The economy is blooming, growing in the last quarter of 2006 by almost 8 percent. . . Foreign direct investment is flowing in at an unprecedented rate -- $13.4 billion in 2006. The high-tech sector exports are approaching $18 billion, and the stock exchange is at an all-time high. The shekel is stronger than ever, the inflation, nonexistent. Interest rates are lower than in U.S. or Britain, the budget defict less than 1 percent of GDP, and the balance of payments is positive[.]
But, Friedman also paraphrases Plocker's basis for finding that "Almost half of the population does not enjoy the boom.":
The unemployment rate is 8.3 percent. Israel's poverty rate is still the highest in the West, by far: 24.4 percent of the entire pouplation and 35.2 percent of all children are described as poor, living under the official "poverty line." In the Arab and the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sectors, child poverty is especially high:" more than 50 percent. The real income of the poorest quarter of Israelis is lower than six years ago.
The facts pose more questions than I can pretend to answer.