The Main Problem with Israel: A Culture of Entitlement

Israeli diplomat Arthur Lenk has penned a lengthy rant at the Times of Israel about why he, and his fellow diplomats, are refusing to work. Yes, that’s right–much of Israel’s diplomatic corps has walked off the job in the midst of airstrikes and rockets in Gaza, the seizure of an Iranian weapons ship in the Red Sea, and the Obama administration’s betrayal of its promise to push Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The diplomats complain they are paid too little by “the young men and women who control Israel’s ministry of finance.” 

Shed a tear: 

We are all understaffed and underpaid. We have to pick up our families, pack our lives and start again every few years. Our spouses have to give up any hope of a career (or a pension) as they follow us around. The impact on our kids is complicated, too. Try finding quality daycare that a junior diplomat can afford in Europe or the US (our government only pays from age 3). 

A regular Book of Lamentations.

It is almost impossible to imagine an American diplomat griping in public about his or her wages. For all the selfishness of our public sector unions, many of our public servants are eager to serve in any capacity. We still have a culture of voluntarism, rather than a one of entitlement–though that is changing as our society changes.

Israel is a leader in entrepreneurship, culture, and defense. Yet it is held back by a large social welfare state that is the legacy of the country’s broadly socialist roots. 

In 2011, for example, crowds of Israelis took to the streets to protest the high cost of living, which is largely the result of big government, and demanded more big government. 

In that sense Israel’s diplomats are good “representatives,” but poor emissaries, of their country.