It's a well-known fact that in Israel, every problem has a specialist - "the brain," "experienced," "the only person able to handle the problem." If the subject is Palestinian terrorism, a chorus will immediately sound: "The only person who can handle this difficult time is [Likud leader Benjamin] Netanyahu." Such a specialist can be found in every arena but one - local organized crime. The unbridled blight of violence that has surfaced in recent years is bereft of its own poster boy with a catchy, popular name who is recognized as the "number one specialist." Nor is there a magical solution to the problem of organized crime.
Organized crime has far-reaching objectives - which extend far beyond the horrific, headline-grabbing shooting incidents in Bat Yam and Netanya, which captured the public's eye in recent months, or for that matter the murder of attorney Yoram Hacham in the heart of Tel Aviv - and violence is merely a means to achieve them. Readers of the book "Gomorrah," by Italian author Roberto Saviano, which delves into the methods of organized crime in Naples, are presented with a horrifying, heart-stopping portrait of an organization whose tentacles reach into every corner of local and national life.
Anyone who believes that the rising tide of local organized crime is a story of wild gun fights in Bat Yam and Netanya misunderstands the danger it poses within Israel. The story of organized crime in Naples and anywhere in the world is the story of how a region or an entire nation falls into the hands of an organization that is almost as strong as the state and whose motivation resembles that of corporations and governments - to control everything, at all times.
One should not conclude that Israeli organized crime is at a similar stage in its evolution, but the near unfathomable destructive potential of such organizations, which exercise a stranglehold over the nation, must be grasped. This is not a matter of sensational headlines or melodramas that hide a larger, convoluted picture, but a strategic challenge.
Before the monster of organized crime undermines the state's economic and social foundations, future governments must make an uncompromising commitment to place the fight against this strategic danger at the top of their agendas, allocating corresponding budgets and efforts. This is no time for empty, belligerent sloganeering in media headlines. This is a true national emergency, a moment before such a reality becomes irreversible. It's no job for a magician, but for a government. The next government.
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