As Ehud Barak Stashes Cash in Zurich, Israelis Invest in Their Children

I wonder who else has taken such measures required by the 'situation.' The rest of us have more valuable assets to deposit.

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Ehud Barak at the 49th Conference on Security Policy in Munich, February 3, 2013.Credit: Reuters
Yossi Sarid

The flights departing for Turkey, despite the Israeli government’s warning against all nonessential travel there, are packed. That’s how ephemeral the world’s hostility is. After all, just two years ago, Turkey was out of bounds, an outcast because of its anti-Semitism.

And Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the embodiment of Esau’s hatred for Jacob. Just two years ago, the workers’ committees at Israeli companies vied to be the first to boycott this nauseating leader, casting this scion of the Ottomans to the winds. After all, what’s so bad about a Bulgaria vacation instead?

But since then, everything has changed. O we have returned to you Antalya and your all-inclusive Turkish Mediterranean vacation packages, which have no equal around the world. We have circled the Mediterranean and haven’t found such entertainment spots or buffets. O what sacred and pathetic patriotism that blossoms overnight and then withers. May the people of Israel remember this.

This week I was asked whether I would take advantage of the enticing offer at the end of the summer. No, I thought, and not because of the Turks, but because of the Jews. You don’t go on a vacation to meet the same people somewhere else. And I will have nothing to do with those who act as if our 40 years in the desert had not ended, as if exile were better.

As far as is known, this writer isn’t afflicted by patriotism, though he’s sometimes said to have a deficiency of pride. This column will establish his standing as the last of the patriots, someone who is surprisingly speaking up for those who have been slighted.

Perhaps Culture Minister Miri Regev and Education Minister Naftali Bennett are too busy at their desks, which is why they haven’t been heard from much lately. I will speak on their behalf, so instead of there being no active patriots at the moment, I’ll be one.

The new patriot will speak after learning about former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s bank account abroad, which the government is looking into. “Nonsense” is what Barak’s office told Haaretz about the story.

Nonsense or not, one fact has become clear. Barak maintains a Swiss account, which he says he reports as required by law. If so, everything’s kosher, but does it also smell a bit? Why would an Israeli public figure stash his cash in Zurich rather than in Tel Aviv?

It must be more secure or profitable to have a little or a lot of cash stashed for a rainy day in a distant financial haven. You can sleep easily in the East when you have money in the West.

Just this week, we’ve learned details about earlier decisions to attack Iran, and who knows what ultimately will happen? Minister Yuval Steinitz, who’s known for his independent views, nipped it in the bud. And if it come to pass that, when there befalleth us any war, won’t it be preferable to spread around one’s golden eggs rather than put them in one Israeli basket?

And who better than Barak knows how to identify risks? He’s not only a former prime minister, defense minister and military chief of staff, he’s a sought-after investment adviser. “The higher-ups know,” as they say, and Barak isn’t the only one to know. When they have the chance, they should tell us who else has taken the measures required by the “situation.”

And why only deposit money in Switzerland? Don’t we have more valuable assets to deposit? Don’t we have Israeli children and grandchildren as a risky investment? Why don’t we send them to a safe haven at the right time before all hell breaks loose?

Next time they brainwash you again, relax and remember that the important people will always find a destination to fly to first class — straight to the tranquil Alps — and with no stopover in Istanbul. And those of you who don’t have an account somewhere out there have your Turkish kebab and black tea. Turkey will always be there for you.

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