Saturday, March 21, 2009

Strange story: from Israel

There is a serious global recession underway. Waves of populist anger are sweeping through places where they have been heretofore unseen. This story from the Los Angeles Times about looting in Israel, a liberal democracy, came as a surprise. The LA Times reports that, "The [Israeli] economy is expected to shrink 1.5% this year, according to the Bank of Israel, compared with growth rates of 4% or more in the previous five years... [It] also forecasts an 11% decline in Israeli exports, which account for half the value of everything the country produces."

The looting occurred at a supermarket in the region of northern Israel called Galilee. It closed without paying workers their final two-months wages. They were laid-off and the store manager disappeared. Subordinates left in charge told employees they could take their due in goods, but the situation spiraled out of control. The LA Times says,
"They rifled through their shuttered workplace, helping themselves to crates full of groceries.

As word spread through the small town, the store's jilted creditors joined in. They dismantled the light fixtures, ripped out wiring and absconded with the cash registers, even as television cameras rolled.

Within hours the parking lot was jammed with ordinary shoppers. They left car engines running and brought their children to help pick the shelves clean. Finally even the shelves were hauled away, leaving latecomers to scrounge the floor for leftover fruit."

This was not the first looting incident in Israel this year. A bankrupt hotel saw a similar scavenging when it bailed on banquets and weddings for which it had already taken deposits.

Of course, Americans can hardly say they have never seen such things. The Clarion Content just thought it was a ominous sign of times to see it happening in an economic tiger like Israel.

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