Published in The Jerusalem Post on January 12, 2003
Corruption of our political system is endemic and getting worse. Mob figures appear to have overtaken sectors of the ruling Likud Party. Which is exactly why it is critically important that the political Right form the next government!
You see, it is only when the right-wing is in power that the corruptions, frauds, briberies and other sleazy practices are exposed. When the political Left holds the reigns of power all corruptions and scandals are swept under the carpet.
Consider: When Ehud Barak of the Labor Party takes contributions from a series of shady and probably illegal dummy corporations and non-profit associations in order to fund his election campaign, the “scandal” gets some play in the press, forcing the Attorney General and the police to reluctantly investigate the matter. They investigate, and investigate, and investigate – and four years later they are still “investigating”, with no indictments, no headlines and no nothing.
The key figures in the scandal have “taken the Fifth” – until today they still claim their right to remain silent and refuse to answer police questions. Basically, the matter has been buried deep in the archives, and purposefully so, I believe.
When Yossi Ginossar, confident and personal envoy of Prime Ministers Rabin and Peres, secrets-away abroad millions of dollars for Yasser Arafat, using the profits of exclusive business dealings in cement, gas and gambling that he made through close ties with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders – the scandal is but a blip on the political radar screen. No-one in our so-very-prosecutorial press has even bothered to follow-up on the suspicion that Ginossar’s dubious dealings with Arafat partially paid for Barak’s campaign.
When EC and other funds improperly flow through the Peres Center for Peace and reach pet projects established or backed by Yossi Beilin, or these left wing foreign funds are distributed on Beilin’s and Peres’ say-so to Israeli political groups like the “Four Mothers” and Peace Now – the Israeli press pays only perfunctory attention.
But when Ariel Sharon takes a loan in order to cover his election debts from an old buddy whose friendship with Sharon goes back to their Haganah days during the War of Independence – that’s front page, non-stop, uncontrollable, screaming-headline news for days and days and days with no end in sight!
Is there any doubt that the intensity of the legal, police and press attention given to the recent shenanigans in the Likud and to Sharon’s personal campaign finances is the result of built-in political establishment bias against the Right and in favor of the Left?!
Where were the Israeli media hound-dogs all those years of Oslo intoxication, as Arafat was building up his weapons arsenal, padding his Swiss bank accounts, stealing food and other supplies from international aid agencies, and indoctrinating his people for jihad against Israel? Do you really think that none of this could have or would have been discovered had a serious investigative journalist actually sought to sniff around?
But the press was sound asleep. Lulled into a lullaby because the Left was in power and it would have been politically incorrect to cause a scandal.
Similarly, there was absolutely no surprise in Thursday’s big Supreme Court decision which decided who can run in this month’s election and who can’t. Predictably, the Court said that Yasser Arafat’s personal adviser Ahmed Tibi is glatt kosher, and that the guy who had the gall to disrupt traffic five years ago in order to save us from Oslo – Moshe Feiglin – is *treif*. The anti-Israel propagandist Tibi can run for Knesset, while the patriot Feiglin cannot.
This Supreme Court’s decision was about as surprising as a round of thunderous applause for Rabbi Ovadia Yosef at a Shas rally would be. Any taxi driver or corner-store salesman could have told you the outcome in advance.
Indeed, you have to pity the eleven justices who sat through 10 hours of oral arguments on this matter. It would have been just as well to spare Chief Justice Barak and Co. the public agony of sitting on the bench for that long, and allow them to spit out their ruling through an automatic email server while we all we enjoyed a nice day on the beach together.
Good government and robust democracy requires an activist, spirited system of checks and balances. We need our police, the courts and the media alert and attentive to possible breaches of faith, to underhanded financial dealings that give power to the richest and most unsavory characters, and to insinuations of improper government practice.
Unfortunately, it is clear that the investigative juices in this country run primarily one way – against the political Right. “The System”, which includes the legal and media elites, are much tougher on the Right than on the Left. So much so, that when the Left is in power the checks and balance practically disappear.
And thus, if you want to stop political corruption and uphold the importance of good government in Israel, vote Right! We mustn’t let any perfidy or deceit be swept under the carpet.