Social Democracy is one of the key concepts in Israeli politics yet we hardly bother to find out where a social democratic governmental model is implemented and what are the socio-economic trends which follow a regime which is committed to provide the citizens with services from cradle to grave. It turns out that while Israel wants to become Europe, European countries had realised a long time ago that the social-democratic hocus-pocus leads to bankruptcy and social crises.
In Israeli public and academia discourse the term “social democracy” is accepted as a positive notion, while “neo-liberalism” has quite a negative connotation. Economic liberalism is typically portrayed by israeli media and academia as cruel and uncaring while social democracy is presented as moderate and just.
MK Shelly Yachimovich had a significant contribution in making the term “social democracy” bon ton. She sees in the European countries which are allegedly social democratic a model Israel ought to emulate. However, it’s ironic for two reasons; Firstly, in 1985 it was the Israeli Labour party that led the economic recovery program, no doubt a neo-liberal plan by every definition. Secondly, the European countries gave up on the social democratic system a long time ago and the few countried holding on to the SD system are stuck in a loop of zero growth and high unemployment.
The addition of “Democratic” to an adjective should raise our suspicion. Countries which define themselves as democratic republics – the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) for instance, do it precisely because they aren’t democratic.