Taking Stock / Dichter, One of a Kind

We've had just about every possible type.

We've had corrupt ministers, and ministers who were charlatans or fools. We've had ministers who were thieves, opportunistic, egomaniacs, narcissists, bone-idle, spineless, and mainly, we've had an abundance of hypocrites. We've even had (believe it or not) a finance minister who controlled the public kitty for more than a year until his indictment for stealing from the public during a former position.

A phenomenon like Avi Dichter, public security minister, is something new even for us; a minister who gets up one morning and spits in the public's face, a minister who deliberately destroys the moral infrastructure of the system he heads.

Israelis know the weaknesses of their government: the short-term view, the opportunism, the cronyism, the cowardice, the lack of equal opportunity. But they still truly expect that the people responsible for enforcing the law do so equally for all, not exempting their associates.

And along comes Dichter, former head of the Shin Bet security service, an esteemed general who parachuted straight from the armed forces into government, and tells the public: If it were up to me, I'd create a new caste of people under the law, over whom the law should pass. Or under them, whatever, as long as it doesn't hit them.

The police and people get his message loud and clear: Dichter thinks that when really important people are at stake, the law shouldn't apply.

How can we tell if a person is important enough to be spared investigation? Dichter explains that these are people bearing tremendous responsibility, who shouldn't be distracted by investigators. People who determine the fate of others, who decide on wars, who affect our lives, health and future. These are the people who should be spared the nuisance of investigation if they stole, cheated, manipulated and so on.

Late last week Dichter hastened to clarify that he hadn't meant the incumbent prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who's involved in several criminal investigations, lest anybody suspect that he was motivated by the desire to keep Kadima (and himself) in power. No, no, no: He thinks that investigations into public figures in general should be "frozen".

He didn't list which public persons should have a personal freezer in their Volvo or Mercedes. Let us help him clarify his message:

? Suspend investigations into anybody with more than $5 million, liquid, in the bank.

? Suspend investigations into anybody who hires top criminal lawyers (see Appendix X). They'll do the job anyway.

? Suspend investigations into anybody who controls more than NIS 1 billion of public money.

? Suspend investigations into anybody with at least three or four friends in government, the Knesset or the Labor Party central committee.

? Suspend investigations into anybody with a non-contributory pension costing taxpayers more than a million dollars, as long as his friends got him as sweetheart government office building within 24 hours from his discharge.

? Suspend investigations into anybody with friends so ungrateful to the person who appointed them, who cling to power so fiercely that they'd even scandalously suggest suspending investigations into incumbent public officials.