The other day I wrote a rather information-centric piece about the unfortunate evolution of allegations of corruption and criminal charges made against Israeli prime ministers over the last two decades (here).
That entry lacked a conclusion. So here it is.
The French accept that every president since the 90’s had an affair, a divorce or just got married a second or third time to a woman significantly younger than him. Due to French cultural norms, it comes as no surprise.
We accept it as part of Japanese culture when a politician facing criminal charges or scandal reportedly considers commiting suicide and eventually steps down. Because Japanese culture is viewed as honor centric, where a person who is accused for bringing shame upon his family, must take personal responsibility of the highest order.
So what does it say about Israeli culture that the last six prime ministers have faced serious allegations of corruption, and several were found guilty? What does it mean when a party comprised of all politicians found guilty of corruption of criminal activity would be the second largest in the knesset?
It says something about our culture – if the head is corrupt, can someone realistically think that the rest of body isn’t corrupt too? Can we be surprised that recent allegation against Netanyahu barely have an effect on Likud’s poll results? People don’t care, because they assume that this normal, or worse – they know of much worse acts committed by other politicians that these allegations are nothing impressive in comparison.
I honestly couldn’t care less about Netanyahu’s make up budget, the recycled bottles or the pool bill. If the prime minister, whose budget and expenses are overseen by a committee, manages to abuse state funds, what does this say about low level bureaucrats and government officials? Who oversees their decision making process with regards to our money? And whose interest they see in their eyes – ours, theirs, or someone else’s?