Election Watch / The Price of Patriotism

Israeli leaders know their people and their increasingly brutish nature. Let's take Eli Yishai as an example. He cares about the weak -- as always -- and indeed Shas sat in most governments that increased the number of poor, but Yishai continues to care about them. This did not deter him from making a bit on the side himself by buying a subsidized apartment on the cheap and selling it for a much fatter price, even though he wasn't eligible for that housing ministry subsidy, as Maariv reported yesterday.

Or take Avigdor Lieberman. Why should he deprive his gifted daughter and why should she suffer, just because daddy is an important man? Or Ruhama Avraham Balila, who as tourism minister travels overseas as part of her job. So why look through her things, why be petty and find two or three smuggled whiskey bottles?

Or Abraham Hirchson, who had an aunt in Italy who sent him money? Olmert put him in charge of the treasury but the minister looked after the petty cash box. After all, it's the prime minister's prerogative to appoint a man who speaks the same language as he does.

These examples, from the last few days alone, prove that Israel's leaders, like its people, are all patriots. They love the state and won't let anyone harm it.

We'll teach Tayyip Erdogan, that Israel hater, a lesson: Hit the Turks where it hurts -- in their pockets. But wait, they're offering hotel deals for almost nothing. Suddenly all the flights are full and all the rooms are taken. Let that be our revenge on the goyim -- a holiday at their expense.

So how much is Israeli patriotism worth? NIS 100-200, no more. For that price we'll overcome our fears. If that's what the public is like, what can we expect of its leaders?