A sordid mirror image of nowadays Israel - that is essentially the recently published report by the World Bank on the corruption, shortcomings and deficiencies of the Israeli Government.
If it were not for the overwhelming preoccupation with the disengagement - this report, together with the report on the growing poverty, should have brought about an awesome public outcry and the resignation of the government of Israel.
But the report hardly goes noticed, perhaps as yet another reflection of the problem - as if to countenance the very essence of the report!
There is silence and humble acceptance. Politicians try to subdue any debate and reference, the press is much too busy with the disengagement, the public is worn out, despaired, totally disbelieving in the political establishment - which is being regarded as a haven of corruption - of people of vested interests covering for each other.
The cynicism of the self-absorbed politicians with the silence of the lambs - enables such a devastating report to virtually be ignored.
One can pinpoint to many reasons that we are at the course and foundation of the situation as reflected by the World Bank: Corrupt leadership and political system, lack of leaders of vision; the dominance of a materialistic way of life at the expense of absolute apathy by the lot of the underprivileged; the continuous rupture of the Israeli value system, "Light to the gentiles” turned into darkness at high noon – the daily life and conduct turned into abrasive, greedy, accentuating the out maneuverability of your fellow man; the disappearance of compassion as part of the ethos of the state; national security is not tantamount with personal security and decent existence.
The absence of any real opposition in Israel - Labor and Shinui behave as actual or potential satellite of the Sharon Government – under changing pretexts - whereas Meretz - Yahad was subjecting the notion of the disengagement to any other consideration - thus showing responsibility for the budget that ignores the poor and the weak.
ADL chief crossed the line
Another reason is the axis between government and capital. In other words, ministers act or refrain from acting on behalf of big money and cater to the interests of the rich.
The civil service is prone with politics and is constantly losing its efficiency. It is a civil service that today has no brave leaders. It sinks further and further into the role of an obedient servant of the corrupt government rather than acting as a watchdog to compensate for the rampant irresponsibility of the ministers – many of who are roaming the world instead of diligently running their respective ministries.
But I would add yet another factor. It has to do with the leadership of America Jewry.
This is a leadership in need of rejuvenation. It is a leadership that danced and dances to the sounds of the changing Israeli government policies: for and against Oslo, for and against P.L.O., for and against negotiations with Syria but never engaging with Israel in a sincere dialogue as to the ethos of Israel, its value system - never setting expected benchmarks and codes of conduct to the Israeli Government.
ADL Head Abe Foxman has acted on its behalf as champion of the disengagement.
It was none of his business to take sides on an issue that is tearing public opinion apart. Instead of being “in” and mingling with government officials he should have had, together with fellow American Jewish leaders, called for a dialogue with Israel – beyond the lobby of the King David Hotel and the Prime Minister’s Office - demanding the Israeli Government cleanse its Modus Operandi - to change course and clean up its act.
If the current situation in Israel will go unchallenged and unchanged profoundly, the future reports of the World Bank will reflect a deeper deterioration to the point of endangering the coherence and well being of Israel as a state and a society.
Eytan Bentsur is former director-general of the Foreign Ministry.