The recent epidemic of scandals is both alarming and shameful. They involve men, supposedly of high honor, in alleged crimes of bribery, fraud, corruption and breach of trust to the Israeli public.
Behind each of the four Cases stands our Prime Minister, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu who proclaims loudly his innocence to a mostly non-believing public.
Case 1000 involved both the Prime Minister and his wife on confirmed charges of requesting expensive gifts in return for aiding Arnon Milchan to receive a 10 year extension of his American visa and to arrange permanent residence in Caesarea next to the Netanyahu mansion in order to avoid tax payments.
Case 2000 involved an agreement made by Netanyahu to Amnon “Noni” Mozes, publisher of our largest Hebrew language daily newspaper, agreeing to curtail publication and distribution of the Adelson-owned free Hebrew daily, YISRAEL HAYOM, in exchange for more favorable coverage of him and his family.
Case 3000 involves alleged corruption and bribery in the purchase of submarines from Germany. And now, the latest Case 4000 involves both Bezeq, the national telephone company, and Walla, the major internet news service. In this case, witnesses are giving state’s evidence, in return for leniency, that they were corrupt in helping the Prime Minister, at his personal request, to publicize him as an honest leader and to diminish from news all cases now pending against him.
What next? Who is next? How many more scandals will pop out of the closet now that it has been opened? And what will become of Israel’s Marie Antoinette, aka Sara Netanyahu, in her criminal charges?
Yesterday I received an e-mail from a close friend now in Singapore requesting enlightened information pertaining to the backgrounds of these scandals. And today, I received an e-mail from a cousin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil informing me that Brazilian Jews were shocked by the allegations.
How could they be shocked? Has no one ever heard of Jewish criminals, Jewish gangsters, Jewish mafia, corrupt Jewish politicians ? (Every politician lies; religion plays no part).
In the 1920’s-1930’s there was a powerful abundance of them in the United States. After our independence in 1948, some of them sought to emigrate to Israel in order to avoid prosecution in America.
It is a challenge to the mind to put the pieces of these puzzles together and to form a solid unity. And once that is achieved, the mind will be required to think pragmatically about our Prime Minister’s involvement in these scandals and to determine if he should be required, after court hearings, to resign.
There are so many beautiful, moral and ethical citizens in our marvelous country. Let us focus in the news about good deeds which so many of them perform. How about the 10 year old boy who helped an elderly woman to cross busy Dizengoff street in Tel-Aviv in heavy traffic?
London & Kirschenbaum, my favorite news commentators, should dedicate a segment of each broadcast with a heart-warming story that can hopefully distract us for a short time from the scandals and the scandalous.
I remember the years when Israelis left home to do shopping without locking the doors. There was a trust, a belief that Jewish neighbors would do no evil.
We desperately need a national return to the ideals of honesty and ethical behavior from elected officials as well as from ordinary citizens.
Enough of the scandals! It’s time for chivalry or menschlichkeit to make its renewed appearance.
Ha yom. Lo Machar. Today. Not tomorrow.