The Times of Israel’s editor, sitting next to me as the MK in question delivered this shattering assessment of 90 colleagues, was so horrified that he asked for it be repeated, to be sure he had heard correctly.Tzvika Graiver, a lawyer for the Keep Olim in Israel Movement, told The Times of Israel recently that when he attends Knesset panels to advocate on behalf of steps that would ease life for new immigrants, he invariably finds himself seated alone amid an army of lobbyists and indifferent government bureaucrats.
Biton told the panel that organized crime in Israel had grown to ‘monstrous proportions’ as a result of online investment fraud.Anti-fraud advocates were stunned to arrive at the Reforms Committee meeting where the legislation was being debated to discover that the bill had been constricted and truncated without their knowledge, as a direct consequence of input from the very industries it was originally formulated to target.Asked how this happened, one Israeli forex company owner told The Times of Israel, “You have no idea who you are dealing with.Meanwhile, apartment prices have risen 118% in the last ten years, for reasons economists cannot fully explain.Recently, the sale of new apartments has slowed, which a report in The Marker by Nimrod Bousso attributes to a recent crackdown on money laundering in Israeli banks ordered by the Bank of Israel’s Supervisor of the Banks.Israel’s Finance Ministry recently issued a report showing that the cost of nearly every consumer product, with the exception of education and produce, is significantly higher in Israel than the OECD average.
Analysts attribute this high cost to monopolists and rent seekers who pull strings and lobby the government to block competition in industry after industry.
Even if a few hare hunters stop being selfish and decide to cooperate, the group dynamic quickly reverts back to the default of hare hunting.
But not all hope is lost, because societies of stag hunters have in fact spontaneously emerged in history, and this, said Fisher, is often because many individuals change their minds about what other members of society will do and begin to trust each other.
It is clearly in Israel’s interest to enforce the rule of law and uproot criminality, among other reasons because corrupt states suffer dire economic consequences.
(Russia’s economy is shrinking, despite the constant supply of income from oil.) But there appear to be too many hare hunters in today’s Israel, looking after their own interests, and not enough stag hunters.
The report suggests that rampant money laundering was a significant factor in the rise of apartment prices in the first place. Avichai Snir, an economist at Bar-Ilan University, published a paper on the impact of money laundering on rising apartment prices in October 2014.