Collaborators With the Corrupt

If most of the public prefers to leave the defiant ministers on the ramparts as guards, let them not be surprised if the rampart falls down some day.

The weekend papers were full of reports of corruption, and once again the stench rose and covered the sun with a toxic and nauseous vapor. Ministers, Knesset members, senior officials and their relatives and friends are working hand in glove to rob the country. One might ask disparagingly - what else is new? How are these weekend stories different from the ones we've already heard and will continue to hear? It's old news.

More infuriating than the exposes is the indifference. A scandal comes and a scandal goes, and the corruption remains. It rises to the top and sinks to the roots. The air and the water are both polluted. People relate to the underworld of government as if it were a superpower, a Category 5 hurricane. But people normally run from a hurricane, while we are swept along by ours. Sometimes one gets the impression that more and more good citizens are coming to the conclusion that the stables cannot be cleaned out, and therefore it is better to join in and wallow in the morass of straw and dung.

Corruption has become a nationwide plague, and at the moment there is no cure. We see the helplessness of the "doctors" in the Justice Ministry and the police on a daily basis. The state lies sick before them and they are impotent. People who refuse to accept this situation still phone in sometimes. They demand a fight, they insist on an investigation, an appeal must be made to the attorney general, we must not give in. The truth is that there is no one to turn to, and the continuous appeals are no less pathetic than the newspaper exposes themselves. Our succor will not come from the law enforcement agencies.

The purpose of this article is not to give voice to yet another pious and sterile lamentation about the fate of the rotten country, which is also a country lost. Its purpose is to shuffle the rules and turn things upside down. According to the normal rules, public officials are not allowed to complain against the public, which is the sovereign - what it says, goes. And because the politicians know this, they kiss up to the public.

Public officials can be replaced, as is known, while the public cannot. Elected officials who change the rules and instead of taking criticism lying down, suddenly throw it in the face of their voters, are clearly desperate, lost elected officials. They are public officials who have nothing to lose but their accusations.

Yes, this accusation of corruption is directed less at public servants who abuse their mission, and more at those who dispatched them on that mission. It is directed at those who sigh heavily at the broken nation and make do with that sigh, which sometimes sounds less like a sigh of protest and more like a sigh of relief. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to gripe together. We gripe and let off steam, but the train of trash continues to thunder on. It is so cheap and so easy to blame those at the top rather than to take personal responsibility and make political decisions. The public knows who is corrupt and who is not. It knows each one, and each one's bad deeds. It is simpler to count clean hands in the cabinet, there are so few, than dirty ones.

The surveys that appear in the papers alongside the exposes show that those who were are those who will be; they will be back in the next Knesset, everyone together or each one separately, stronger than ever. How many times must it be said that politicians understand one language, the language of the ballot? Sighs and recriminations do not particularly impress them. If most of the public prefers to leave the defiant ministers on the ramparts as guards, let them not be surprised if the rampart falls down some day.

In Friday night living-rooms across the country, the subject of corruption seems to be the hottest topic. But the guests fly off, just like the words. And "thy princes [who are] rebellious and the companions of thieves" (Isaiah 1:23) also breathe easy when they see the words fly out the window just like ballots in the wind, and not like ballots at the voting booth. They are sly, the companions of thieves. And they understand the message: corruption in Israel is not really an issue. One can love bribery and pursue illicit payments, and still be re-elected and rule.

For a change, the finger of blame here is pointed the other way: at the public and not at its leaders. Enough of indifference. Those who roll their eyes in pretense; we have had enough of you. Those who weep and protest against, and then vote in favor; we have had enough of you. Collaborators with the corrupt - we are fed up with you.