Friday, March 23, 2007

Post-modern corruption in Israel

Last update - 09:00 23/03/2007

Post-modern corruption

By Gideon Samet

The crime stories at the top echelons are becoming totally bizarre. The record to date, a president suspected of rape, now seems to have been taken over by the story of Abraham Hirchson. The sins of Aryeh Deri, who only a few years ago occupied a strong place at the top of the hit parade, are nothing compared to his. The investigation of the finance minister looks like a late installment in a series where the scriptwriter goes crazy so that bored viewers won't leave. The fear is that in this situation the people in their living rooms won't get excited even if in the next installment the police commissioner is accused of pedophilia.

This is a penetration of post-modernism into the arena of corruption. As in the theory that rejects a distinction between high and low culture, it seems the criterion for examining the sins of senior officials is becoming blurred. Money in envelopes that, according to the suspicions, are transferred by an emissary to a Filipina worker in the finance minister's residence. The theft
of of tens of millions of shekels in the course of more than a decade. A suitcase of dollars for funding "Marches of the Living" to the death camps is seized on the way out of Poland. Is there no limit to the vulgarity of the scriptwriter?

Everything is presumed until proven. But until then, it is definitely becoming conceivable to investigators and to viewers of the cheap crime series that such things are possible. In a legendary anecdote from 40 years ago, an MK showed the education minister a police confirmation that he had emerged clean in an investigation. It's interesting that I don't have such a confirmation, said Zalman Aran, sarcastically.

Now anything goes. Crime reporters tell of the chairman of the Knesset Labor faction, Yoram Marciano, who is suspected of assault in a nightclub, that he doesn't know what they want from him and is threatening them even before receiving a note from the police. Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman removed himself from office in 1996 the moment the attorney general informed him of an investigation on the matter of false testimony to the police. Jackie Matza and Shula Zaken, the head of the Tax Authority and the prime minister's bureau chief, have been suspended from their jobs. Maybe because they don't have a bloc of supporters in the ruling party at a time when the prime minister himself, who is sitting on a cardboard chair, is stuck in investigations.

What has happened to allow the finance minister to remain in his job during a shocking investigation? Perhaps what has happened is that these investigations are no longer so shocking.

There is also a stench of post-modernism because this influential thesis despises what it has called the "super-text." It rejects unequivocal statements that try to dictate norms and decide what is permitted and what is forbidden. So that during the overly long period in which it has been flourishing at universities in the West, philosophy departments have removed Plato and Aristotle from the curriculum, for example, because they are considered white and arrogant tyrants of thought.

Although the criminal law is clear, the climate in Israel still favors blurred rules when it comes to people at the top. So that the question of whether Moshe Katsav has to leave the President's Residence during the course of the investigation remains hanging in the compressed air. And now the finance minister.

Of course he has to leave immediately. By the conclusion of the investigation. What, is there no life without Hirchson? This week Amnon Strashnov, the former district court judge and judge advocate general, proposed that no investigative proceedings take place against the prime minister ("by all the Lindenstrausses, the Yoav Yitzhakis") until he is out of office. This is folly
that is trying to turn the vagueness surrounding the status of VIPs under investigation into law. By nature, it is itself wrapped in amazing post-modernism. And will a finance minister under investigation continue? And a president?

So many people have been dragged into the investigation rooms that it seems as though we are really doing well. The opposite is the case. We are not doing at
all well if such a long line is forming there. Those who are panicking should take a valium. This matter has to be taken to the clear end, whether or not it is bitter.

No comments: