Trying the Third Time

What happened to the Israeli dream? It shattered. Is it still possible to collect the broken shards and put them back together? Maybe, but not for sure.

What happened to the Israeli dream? It shattered. Is it still possible to collect the broken shards and put them back together? Maybe, but not for sure. Without a dream, they continue to exist, but the reason for their existence is gone.

Had the framers of Zionism and the founding fathers seen in their mind's eye their creation in its current form, one doubts whether the State of Israel would have even been founded. They did not intend to establish another Levantine state; it fits in well with the region, but does so due to its most repulsive aspect.

A people does not return to its land after 2,000 years of exile - and in such unique circumstances - only to lay the foundations of an enterprise that is dehumanizing. Political Zionism never drove its wheels by the power of pushing alone, but rather, and mainly, by its power of attraction. And now the power of attraction has failed, Jews reside safely and securely in their Diasporas and are no longer being pushed. Israel is stuck on a sandbar without wind in its sails.

Did anybody have to wait for the statistics released this month by the World Bank to know the plain truth about the state of the nation? And if anyone did not know, or did not want to know, now he does. The World Bank is not just another embittered opposition group that always sees a black cloud. It is knowledgeable and experienced and does not pull made-up findings out of its sleeve.

The World Bank, based on the institution's rich experience in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and on its expertise in banana, coffee and cocoa republics, stated that our own Israel is the most problem-ridden state on the developed side of the planet. According to the bank's comparative report, Israel is seen as one of the most dangerous states in the Western world, and apparently the most dangerous of them all, and not necessarily because of its enemies without. The enemy is within.

According to the "Government Efficiency Index," Israel is in a deep pit: The average index of developed states is 89.7 percent, while our grade is 80.8 percent. The average "Law Enforcement Index," is 90.3 percent, our grade is 74.4 percent; the average "Political Stability Index" is 83.5 percent, while we make due with 15 percent. The "Government Corruption Index," drives the last nail into the coffin of the Zionist enterprise. The grade given to us - 80.8 percent, which compares with the average index of 91.4 percent - places us only behind Italy, still famous for its corruption, which leads the rankings with 74.9 percent.

The World Bank did not study any other indexes, but we know the truth, based on local official reports: Israel has grabbed first place in the West in the gap between rich and poor, and first place in the percentage of children living in poverty - one of every three. For all the abundance of disengagement, of which we have already had our fill, Israel is disengaging from itself, from its vision, and has no time to spare to look in the mirror. It would have a hard time making out its own features. Thus, the people of Israel are fulfilling the 2,000-year-old dream in having built an unstable, inefficient, discriminatory, non-law abiding, irresponsible and - above-all - corrupt state.

This should come as no great surprise. Herzl himself was very fearful, as were Ahad Ha'am and Nordau and Wolfson and later Brenner, too, that things might not turn out well. They knew the soul of their nation and its history, and they had reason to worry. "Jewish genius" does not have a good name when it comes to governing a politically sovereign state. This nation is better adapted to ephemeral pursuits than to statesmanship. When we tried, twice, to maintain the commonwealth, it ended very badly. Now we are trying a third time, and it doesn't look good.

Will we succeed in making a fresh start before the calamity begins? The brain route has not proved itself, nor has the heart route. Perhaps through the pocketbook route, and excuse me for the anti-Semitic nuance. If this World Bank report deters investors and if it takes the air out of our bloated stock exchange, stocks will plummet, bank accounts will shrink and unemployment will strike not only at the downtrodden but also at the contented classes. Perhaps then we will come to our senses and save ourselves from another destruction.

Until then, the Promised Land in which all hopes are fulfilled will seem to be one that was renewed not in Zion, but in a metaphoric Uganda. And the America of Bush and Cheney will continue to be "America," the main benefactor from the big meal served up by the kitchen of the starved and exploited Third World.