We learned this week that the Israeli police have recommended indicting PM Netanyahu for bribery. Some Israeli commentators opine that this move by the Israeli police is the end of Netanyahu or at least the beginning of his end. I am not convinced that this is the case, Bibi has proved to be both resilient and resistant. In any case, Netanyahu won’t be the first Israeli politician to face trial and possible imprisonment. His predecessor Ehud Olmert was sentenced after being convicted of fraud, breach of trust, bribery and tax evasion.
Disdain for the law and a lack of ethics are deeply entrenched within the Israeli elite and in its political leadership in particular. Yet, unlike Bibi and Olmert, Moshe Katzav wasn’t really interested in mammon, bribery or fraudulent activity. When Katzav was president, it turned out that predatory sexual behaviour was his thing. He was exposed and paid the price. On 22 March 2011, Moshe Katsav became the first former President of Israel to be sent to prison when he was sentenced to seven years with two additional years probation for rape, indecent acts, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice.
Disregard of elementary ethics, it seems, is so common in the Jewish State political universe that Wikipedia decided to dedicate a special page to this social phenomenon titled “List of Israeli public officials convicted of crimes or misdemeanors.”
This begs the question, what is it with the Jewish State and its criminality? Wasn’t Zionism a promise to fix the Jews, to make them productive and ethical or as an early Zionist phrased it -- ‘people like all other people’?
In fact, the Zionist promise may actually explain why so many Israeli politicians have ended up behind bars or at least faced indictment. The early Zionist promise expressed a desperate Jewish wish to morph into a civilised nation, to depart from Jerusalem and bond, once and for all, with Athens.
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