Weekend's End / The Bastards Changed the Rules

Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein's statement denouncing the Sharon family's silence in the police investigations of its affairs, was described over the weekend as "unprecedentedly sharp," "harsh," "blatant and severe."

This just goes to show that everything is relative - even a sneeze would be considered an unequivocal bombshell of a statement coming from the layers of verbal whitewash and foggy phraseology with which Rubinstein enveloped himself. Indeed, his statement over the weekend was devoid of his usual modifications, qualifications and reservations, which renders it a veritable samurai sword sweep.

Now it is no longer clear how Sharon will get out of this situation (unless the A.G. meanwhile publishes a reservation about his own words. Meanwhile, the affairs of Sharon and his family are gradually gathering critical mass, threatening to swallow, like a black hole, all his acts and projects in other fields - the fence, the process, the hudna, Condoleezza, Weisglass' flights, the yellowing maps, the tricks, the manipulations, the flanking, the appointments, the delays, the economy, foreign relations, the occupation, the prisoners, "the insistence that every iota of implementing the agreements is kept"...Is it possible that this entire great universe will collapse and ultimately be swallowed up at the opening of some small-town police station? In the district of the dilapidated files, the cracked aluminum and glass door and the sweat stains in the policeman's armpits - where so many careers and matters have ended in these parts? It seems that even Sharon's most outspoken ideological opponents (if any are left, since he has been so misleading about where he stands) regard this chance with a certain reluctance, for sure without that yearning with which many of them anticipated the downfall of his predecessors.

Sharon has simply worn out everything around him. Nobody has the strength left to topple him. Especially when you think of his substitutes. With all his failures - his removal will seem like a sudden pulling of a large, soft pillow from under our head. One way or another, in the era of "Sharon and Sons, Ltd." transports, appointments and odd jobs" - it seems the phrase attributed to President Nixon's vice president, Spiro Agnew, who claimed he was accused of corruption only because "the bastards changed the rules" and didn't tell him, can be said in reverse.

Yes, here too "the bastards" did it, but the "bastards" are not the law keepers and guardians of morality and proper conduct, but Sharon and co. and many of the Likud faction around them. And the change is not in a tightening of the screws and a strengthening of the norms but the opposite: in loosening the ethical screws, releasing the prohibitions and removing the moral inhibitions. If until recently we thought political nepotism a repulsive practice, which should be denounced; if we thought the prime minister should also be a moral paragon; if we believed that public figures keeping mum in police interrogation is insufferable; if we believed until a few days ago that world-scale foreign affairs scams cannot be associated with leaders' personal legal conduct; if we thought that forging votes, shady appointments and economic decisions based on personal illicit gains are deplorable, if not criminal - today we are beginning to understand: the bastards changed the rules without telling us.