Corruption and Occupation

Ehud Olmert's announcement that he will resign in September is merely a symptom of wider ethical decay in Israel. The proliferation of corruption can be traced in part to the impact of Israelis' unacceptable behavior in the occupied territories on Israel itself.

TEL AVIV – Police investigations, commissions of inquiry examining the errors committed during the Lebanon war of 2006, repugnance at former President Moshe Katsav’s alleged sex crimes, and now Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s announcement that, with charges of corruption swirling about him, he will resign in September: all of this suggests profound wounds in Israel’s moral tissue.

Old Israelis like myself are stupefied by the scope and scale of today’s corruption and the multiplying investigations. Is corruption something that has always existed here but was somehow hidden until now? Are we learning of it because our prosecutor and police are bolder and better equipped nowadays?

I do not believe that corruption is coming to light just because law enforcement is somehow better, or because citizens, like the presidential staff who accused President Katsav of sexual crimes and harassment, are more courageous. What is coming to light is a much deeper evil, a loss of values within Israeli society and its government, such as never existed before.

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