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Abstract

When reality does not match the dream nations tend to suffer. In Israel unemployment compromises social democratic ideals. The country oscillates between bombast and despair. Official data is not trusted. Those who leave Russia on Israeli visas and do not come are "dropouts." Those who leave Israel for other countries are "yordim." Those who go to work every day when there is nothing to do are draining the nation with "hidden unemployment." These are terms of derision. Some of the difficulty with unemployment data and understanding Israeli response to the problem may be for security reasons. Israelis have lived in an almost continuous state of war since 1922. The danger from living under such pressure is that it increases the denial; policy thinking is rigid and bureaucracy grows. Israel has survived because of its capacity for flexibility and innovation. Continued replacement of these qualities by denying economic realities may threaten its survival and peace in the world.

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