It is now certain. The heart-rending march of Vikky Knafo, and the single mothers’ protest, were not a spontaneous occurrence, but an effort organized and manipulated by several bodies with a political ax to grind.
One of the chief organizers of the protest, Vered Bracha Steinberg, helped secure for Vikky Knafo tents and food from Meretz and from the Histadrut, and transportation from the Modi’in municipality. According to her, these bodies, and above all Shatil, the crypto-Marxist executive arm of The New Israel Fund, have recognized the political potential of Kanfo’s protest, and proceeded to cynically exploit it. Shatil used Kanfo to foment, by its own admission, a “social revolution” that will at least undermine Finance Minister Netanyahu’s economic reforms and perhaps even bring down Sharon’s government. By relentlessly showering the baffled Vikky Knafo with “advice” and media exposure, Shatil has co-opted her so that she does not dare anymore speak to anyone without Shatil’s presence.
Every move she makes –whether to meet the Finance Minister and on what terms – are dictated by Shatil’s political representatives. They also determine what group is welcome to join the protest and what group to exclude, thus sowing bickering, even violence among the protesting mothers. Shatil insists that only those who accept Kanfo’s (namely Shatil’s) authority are entitled to “represent” the protest, though Knafo was never elected by anyone to represent single mothers, nor has anyone given Shatil a mandate to dictate the terms of their protest.
Shatil, has a long record of organizing hundreds of “social action” front organizations with distinctly leftist, rabidly anti-capitalist, post Zionist and pro-Palestinian agendas. Groups it has sponsored have instigated violent demonstrations against globalization at business conferences (at time when Israel was desperate for investments; see our “Hating The Rich” JP 6.12.2001). Shatil organized student groups, sometimes consisting of less than a dozen activists, who have been spreading vile propaganda against “rich businessmen”, painting them all as evil exploiters. As Caroline Glick documented (in “The Road to Irredentism” JP 9.8.2002), as far back as 1998, The New Israel Fund prepared a conference at the Smithsonian Institute which was so overloaded with far left anti-Israel speakers, that it was cancelled by the Smithsonian.
Shatil has sponsored many ostensible “human rights” organizations that specialize in defaming Israel, including Adala, an Arab group that vilifies Israel at every UN body as undemocratic and even racist because it is Zionist, and Kav La’oved, that in the notorious Durban Conference billed Israel as racist and exploitative, claiming that the Intifada was motivated by a revolt against Israel’s exploitation of cheap Arab labor, and that therefore Israel imported hundreds of thousands of blacks which it exploits as cheap labor, helping it to depress wages for Israeli workers.
Dozens of Shatil front organizations are busy indoctrinating two important population segments, new immigrants and the low paid inhabitants of development towns. As some of its activists acknowledge they are trying to shift the political balance to the left. It is no accident therefore that Kanfo gained media attention, a group of Beduins (among whom Shatil agitators have been active for some time, teaching them about their “Palestinian affiliations”) joined the scene to protest Israeli government land policies, despite the fact that many of the single mothers resented their presence.
Shatil activists explain that it has long been their goal to create “a coalition of the oppressed” that will merge the interests of the development town poor – known for their traditionally nationalist beliefs and strong suspicion of Arab jingoist proclivities – with the Arab poor. This will advance, they explain, their twin goals: the promotion of a more extensive and “equitable” welfare state and the lowering of resistance among the lower paid strata to Arab nationalist aspirations. Eventually such a coalition could help transform Israel from a parochial Jewish state, which progressive souls deem to be undemocratic and racist, to a “state of all its citizens”.
It matters not to the Shatil activists that in pursuit of their political agenda they actually harm the single mothers. Anyone familiar with economics understands that raising government handouts, as they recommend, when the government is already sustaining such a threatening deficit, is only going to inflame inflation and lower the purchasing power of such handouts by more than they gain. If instead, the so called social lobby would take on Israeli monopolies and the banks that levy a hidden tax of between 30 to 50% on all consumer items (Channel 1 this week documented that prices of food staples are between four to eight times higher than in other countries) and force them to bring prices down to competitive levels, they could increase the purchasing power of the lower strata by at least 30%, resulting in a huge improvement in their standard of living. This without adding one agora to their handouts and without the risk of inflaming inflation from which the poor suffer most.
That the social lobby organizations have not a word to say about the outrageous exploitation of the poor by Israeli monopolies and by the rapacious banks shows that their real agenda is not helping the poor but exploiting them for political purposes.
The New Israel Fund is not alone in this, of course. As mentioned, the Histardut has tried to foment trouble among the single mothers, as did Meretz and Shas. The Histadrut’s Danny Ben Shitreet had a group of agitators and strongmen planted among the women, ostensibly to protect them but actually to remove any dissenting voices. These henchman, and the former panther Charlie Biton were seen on TV harassing a group of single mothers that came to express their opposition to handouts and to encourage the protesting mothers to find work. Their signs were torn and they were pushed around and threatened until they had to leave. Meretz’ Ran Cohen and Haim Oron were seen calling for the protesting women to resists the whole economic reform plan and to topple the evil government that proposed it; they were followed by Shlomo Benizri and Eli Ishai of Shas who had no qualms inciting against the cuts they had earlier voted for. They too urged the women to topple the government.
Even the Jewish Agency – that moribund body of bureaucrats that draw extremely inflated salaries, the institution that over the years has damaged the Israeli economy, especially its agricultural sector, more than anybody except for Israeli governments and the farmers lobby – jumped on the band wagon. It announced that it will establish a body that will help the mothers “realize their rights” for welfare. In this it continues its venerable tradition of perverting the Zionist dream of establishing a self sustaining population capable of supporting itself and replacing it with degenerative dependency on welfare bureaucracies and political handouts.
Finally, a word about the media. There was almost no reporting of the real events taking place around the Vikky Knafo cult which the media fomented, not a word about the mothers being exploited politically to the detriment of their real needs. Instead the media became the cheerleader to the false claims of politically motivated “social” groups that manipulate and exploit the poor and do not give a damn about their real suffering.