The Axis of Social Evil

The rights of the weak must not be trampled underfoot at the very same time the rights of the powerful are sanctified. Those who did so over the past few months to the local authority workers committed an indecent act.

The story of the withheld local authority salaries seems simple enough. Black and white. Good against evil. After all, when the heartless Finance Ministry cigar-chompers for months stood up against the salary-deprived destitute workers of Rosh Haayin, the picture couldn't be clearer.

When the unfeeling arrogance of the interior minister was pitted against against the broken, penniless Lod municipal workers, everything was clear.

And when senior officials from Jerusalem tried to explain in professional, polished terms why salaried workers should not be paid their honestly-earned salaries, they sounded almost like those engineers from the Technion who sat down and produced a professional and polished plan for a nation-wide pipeline to channel blood.

On first glance, Benjamin Netanyahu, Avraham Poraz, and Yuval Rachlevsky were the very picture of the moral darkness that has descended on Israel in recent years.

They represent an axis of evil that has transformed Israel over the past decade into a country of injustice and heartlessness controled by a capitalist ethos run wild, cruel and despicable.

At second glance, the story of salaries withheld seems far more complex. Not black and white, but gray. Not good or evil, but a serial failure of systems. At the heart of the story was the fact that for many long years the central government transfered powers to the local level without arranging for their financing.

At the same time, a good portion of local government fell into the hands of politicians, some of whom were corrupt and others irresponsible.

The ability of the central government to monitor local government was impaired during those years because in the era of primaries a new party structure put unprecedented power into the hands of good-for-nothings. The result was reckless administration at the local level.

The banks financed this reckless administration in a manner no less reckless. However, when the moment of truth came, when local government actually went bankrupt, the reckless banks refused to accept responsibility and pay the price of the fiasco that they themselves had created.

So the central government found itself in a trap. It had to deal with the crisis created by failed council heads and unbridled bankers.

However instead of the public attacking those mayors and bankers, it attacked the central government. It pointed a finger at Netanyahu, Poraz and Rachlevsky, who had not caused the crisis and had actually attempted to deal with it.

Still, a third, broader look at the crisis reveals that it truly had a simple and clear-cut dimension. When the behavior of Netanyahu-Poraz-Rachlevsky during the period of the affair is examined in retrospect, these three knights of economic liberalism turn out to be culpable.

The decisions they made as they dealt with the collapse of the local authorities was scandalous. The policy they piloted, which was clearly immoral, crushed human rights underfoot.

To illustrate the serious moral failing of Netanyahu-Poraz-Rachlevsky, the following example may be used.

The corruption of the local government not only made itself felt in the distribution of huge salaries to associates of one kind. It also came to the fore in the huge distribution of construction rights to associates of another kind.

The local government deficits might conceivably have been dealt with by taking control of private assets constructed against the law. Corrupt real estate should have been taken before the salaries of devoted workers.

But such an arbitrary act would rightfully be considered insane, an act of exploitation. Because in the Israel of the third millennium, the Israel of the Netanyahu-Poraz-Rachlevsky axis, possession by a corrupt contractor is a sacred right. This is not so regarding to the right of honest poor workers to their earned pay.

Let us not be confused. The local government in Israel must be made more efficient, money must be saved, stables cleaned out. Workers must even be dismissed - lots of workers. However, as was made clear by the wise ruling of the National Labor Court, an entire group of workers must not be subjected to a policy of collective punishment.

The rights of the weak must not be trampled underfoot at the very same time the rights of the powerful are sanctified. Those who did so over the past few months to the local authority workers committed an indecent act. Those who continue to do so with regard to a whole range of economic issues, threaten to turn Israel into Sodom - a morally evil land.