Floating Voter / The sting and the honey
Over the past year, a new star has risen in the skies of Israel. He was at first glance a pleasant man, but then he appeared on television and pointed an accusing finger at the Israel Police. The finger pointed toward the detectives who interrogated him and to one in particular, whose name was not mentioned but whose ethnic identity was. Yes, the detective, like the star, was from Russia. Then the lord of the mansion explained, in broken but unambiguous English, that the detectives should watch out and not get involved with him if they didn't want him to get involved with them. It was definitely an offer they couldn't refuse.
Arcadi Gaydamak is unwilling to be interrogated, unwilling for his investigation to continue, and rejects any possibility of being indicted. He won't even consider it. He does not understand why they are picking on him, a good citizen, a do-gooder even, who does nothing except earn blessings. He is being put through the wringer merely because he laundered money. I am not a lawyer, which confers me certain benefits that I will use to ask: If money is not dirty, why does it need to be laundered? The police have their reasons.
We are a country of ingrates: Has Gaydamak not donated here and contributed there, partly in secret but mainly in public? Does he not spend time with the country's leaders, from mayors to ministers to the prime minister himself? Don't all the fans of Betar Jerusalem (soccer) and Hapoel Jerusalem (basketball) support him? Was he not paraded through the streets of Jerusalem like Mordechai through the streets of Shushan, because this is what is done to the oligarch whom Ehud Olmert and Uri Lupolianski wish to honor?
In France Gaydamak was wanted for shady arms deals in Africa, but everyone knows the French are just incorrigible anti-Semites. Who would have imagined that anti-Semites would make it into the ranks of the Israel Police detective squad? There is nothing more disgusting or enraging than self-hating Jews, and it is Gaydamak's right - obligation, even - to be enraged, to warn and to declare: He has definitively decided to hand the Jewish state back to its owners, those warm-hearted and hot-headed Jews, because in his opinion Israel is not the last refuge of a crook; sometimes it is the first one.
Gaydamak did not invent this patriotic strategy himself, he learned it from someone. Avigdor (Yvette) Lieberman, for whom the election pollsters are predicting a bright future, once claimed that he was being pursued because he was Russian and that his claims would continue to be heard until he was appointed minister of public security and could take care of those Moshe Mizrahim [Moshe Mizrahi is the former head of the police investigations division] in an appropriate manner. Did Lieberman study the tricks of Aryeh Deri, or vice versa - Deri from Lieberman, who can remember? Shlomo Benizri recently joined their club, claiming that he was being screwed over only because he is Moroccan. Associates of Omri Sharon hinted that he was paying not his own bill, but that of his father, arguing that had he not been the son of the prime minister he would not have been convicted. Only poor little Naomi Blumenthal has nothing to say on this point.
Gaydamak will continue trying to frighten the policemen in Jerusalem's Russian Compound and to buy off the fans at Teddy Stadium. Has he concluded that every Israeli has his price? Is he wrong about us? Are we wrong about him?
In the meantime he is not going anywhere: He has no other country and nowhere else to go. He is stuck here, with us, because no other self-respecting country would put so much honey into its "sting."
One day before the elections, this must be said: The Ministry of Public Security is a key ministry now, no less important than the Defense Ministry. The corruption that floats to the very top and sinks to the roots is a bigger threat to Israel than any enemy outside. Who will be given the key? For my part, let it be a "Moroccan" or a "Russian," anyone so long as he doesn't have a hard time getting through the door of police headquarters because of the coffers dragging behind.
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