, anyone who does not adhere to their radical economic and political dogmas or subscribe to their anti-capitalist ideology. They have emptied higher education of any critical thought that is grounded in reality. (Remember that dissertation that accused Israeli soldiers of racism because they wouldn’t rape Palestinian women?)
Hundreds of thousands of young Israelis enter universities because they want to get a better job, only to be systematically brainwashed with dogmatic dispensations, mostly anti-Capitalist. They graduate from universities without any practical, having been denied useful information or analytical tools that can prepare them for a productive life. Only after graduation they realize that their hard-earned diplomas have no real value on the job market (the accumulated costs of such a miseducation comes to many billions of Shekels – in part in state-subsidies).
Their peers might be impressed by their ability to pontificate about the article of faith of Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida and Slavoj Zizek, but that is no way to make a living. The demonstrators who took part in the social justice protests in 2011 were furious because they have discovered that their degrees have not prepared them any career path. Their anger is shared by many other youngsters all over the world. It led to the alienation of young people and their anger against “the system” and has had an adverse economic impact on employment prospects and on productivity in Europe and the U.S.
The lack of real pluralism in Israeli universities poses an existential threat to our economy and society. Wouldn’t the massive subsidies that help students obtain useless degrees—which have no vocational value and create an inflation of hundreds of pseudo-academics—be better spent on vocational training and real know-how?
The Jerusalem Post30 Jun ’15
Israel’s last elections proved how right David Ben-Gurion was when he said that, in Israel, whoever does not believe in miracles is not a realist.
PJ Media20 Jun ’15
The security challenges facing Israel obscure other deep concerns about the viability of Israel’s economic system.
The Jerusalem Post7 Jun ’14
Unless the laggard Israeli economy is reformed soon, its problems—including its morally debilitating corruption—may threaten its future.
Israel Hayom15 May ’14
What does it say about Israeli society and the system of government when a prime minister is convicted of taking bribes?
The Jerusalem Post9 Jan ’14
The productivity of Israeli workers is only two-thirds that of Americans, and their salaries are much lower.
The Jerusalem Post11 Jul ’13
As he completes an exceptionally difficult 8-year tour of duty during a worldwide financial crisis, Stanley Fischer has achieved a unique status.
The Weekly Standard7 Jun ’13
When Israel finally discovered a bonanza of natural gas about five years ago everyone was happy. But then fierce arguments broke out—and rightly so.
The Weekly Standard22 Apr ’13
The economic future of Israel now rests in the hands Netanyahu, Lapid and Bennet. will they succeed in fulfilling the most difficult and complex mission of liberating Israel’s economy?
Israel Hayom2 Jan ’13
The Israeli government could eradicate poverty by breaking the monopolies and spurring competition.
The Jerusalem Post7 Dec ’12
Our socialist and statist heritage bred our inefficient system. But foreign aid and remittances were serious enablers. The struggle against political and economic concentration could finally permit Israelis to overcome this destructive heritage.
Israel Hayom8 Nov ’12
The time to prepare the reforms is now, so that after the Israeli elections, the prime minister can immediately devote his time to moving them forward.
The Financial Times21 Jun ’12
Israel Hayom6 Jun ’12
To grapple with the impending crisis, Israel’s government must improve the nation’s competitiveness.
The Jerusalem Post7 May ’12
The Wall Street Journal3 May ’12
Reform-minded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is stymied by bureaucrats and monopoly tycoons.
Middle East Quarterly30 Mar ’12
As the high hopes for a brave new Middle East fade rapidly, Western policymakers must recognize that promoting market economics and its inevitable cultural changes are far more critical to the region’s well-being than encouraging free elections or resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Jerusalem Post17 Feb ’12
The choice is between an efficient, growth-inducing market economy or a welfare state, meaning a huge government that actually harms the poor and inhibits prosperity.
The Jerusalem Post25 Oct ’11
Aversion toward the rich has had strong roots in Zionism since its early leaders embraced Marxist practices.
Is capitalism in crisis? Of course.
The Jerusalem Post10 Aug ’11
The tent-dwellers’ revolt calls for the enforcement of ‘the will of the people’ (like all autocrats). It refuses to rely on Democracy.
The Jerusalem Post9 Aug ’11
David Lewis, the exceptional entrepreneur and philanthropist, and head of the Isrotel Group dies at 87
The Jerusalem Post20 Jul ’11
Although MKs appear concerned over rising costs, it was they who allowed this injustice to occur in the first place.
The Jerusalem Post28 Jun ’11
Who is to blame for the shameful situation in which millions of Israeli workers – who earn about half what American workers earn – have to pay double for goods?
The New Republic19 May ’11
A Middle East peace strategy that could actually work.
The Jerusalem Post15 Mar ’11
Israel needs to slash its state budget by as much as possible if it wants a chance at fighting waste and corruption.
The Jerusalem Post9 Mar ’11
Too little attention has been paid to how Egypt’s socialist past and welfare-state present shaped the current rebellion.
The Jerusalem Post7 Feb ’11
The Herzliya Conference has become an important international event, but one central issue is absent: Israel’s debilitating economic concentration.
The Jerusalem Post22 Jan ’11
It’s highly unlikely that government can ever learn to make long-term plans and execute them efficiently.
The Jerusalem Post23 Dec ’10
How can one dare compare narrow-minded religion with the all-embracing faith of universality and equality that is socialism?
The Jerusalem Post1 Dec ’10
Many of the social and economic troubles we are experiencing are due to the public’s lack of understanding of the need for economic literacy.
The Jerusalem Post17 Oct ’10
The PM’s courageous decision to tackle economic concentration was misrepresented by several of our media publications—owned of course by tycoons.
The Wall Street Journal8 Oct ’10
Economic concentration hurts the country’s viability and the chances for peace.
The Jerusalem Post4 Oct ’10
A damaging ethos of ‘welfarism’ and distributive politics has come to dominate not only academia but our cultural, military and even our business elites.
The Jerusalem Post19 Aug ’10
The reformers must know the importance of the reform’s success both for Israel and for their careers, and what damage they will incur if it fails.
The Jerusalem Post13 Jul ’10
Kagan’s admiration for Justice Aharon Barak’s philosophy may have revealed her own predilection for radical judicial activism.
The Jerusalem Post30 May ’10
We must dismantle the oligarch-owned monopolies that impoverish the Israeli consumer and choke our economy.
The Wall Street Journal18 May ’10
The OECD’s invitation to Israel is a “seal of approval” but the country still needs more reforms.
The Jerusalem Post10 Feb ’10
The world’s astonishment at Israel’s response to the Haiti disaster is insulting. What we saw there was Israel’s true face.
The Jerusalem Post10 Jan ’10
Individual initiative and freedom are essential for creativity—in hi-tech as in all other spheres.
The Jerusalem Post14 Oct ’09
As far as Rose Friedman was concerned, public kudos did not matter that much. She persisted in being a rose, no matter what.
The Jerusalem Post22 Sep ’09
Lasting peace must grow from the bottom up, from an “economic peace process” that proves what advantages peace has to offer on a daily basis. It cannot come from signing peace agreements with radical and corrupt entities propped up by corrupting Western handouts.
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