I always read with disbelief the annual international corruption perception index, which puts Israel at the lower end of the developed world but still ahead of many European countries. In the last index, Israel ranked 39th place against Italy’s 72nd.
Whose perception? Israelis certainly regard their country as corrupt: 73 per cent believe “government agencies are motivated either entirely or in large part by a small group of parties with ulterior motives”.
The local elections, whose results were announced early this morning, are a good measure too. Many of Israel’s cities have mayors who have been in charge for two decades or longer, a sure recipe for corruption.
But we don’t just have to speculate. In recent days, Israel’s courts have forced the removal from office of three city mayors running for re-electon who have recently been indicted on serious corruption charges. They include Shimon Gapso, mayor of our Judaisation twin, Upper Nazareth.
Amazingly, even though they have been indicted, and the courts have ruled that they must not serve in office, all three were re-elected with strong majorities by their voters.
It seems to me that corruption is so endemic to life in Israel – from the occupation, from the theft of refugee property inside Israel, from the apartheid-like ethnic discrimination, from the state-sanctioned racism, from the jobs-for-the-Jews economy, from the sky-high military pensions for the career enforcers of the occupation, from the lie-to-the-goyim hasbara industry – that it has simply become the background noise to most people’s lives.
It is the extent of the corruption, and the expectation of it in Israel, particularly among the Jewish population, that makes it seem rational to re-elect a mayor banned from office by the courts after being charged with acts of moral turpitude. Because, after all, the system is designed to benefit – to a greater or lesser extent – all Jews. That is the meaning of a Jewish, and Judaising, state.
And what about those international perceptions? I guess the hasbara hasn’t been totally ineffective.