What Else Can This Country Give Them?

The quoting of Omri Sharon's recorded nonsense about the Greek island affair raised an uproar because he said in the interview on Army Radio last week, "If it succeeds there will be enough money to pay all of us."

The quoting of Omri Sharon's recorded nonsense about the Greek island affair raised an uproar because he said in the interview on Army Radio last week, "If it succeeds there will be enough money to pay all of us." The ending, which is more interesting, was forgotten. Sharon said that if the deal succeeded, there would be enough "to pay all of us and to get away from here." It is unclear who "all of us" are, but it is certainly clear that he is entertaining the idea of getting away.

The importance of the younger Sharon's fantasy world is that it represents the mood among many rich people's children, who have enjoyed the fat of this land. Grown children whose parents blazed an easy trail for them - for economic security, status and connections. Now it is they, regardless of their political views (if they even bothered to develop serious political opinions) who unceasingly threaten those around them with the possibility that they are about to "get away from here."

They do not always go. They usually don't have to. In any case, they are not really "here." They may study here at a university and be accepted into a law firm or for a job at a company owned by Daddy or arranged by Daddy, but they go "there" to have fun, invest in real estate "there," and have a greater sense of belonging "there" than "here."

So why don't they leave, once and for all? Because their whole existence "there" is a capricious and defiant threat. No "there" will let them do what they do "here," the place they are so contemptuous of, that gave them such extravagant abundance.

Businessman Sami Shamoon, for example, told Haaretz during an interview for the year's end economic supplement that he is sick of Israeli bureaucracy. Anyone unfamiliar with his biography might think that he stood in line for years at the Land Registration office or in the crowded queue at the Population Registry office in Netanya, or at the even more crowded and humiliating one in East Jerusalem.

Perhaps he encountered the inflexibility of some clerk at the Employment Service. No. Before purchasing Yakhin-Hakal, Shamoon met with Ariel Sharon, who was at that time the housing minister and was in charge of the Israel Lands Administration (ILA). Shamoon received Sharon's assurance that all the company's lands would be leased to him for at least 98 years.

Which bureaucracy, then, is Shamoon sick of? That he had to wait no less than three months for an answer from minister Ehud Olmert regarding Yakhin's rights in its dispute with the ILA? Shamoon denies that he acquired the company in order to turn the land it owned into real estate that would yield him a fortune, and insists that he actually wanted to grow lychees, but that the water restrictions are what broke him. Even if one tries very hard to accept his story, it is hard to identify with his breathless expectation for an answer from Olmert when farmers in the moshavim in Beit She'an or the northern border area, immigrants from the 1950s and 1960s, stand idly beside their empty chicken coops and greenhouses and hardly recognize the clerk who pays them their monthly pensions.

Although Shamoon has enough money to be "there," in London, it is unclear why he - like Shari Arison, who left for personal reasons - feels obliged to slander "here" from "there," when Israel gave him the red carpet treatment and will continue to do so as long as the connection between politics and capital exists.

All the rest, the ones who are still "here," but are constantly threatening to go "there," will certainly be here a lot longer. After all, this devoted country can give them so much more. Those who are constantly threatening to leave, declaring that they are "packing their suitcases," are sure that London is waiting for them. In their eyes, Tel Aviv is not real, because the culture and the society that have developed here do not interest them beyond what these can provide them.

And since they are not connected to the local roots, it is clear that even their "there" is imaginary. Let them leave. Let's see which minister will be waiting for them there and promise them a 98-year lease.