We are now in the post Zionist era of Israel’s development. There are those people who view the post Zionist period in Israel’s development as the period when Zionism has ceased to be relevant. The conclusion that one reaches is that the rot has set into Israel’s corridors of power and influence. This rot filters down from the ex- President, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, “run of the mill” party political hacks, who are Knesset Members, and directors of government departments. The rot filters down like a cancer and even crosses religious barriers. Establishment Judaism and its political ramifications in corruption are not immune. The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi enjoys good hotels free while the Sephardic Chief Rabbi does not know what his wayward son is doing when it comes to assaulting a non-approved boyfriend of his daughter.

Eyebrows are raised at the mention of the term “post-Zionism”. Why are these phenomena occurring in Israel whose establishment was so noble? A disease runs in Israel, crossing political lines at a rapid rate. This disease is the “cartel syndrome” (known as “combinot” in Hebrew). Israel society is divided into two main groups:

1.The Cartels (combinot) – these are groups of people, usually politicians and their business friends who seek political influence in high places for profit. They form strong connections and use public money for their own financial advancement at the tax payers’ expense. Their motto is “This is due to me!” (Hebrew – Magiah li!)
2.The Suckers (Hebrew “friarim”) – these are the unfortunate citizens of Israel, especially those who are deprived economically. They pay the price for governmental corruption of all shapes and sizes. They pay the taxes and the Tax Authority directors and their shady ilk ensure that their pockets are not empty. The sucker never dies; he is always replaced at the click of the “judicial” finger!

The cases of corruption in Israel are increasing at an alarming rate! Israeli society has become more materialistic and less caring. The cartel is the result of people forming groups in order to keep to the old maxim: “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours!” They regard themselves as being immune from the law. All these attitudes are the result of a flawed educational system that has failed to educate the young. Results are seen in the general behaviour of people in public places including the formation of “cartels” for jumping queues. Vehicle driving patterns on the roads are part of the same syndrome of loutish behaviour and lack of consideration that is so rampant in Israeli society! Fatal accidents cause death and taken a step further it will destroy Israel! The Palestinians are not a danger to Israel’s existence – nor is Iran. The danger to Israel’s existence is “the corrupt cartels”! They undermine Israeli society and values from within. They will hasten the conversion of Israel into a bi-national state as Jewish values are rapidly becoming history. This is post-Zionism!

Even some members of the Police Force are not immune from the “cartel”. Appointments are made on a political basis rather than on the person’s talent for the job in many government departments. Could this be due to the “Cartel Syndrome”?

This is all indicative of the beginning of the post-Zionist era in Israel. Blatant materialism and the desire to form cartels in order to get rich quickly has now become the way of life in modern Israel. This method of personal enrichment at the tax payers’ expense brings a message loud and clear to the tax payer. Why pay taxes if the money goes to members of cartels in their motivation of enriching themselves financially?

This spells danger for the survival of Israel as a Jewish state. It might as well become a bi-national state. Jewish values are disintegrating, being replaced by fundamental materialism. This is not the society for which to strive. Its values are disintegrating and this will result in the destruction of democracy. The treatment of the Palestinians under occupation and the behaviour of the illegal settlers in the occupied territories is not treated with the contempt that they deserve.

Under these circumstances it may be a good idea to ponder the idea of a bi-national state representing all of its citizens – Arab as well as Jewish. A corrupt Israel will never be able to deliver the peace that we need. This has nothing to do with corruption in the Palestinian Authority. If the leaders of Israel are unable to contain corruption and are even part of the system that promulgates this evil by default, then something is rotten in its leadership! The Prime Minister is being investigated on corruption and bribery charges. The past president Moshe Katzav has a rape charge hanging over him. Perhaps a bi-national, democratic, secular state with built in mechanisms that minimizes nepotism and corruption is the answer to Israel’s existence. Corruption in Israel will eventually result in Israel joining the unenviable club of third world banana republics.

Perhaps the only optimistic aspect of this scenario is that the rot has surfaced due to the public media in Israel which remains free.

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Comment by Yigal D. Kahana on August 8, 2008 at 2:25am
May 30, 2008 0:04 | Updated May 30, 2008 8:58

'No one is above the law in Israel'

The corruption case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has earned Israel tremendous respect throughout the Arab world, where many have called on their leaders to benefit from Israel's democratic system and independent judicial system.
Words of praise for Israel are a rare phenomenon in the Arab media. But judging from the reactions of many Arabs to the corruption case in the past week, the trend appears to have changed.
Even some Arabs who describe themselves as "sworn enemies of the Zionist entity" have begun singing praise for Israel.
Over the past week, the corruption case against Olmert received wide coverage in the mainstream Arab media, prompting an outcry about the need for transparency and accountability in the Arab world.
“Show me one Arab or Islamic country where a prime minister or a senior government official was ever questioned for financial corruption or bribery," said a reader who identified himself only as Majed.
Majed, like many others, was responding to a news story on an Arab Web site about the testimony in court of American philanthropist Morris Talansky, who told police he had given Olmert more than $150,000 in cash over the course of some 14 years.
Another reader, Sami, commented: "The Israeli regime with all its defects is better than all the Arab 'democracies' and still changes ministers and governments every few years."
A Saudi national named Abdel Karim urged his Arab brethren to stop criticizing Israel and learn something about its democracy. "Before we curse Israel, we must learn from the democratic and judicial system in Israel, where no one is above the law," he wrote.
Khaled, another Saudi national, chimed in: "Although we are talking about Israel, which I have always hated very much, there is still no one above the law there."
Mahmoud al-Bakili of Yemen posted the following response on one of the Web sites: "We want this kind of accountability and transparency in the Arab and Islamic world."
And there was this comment from an Arab who described himself as a Syrian Voice: "Despite my strong hatred for the Zionist regime, I have a lot of admiration and respect for this entity because there is no one above the law. In the Arab world, laws are broken every day and no one seems to care."
Egyptian writer Abdel Aziz Mahmoud said he doesn't believe the day will ever come when an Arab leader will be put on trial for sexual harassment or financial corruption.
"I don't think we will live to see the day when the police interrogate an Arab leader for sexually harassing his secretary or receiving bribes," he wrote. "Nor will our children and grandchildren live to see that day. What happened in Israel can never happen in any Arab country."
Some Arabs went as far as condemning the Arab people for failing to rise against their corrupt dictators.
"There is corruption in Israel and the Arab world," wrote Abu Hadi from Iraq. "But the difference is that the Israelis hold their leaders accountable, while we the Arabs remain silent about corruption."
Jamal, who described himself as the Madman, wrote that "the reason why Israel has lasted for so long is because of its independent and fair judicial system. I challenge the Arabs to have such an independent judicial system."
Many of the readers found it quite ironic that Olmert was being questioned because of "only" tens of thousands of dollars he allegedly received from Talansky.

"They say he received something like $3,000 a year," said Abu Atab from Morocco inaccurately. "This shows that Olmert is a decent man. This is a small sum that any Arab government official would receive on a daily basis as a bribe. Our leaders steal millions of dollars and no one dares to hold them accountable."
Touching on the same issue, a reader from Algeria posted this comment: "In the Arab world, our leaders don't accept less than $1 million in bribes; the money must be deposited in secret bank accounts in Switzerland. Olmert is a fool if he took only a small sum."
Another comment, this time from Ahmed in Jordan, also referred to the alleged amount: "Only a few thousand dollars? What a fool! This is what an Egyptian minister gets in a day or what a Saudi CEO gets in 45 minutes, or a Kuwaiti government official in five minutes. This is what the physician of the emir of Qatar gets every 30 seconds."
One Arab commentator who identified himself as Jasser Abdel Hamid advised Olmert to seek citizenship of one of the Arab countries. "Why don't you seek Arab citizenship?" he asked sarcastically. "There you can take as much money as you want. Even if they discover the theft, they will erect a statue for you in a public square."
The following are more comments that appeared in recent days in the Arab media:
Mohammed in Lebanon: "Can you imagine if there was an investigation against an Arab or Muslim leader? Do you know how much money they would discover?"
Abu Yusef in Egypt: "Unfortunately, this is the real democracy. Our enemies are very good in practicing democracy. In the Arab world, our leaders steal everything and no one ever dares to ask a question."
Rashid in Saudi Arabia: "Despite all our problems with the Jews, they are much better than us in fighting corruption and revealing the truth."
Israel Lover in Saudi Arabia: "Israel is a state that deserves to exist. It deserves our profound respect. I wish I were a citizen of this state."
Hani in Ramallah: "This is democracy at its best! Enough of dictatorship in the Arab world! Let's learn from the Israeli example. Let's benefit from Israel's democracy."
Rashid Bohairi in Kuwait: "I swear Israel is a state that will succeed. They are prosecuting their prime minister because of tens of thousands of dollars. What about the millions of dollars that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority stole? How come the Palestinian people are still hungry?"


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