In opening up my daily newspaper, Yisrael Hayom, one of the first items I look for is to see who has been indicted or arrested on sex charges. It has become so ordinary that films could be made about our sex-sick society.
When did it begin? Probably in the times of Moshe Dayan, David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meier and others but in those days there were only hints and rumors. Nothing made it into the newspapers. With the one exception of Moshe Dayan, Israel’s most famous womanizer. About Dayan, everyone knew. And Dayan himself knew that everyone knew and did not care a whit.
Many politicians and world leaders have in the past half century gained notoriety for their lewd and lascivious behavior. Consensual sexual relationships are common and are not considered criminal In France it has long been acceptable for a married man to have a mistress.
In biblical times a married man could have a concubine and King Solomon, with one thousand wives, had a choice of who would be his sleeping partner for any particular night.
In Judaism, sexual relationships are considered holy acts of love when performed in marriage. Extra-marital affairs are frowned upon.
America had its John F. Kennedy and its Bill Clinton. We here in Israel have had our Moshe Katzav, a past president now eligible for early release after having served five years of a seven year prison sentence. Yet he has not acknowleged his crimes of rape and sexual harassment of young females working in his offices.
And now, added to the sad and sorry list we have a Member of Knesset from the Jewish Home party, Nissan Slomiansky, accused of sexual harassment. We have a former prestigious IDF General, Ofek Buchris, accused of alleged rape and sexual improprieties against female soldiers, now reduced to the rank of Colonel with no prison term required.
A sixty-year old Jerusalem rabbi has been arrested and indicted for multiple counts of rape and sodomy against dozens of teen-age girls in a religious seminary.
In the past, a very prominent Jerusalem rabbi was accused of molesting male soldiers in the bathroom of the Jerusalem central bus terminal. Nothing was done to him and after the initial accusations he ceased from his sexual misconduct.
In Orthodox yeshivot both here and abroad, young boys are often molested by their teachers and rabbis, yet the yeshivot usually attempt to cover up the allegations and accusations, often dismissing the culprit quietly.
What has happened to turn us into a sex sick and sex starved society? Most of us have no objections to the annual LGBT gay pride parades in Tel-Aviv and, regrettably, in Jerusalem. We accept them because we understand that they are not predators seeking to molest minors. We even respect them for demonstrating publicly their pride in who they are. They are not offenders of public morality.
It has been said, perhaps apocryphally, that the late and great first Chief Rabbi of Israel, HaRav Kook recited the prayer of Shehecheyanu when the first Jewish criminal was sentenced to prison in Israel.
Times they are a-changing ! Today it seems there is no shame in raping, sodomizing or harassing. It has become, for some, a national past-time, something to expect reading about in Yisrael Hayom and other media.
Sexual urges can be monitored and controlled to normally-accepted patterns of behavior. Israel is meant to be a beacon light to the nations of the world. And Israel’s leaders, in particular, must hold high that light so that morality will shine bright upon us and upon our beloved country.