Feature

Israel: Money has corrupted the state

“Jewish money has corrupted a generation of leaders of the Jewish state.”

Anshel PfefferHa’aretz

“Jewish money has corrupted a generation of leaders of the Jewish state,” said Anshel Pfeffer. The conviction last week of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who took $140,000 in bribes from real estate developers while mayor of Jerusalem, should serve as a wake-up call to the country. How did Olmert, who had a “spartan childhood” and high ideals, become “a man with a $300-a-day cigar habit, the most valuable fountain pen collection in the country, and a predilection for first-class air travel?” He’s not the only one with expensive tastes. Just look at the lavish lifestyles of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet, most of whom were raised at a time when austerity was a necessity and a virtue. “It’s hard to locate the point where they gave in.” Over the years, exposed to the wealth of relatives who went to America, our lawmakers began to accept personal loans from Diaspora tycoons. Even the Jerusalem apartment complex that caused Olmert’s downfall was “the result of the shopping spree by Diaspora Jews” who wanted second homes in Israel. Jews who live abroad have been generous to Israel, and we have benefited. But we shouldn’t forget that “corruption occurs wherever politicians and easy money mix.”

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