Corrosive Corruption

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10 Responses

  1. chaim says:

    if i understand correctly the gist of this article,it is that somehow because of the fact that israel developed into a predominantly secular state ,therefore it was inevitable that its leaders and people became corrupt
    i have to disagree ,and let me ask you a simple question,what do you think is the percentage of frum and chareidi jews in israel that do not cheat on their taxes?
    by the way i am chareidi,but we have to be truthfull even with ourselves

  2. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Israel is not a banana republic, it is a banana peel republic. It is not merely a police state but a police state run by the Keystone Cops. The depth of the tragicomedy is as deep as the misguided Jewish soul. Those who fail to learn from history (and Torah) are doomed to repeat it, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Let us get our act together so that we can have some good laughs instead of bad ones.

  3. Dov Kay says:

    I am not a secular Zionist, but I do not recall that secular Zionism ever magnified the virtue of graft. So what does graft have to do with care-free, bronzed pioneers, and why blame them? On the contrary, Herzl and Ben Gurion would no doubt be disgusted with contemporary corruption as a betrayal of their vision. If modern Israelis were truer to the original Zionist commitment to the public good at the expense of individual benefit, corruption would decline. So I do not see how secular Zionism can be blamed for this particular problem, unless you argue that its secular underpinnings made it vulnerable to debasement. If so, this is an excellent argument in favour of religious Zionism.

  4. Ori Pomerantz says:

    I assume you mean this corruption index: http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi . If so, please don’t blame western values. Nine out of the top ten are westen. Singapore, which is also in the top ten, got many of its administrative traditions from the British Empire. Whole-sale acceptance of western values, which include transparency and market competition, does not lead to corruption. The problem is the loss of one set of values without the acceptance of another. This leads to a vacuum that the evil inclination then fills.

    I think my grandparents’ generation understood this. They did not just reject religious observance. They replaced it with Zionism and Socialism. However, those ideals came without the education infrastructure that Judaism has. This made them a lot harder to transmit across the generations, especially as the conditions that made them appealing in the first place disappeared.

    BTW, is the administration of religious cities, such as Bney Brak, measurably less corrupt than the administration of secular cities such as Ramat Gan?

  5. Isaac says:

    I do not read the article as Chaim does in comment 1. I think the article bemoans the state of Israel’s jettisoning of Jewish heritage and our literature and the wholesale embracing of the worst of Western society. By and large, Chareidi society – and certainly Israeli Chareidi society – has not embraced Western values (neither the good nor the bad. Perhaps, that would not be problematic if Rabbi Feldman’s first critical observation of jettisoning our Jewish hertiage and literature had no application to Chareidim. However, Chareidim often suffer from a hyper-technical version of religious study and observance at the expense of the broad themes of honesty, integrity in dealings with others and societal justice for those other than your own narrow community. Tax cheating is only one of many obvious results. As a Chareidi, I did not get much in the way of serious reading and drawing of lessons from the Prophets like Isaiah. Without those lessons, we and Israeli society are dooming ourselves to being just another second-rate, third-world, corrupt Mediterranian society.

  6. HILLEL says:

    “THE FISH STINKS FROM THE HEAD!”

    PM Olmer, himself, is now under investigation:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/814213.html

  7. HILLEL says:

    Dear Chaim:

    So you think that it makes no difference whether someone fears G-D or not.

    Our Torah–the word of G-D–says differently. To quote Abraham (on his way to Egypt) “Rak Ein YirAs E’Kim BaMakom HaZeh, VeHaRoGuNi Al Devar IshTi.–Since the Egyptians have no fear of G-D, they will kill me, in order to steal my wife.”

    Or, to quote a MIshneh in Pirkei Avoth (Chapters of the Fathers), “IlMoLei YoReh Ish Es ReHu, Chaim BeLaHO–Were it not for the fear of one man of another, he would swallow his neighbor alive.”

    I get the sense that you are so closely aligned with secular culture, that you feel threatened by Rabbi Feldman’s analysis.

  8. dovid says:

    HILLEL to Chaim: “So you think that it makes no difference whether someone fears G-D or not.”

    It makes all the difference. But who says that someone who “piously” observes kashrus, Shabbos, and wears Chareidi levush has iras shomaim? A person’s iras shomaim index is the choice he makes when he gets the chance to act keneged din and get away with it. Most of us have come across Jews masqueraded as Chareidim.

  9. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Dov Kay: So what does graft have to do with care-free, bronzed pioneers, and why blame them? On the contrary, Herzl and Ben Gurion would no doubt be disgusted with contemporary corruption as a betrayal of their vision. If modern Israelis were truer to the original Zionist commitment to the public good at the expense of individual benefit, corruption would decline.

    Ori: True. Early Zionists were very committed to the public good. However, I think they went overboard, and were willing to be dishonest for the public good’s sake (I heard some horror stories from my mother about dishonest business dealings by Socialists who thought they cheated my grandfather for the sake of the working class). The evil inclination being what it is, dishonesty is a lot easier to pass on to the next generation than a commitment to sacrifice for the public good.

    The early Zionists were very noble, but like many people in the early 20th century, they had an unrealistic belief in the power of social engineering to change human nature. I’m glad I live in a country whose constitution came from founders who were a lot more cynical and expected things to go wrong.

  10. dovid says:

    One gets the feeling that the author is gloating over the pitiful condition of Israel’s secular society. The uninitiated, reading this article, may surmise that secular = crook, therefore, orthodox Jew = honest. It should be like this but it is not. Agudas Israel of America organized several lectures and workshops in the past years attended by the Orthodox sector of the community whose theme was integrity at work place. Why would the Agudah organize them? Because they are badly needed. Shall we derive from this that our iras shomaim is not what it should be?

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