Thursday, May 29, 2008

Politics and Sleaze in Israel: a Brief History

An observation, apropos nothing: At the turn of the 20th century there were no wealthy Jews in Jerusalem, only poor ones. There were wealthy Jews in Frankfurt, New York, Casablanca and Baghdad, but there weren't any in Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv hadn't been invented yet. 50 years later there were no Jews at all in Frankfurt and Baghdad, and Casablanca was emptying out; there were more wealthy Jews in New York than previously, and there were also some in Jerusalem. Another 50 years on, there are a handful of wealthy Jews in Frankfurt, no Jews in Baghdad nor in Casablanca, quite a number of them in Jerusalem, and the wealth of the Jewish communities in Greater New York is fabulous beyond imagination. (Some of them live part time in Jerusalem, so we can count them twice).

And why is all this relevant to anything, I hear you asking? Because until not very long ago, the nexus of wealthy Jews and powerful politicians was not much of an option. Add to that the ethos of the (Israel's) Founding Fathers, who saw themselves as staunch socialists who live on kibbutzes, and you begin to see why sleaze wasn't much of an issue in the days of Ben Gurion Through Golda. No sooner had the next generation taken control of the helm, however, the problem appeared. No-one talks much about it anymore, but Rabin was first toppled, in 1977, against a background of personal and party sleaze. Begin and Shamir, the next two, came for the same generation (almost) as their predecessors, and were hardly blameless in a general way,but they seem to have been sleazeless. (Begin was legendary).

Then came the next ones: Peres was never really fingered, but Ezer Wiezman left the President's seat under a cloud, and police investigations have been launched against every prime minister since Netanyahu, and against many ministers. Irrespective of political persuasion.


Anonymous said...


Ben Gurion lived under no clouds? Or only "just no allusions?" Remember the Altalena?

Yes, he was a socialist. But is this good? So many years down the road, at it looks like the Kibutzim were a "flash in the pan." People need to feel real FREEDOM. And, to do that well, you need the ability to own property. And, make money, in retail and wholesale.

Basically, the damage to Israel was done early. It set in motion a Jewish version of Marx. Sounded great. (Or as my mom would say, "Jesus was the first socialist. You can see that if you don't have more than 12 people in the mix, communism works.")

Ben Gurion also handed off to the ultra-religious the baton for all of Judaism. As if there weren't strong ties, already, to a 3-way system. WHich included the orthodox, in a mix with conservatives and reform Jews.

Sure, Ben Gurion was selling "secular." But Mapai has long since gone. And, as the truth gets known about American presidents; and also America's State Department, you'd recognize that not only SECULAR standards are set. A great nation, America, incorporates leaving church affairs outside the perview of politics.

Here? Bibi Netanyahu, quite capable of living the "first class life," has set himself outside of government. On purpose. In order to tear down Olmert's government and "go to early elections."

I don't know about you, but I think there's something called "buyer's remorse." And, IF Olmert is forced to quit, at whose door would this be put? Livni's? If so, Livni doesn't win. (And, just to be sure, Mofaz signed up 62,000 new converts to Kadima.)

Alas, Arik Sharon had dreamt of a political system that would have changed the ways Likud did business. But he listened to his (Jewish) doctors, and so he stroked.

This is playing out like the "LONGEST LIVING SOAP OPERA." How else explain an short American Jewish fella showing up ... who could'a been cast as Jack Ruby, in a prior generation? He, too, thought he was acting for the common good. LAUGHINGSTOCK! But not as funny as vaudeville.

Meanwhile? How did Olmert survive the two attempts at Winograd disgrace? Winograd didn't come up with much, after all. Couldn't even read tea leaves, backwards.

Ya know? I hope there are enough secular Jews in Israel who have figured out the Likud trick. And, who have also figured out that Mazuz is "full of it."

Anonymous said...


A sad story about Menachem Begin. He was Prime Minister when Jimmy Carter was in office. And, Jimmy had psychiatrists advising him that Begin would be a sucker for a state dinner.

So, Jimmy who eschewed state dinners, pulled one off for Begin. And, then? Well, you know Jimmy ended up with a Nobel prize. And, Begin made a deal with Eygpt.

One thing's now certain. Since the arabs always expect to lose to the IDF, any war ventures, down the line, and Israel can forget about taking home property. (Why she'd even want more arabs is beyond me.) But the rest of the world will clamor that all gains "go back."

I respect Olmert so much! He had to deal with this Bush presidency. And, he's kept Israel in much better shape than Begin ever did!

Among other things, Olmert was aware, in the summer of 2006; that Bush was hot for Israel to trot into syria. And, remove Assad.

Even now, in America, a book by Scott McLellan, ripping into Bush's white house (where he served), is #1 on Amazon. PRE-SALE. Book comes out Monday.

Anyway, here you can see how curiosity gets people to read. To listen to stories that might even seem stale. But Bush? He went to PROPAGANDA WAR for Iraq. Where, it's possible, once Hussein was gone; the Saud's thought they'd take over.

The Saud's didn't advance one iota!

So, you tell me, is Olmert sitting on a good book deal, or what?

Anonymous said...


It's interesting how books can come on the market, that opens the curtains on secrets. So you can peek, inside.

While I drive, I lsten to tapes. And, the current audio book is Gordon Thomas' GIDEON'S SPIES.

Lots of stories! With names, that if you were alive when they trespassed onto the drama stage; you'd know their names. Like Robert Maxwell's.

And, you'd learn a lot about the MOSSAD. And, how, when the RIGHT achieved top notch slots in government; a "devil may care" attitude started to have the Mossad throwing its weight around, against friend and foe, alike.

Anyway, ONE BRIEF SENTENCE. Shimon Peres is described as an "EGO WITH AN ESKIMO's, SMILE." And, he gets introduced to Robert Maxwell. WHo will turn out to be the Mossad's tip-top espionage "sayan."

The "ego" met the megalomaniac. And, Gordon Thomas says that for the first time, he heard Shimon Peres actually crack a joke.

That begins: Maxwell is the only bouncing check ...

Maxwell and Checheslovakia is your clue.

To hear the joke? Go read or listen to Gideon's Spies.

It's time more people knew.