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“Not Leftist, not Rightist, but Honest”

“Not Leftist, not Rightist, but Honest”

The Honourable Joe Volpe, Publisher
 
TORONTO – Ha’Aratz is a secular Israeli, Jewish newspaper. For several months it has been taking a special interest in a growing popular movement to hold the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi, as he is commonly known), to account not only for his political programs, but for his ethics – or lack thereof.
A headline of December 10 is almost self-explanatory: Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest Against Netanyahu in Second March Of Shame. In a country where the first question is always “motivation?” or “cui bono?” such public manifestation of discontent is bound to raise eyebrows even among the most jaded. 
Israeli politics is not for those weak of heart. Rough and tumble Italian politics pale in comparison. And, bland Canadian politics take on the aura of a Girl Guide/Boy Scout movement when compared to the no holds barred Israeli political theatre.
A culture of corruption and bribery seems to underlie all aspects of the political class. Imaginable, one guesses, in an environment where government procurement in military expenditures comprises some 22% of the annual budget. 
The military, in any country, have rarely distinguished themselves for judicious management of public funds.
Similar temptations lurk(ed) around government policies regarding “the Settlements” – arguably the biggest construction project in the Middle East outside the sheikdoms of lavish spending and extravagance. 
In such an environment, “gifts” tend to become “fees for access”.
Almost everything can (and is) be justified by the issue of “security”, or some other “external “threat”. 
Allegations and accusations of misconduct and downright abuse nearly always take on a partisan hue. But what are citizens to do? It’s not as if Israel lacked hard-knuckled, public-service- oriented, honest leaders.
They take to the streets, go to the courts or try to change the political class (Italians can tell them a thing or two about the patience required for that).
Sometimes it works. Former President Moshe Katsav was tried and convicted of rape and other sexual assaults while in office. 
He was released in 2016, after serving a five-year term in jail. When a “scoundrel” is constantly “draped in a flag” it is a little more difficult. Bibi’s wife has been convicted of abuse and corruption. Upon appeal, superior courts upheld the conviction. Investigators turned their attention directly onto Netanyahu on two high-profile corruption scandals. 
Bibi countered with legislation designed to “prevent the police from publicizing recommendations on indictments”, according to Ha’aratz. One of those allegations appears to have involved a negotiated deal with a newspaper owner for more favourable coverage. 
So poisoned is the environment, that even the latest violent clashes in Gaza are attributed by Bibi’s enemies to machinations on his part to “heat up the turf” in order to divert attention from the corruption scandals that threaten to end his career. 
It is quite an allegation to suggest that Trump would make the decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem knowing that Palestinians would erupt in anger, forcing Israelis to turn back to the modern day King David.
The Donald and Bibi are friends. So are the Kushners with Netanyahu. Kushner is Trump’s son in law.
 
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