1. Prima Facie Again
This is it. Even the police are suspicious now. Finally. His guilt has not been proven conclusively, and an indictment has not yet been served. But it is no longer a matter for several reporters and politicians and evil-minded people, but rather the arm that investigates the rule of law has cast suspicion upon the prime minister. It has found prima facie evidence that Ariel Sharon received bribes in the amount of USD 3 million, and it connects it to the family of Martin Schlaff, who has stopped visiting Israel and also sold his villa in Herzliya, but whose brother James visited here a week ago, and that is only the beginning of the end. As of now, everything is “prima facie” and “as yet unproven,” and “understanding” and “criminal intent” are necessary, but who will believe that so many events occurred by chance? The chance that Sharon did not know and/or did not hear and/or did not mean it are close to nil. “Will two walk together, except they have agreed?” [Amos 3:3] Sharon and Schlaff. Sharon and Cyril Kern. Sharon and Sharon number two.
Sharon and Sharon number three.
But nothing will help. Those of the “etrog” persuasion will mobilize for battle. They will stand up to defend him. For the sake of policy. For the sake of security. For the sake of stability on the stock market.
They do not care about the corruption. Purity of thought and innocence are far from them. They look down on those who fight corruption, presenting them as just a bunch of obsessive people. They are the heralds of “the laws of the king” as it is brilliantly described in the Book of Samuel [1 Samuel 8:10-18]. Arik is suspected of corruption? Is he suspected more now than he was before? No worries-Kadima will go up another seat in the polls.
2. The Sins of Omri
Omri Sharon, who resigned from the Knesset yesterday, was a romantic who pursued scattered flowers on country paths until he sinned a bit, and afterwards sinned a great deal by committing perjury and false registry of corporate documents, and as the years went by intensified the plague of corruption by taking over institutions, jobs and budgets for the sake of the politics of Shikmim Farm and those who frequented it, and even sinned by agreeing to be sacrificed in his father’s stead upon the altar of the remnants of the rule of law in order to continue to hold power.
His father, Ariel Sharon, who has founding shares and perpetual rights in fortifying national security and in the grand process of reducing Israel’s control over another people, unblinkingly foiled every bill for the cleansing of political and public life, emerging from the criminal investigations by the skin of his teeth. I do not believe that corruption’s free-for-all at Shikmim Farm will stop even now, with the exposure of the Schlaff document. Two days after Omri, who was convicted of criminal activity, announced his resignation from the Knesset, his father will enter the hospital for a procedure that we all hope will be successful and grant him good health for many more years. But for several hours he will be in the most foreign place of all to him, in the loss of self-control that stems from invasive medical intervention. And yes, Israeli reality creates in 48 hours an existence with which no modern author’s imagination can compete.
3. The Likud Needs an Angioplasty
A citizen wakes up in the morning and realizes that the Likud Central Committee is not the leading brand of corruption of the formerly glorious party. The Central Committee is only a secondary interest. The ministers are the brand name. They know that the large party cannot fight over the leadership of the country from inside the government. That is unethical. Inefficient. Not credible. But they sold their souls for their seats, and even though they know that being in the government will damage their party, they are incapable of giving them up. In exchange for three more months they are willing to sabotage their political struggle during an election period. They have forgone their honor. Without the title of minister they go into withdrawal, to the point where they fight a losing battle with Binyamin Netanyahu over the matter. Like those who have lost their self-respect and harass passersby downtown for cash to buy drugs. In sight of everyone.
Netanyahu, too, should realize that what he did to cleanse the Central Committee of criminals is not enough to restore his party’s honor. The Likud needs an angioplasty in order to locate the blockages in its political arteries. It is impossible to lead an opposition with such a team. Its members suffer from a terrible disease-ministerial addicts’ syndrome.
This ran in Maariv on January 4th, 2006