Likud Must Pay for Its Criminal Culture

The ruling party's rap sheet is too long to be tolerated any longer.

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Former President Moshe Katzav leaving Maasiyahu prison. September 9, 2013.Credit: Moti Milrod

You have to go through the list of crimes and criminal suspicions one by one to understand. This is the Likud leadership that arose from the occupation. It grew up under prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir and took control under current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the incitement-filled demonstrations that led to the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

President Moshe Katsav was convicted of rape and jailed for years; Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson was convicted of embezzling millions as the head of the Leumit labor federation, and now we have Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was convicted of accepting bribes as the Likud mayor of Jerusalem. And that’s just the beginning. Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai was convicted of sexual assault, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son Omri, a Likud MK, was convicted of fraud relating to his father’s 1999 party leadership campaign and essentially sat in jail for his father. Only the prime minister’s coma prevented him from standing trial for a series of alleged crimes, all committed when he was in Likud.

Justice and Public Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi was convicted of illegal political appointments while in Likud and was forced out of the Knesset. He had been in and out of legal trouble from the beginning of his career, since he was convicted and given a suspended sentence for leading attacks on Arab students with bicycle chains at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a member of the Likud student organization. Current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was one of Hanegbi’s student activists, was later convicted of assaulting a minor. In the major case against him, which alleged fraud and money-laundering but was later dropped for lack of evidence, the prosecutor noted with bewilderment that one witness had disappeared and another had committed suicide with two shots to the head.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, another member of Hanegbi’s bicycle-chain gang, was kicked out of Hebrew University at the time and punished for his role in the attacks. Moshe Feiglin was convicted of sedition. Finance Minister Silvan Shalom was questioned about a series of alleged sex crimes in which he exploited his authority. It could be that the statute of limitations and the fear of media humiliation on the part of the two women who came forward — but not to the police — will keep him out of the dock for now.

And above all we have Netanyahu, who orchestrated demonstrations under the slogan “In blood and fire we will expel Rabin,” following which the prime minister was murdered. The police later recommended prosecuting Netanyahu in the Bar-On-Hebron affair, in which he allegedly appointed Roni Bar-On attorney general to help release Shas leader Aryeh Deri from jail in return for Shas’ support for the pullout from Hebron; and in the Amedi affair, in which contractor Avner Amedi allegedly performed work for the Netanyahus without billing them, in exchange for occasional favors. Meanwhile, the appointment of Netanyahu's personal attorney as attorney general; an appointment in the home of the state comptroller, and his convicted partner Lieberman’s hold on the police — seem to be delaying, for now, justice being served in a number of investigations against him for the alleged misuse of public funds.

The simple truth is: This is the Likud of the occupation. Israel is being governed by a crime-infested party.

The three ministers who didn’t fit the mold — Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan — were dumped by Likud for that very reason. Begin is seen as a right-winger, but his integrity and commitment to democracy and the law doomed him. He was too bothersome for such a criminal party.

This incredible phenomenon is rooted in two sources. One is the growth of the criminal leadership together with the unrestrained settlement rampage during the 1980s, when the criminal became the norm. The second is the “history” that was made when the man who led the incitement against the prime minister immediately succeeded the victim, entering his home and his bed. Such a biblical, Shakespearean development — in which the basic principle of crime and punishment is inverted — will always have horrific consequences. It turned Israel into a country governed by a criminal party.

It was not for this that the Jewish people dreamed of independence for 2,000 years. It was not for this that a state was established by the skin of our teeth after the Holocaust. Anybody within the system or outside it, such as dissenters Shin Bet security service head Yuval Diskin, minister Moshe Kahlon and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, has to understand that the national mission is to rescue Israel from this Likud's conquest. Every patriot must enlist in the mission of removing this criminal party.

Any party or person who understands that they must not cooperate with the Likud is worthy, as is anyone who understands that there’s no point in continuing this fraudulent “process” whose criminal logic aims to destroy the prospects of peace and enable the cost-free occupation to continue. There must be full mobilization to create an alternative, a mobilization that must begin with the Labor party. We’ve had enough attempts at leadership by centrist parties that merely serve the Likud’s criminality. The criminal party’s government must be brought down, and its culture erased.

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