Photo: Shaul Golan
Rabbi Yuval Sherlo
Photo: Shaul Golan

Why I would vote for Rabin today

'Peace' policy killed us, but corruption at top more dangerous

I was among the thousands of demonstrators protesting against Yitzhak Rabin and I do not regret it. Rather, I regret that we did not protest more powerfully. I believe to this day that the terrible disaster of the Oslo agreement belongs to him, and that our situation in Gaza, Judea and Samaria is a result of the destructive policy he led.


I claimed then, and I still argue now, that the negotiations he held on the future of the Golan Heights were illegitimate (as opposed to the Oslo agreement, which was legitimate but constituted a grave mistake.)


As a Golan resident, I heard him say with my own ears days before the elections that whoever even thinks about withdrawing from the Golan Heights forfeits ("forfeits") the State of Israel's security – and that is the mandate he received from the voters.


I believe to this day that the "peace" policy killed us, and that his attitude to the settlers, which ranged from hostility to hatred (even though on the defense front he protested them as much as he could), tore us apart.


I do not see any connection between his memorial day and the despicable murder to loyalty to his policy, as opposed to those who sought to exploit the day to promote his political doctrine, thus preventing many from taking part in this memorial day.


And still, had Rabin been up for election today, I would have voted for him.


I would have elected him only because of the foreign currency account affair he was involved in during the 1970s and his conduct at the time.


Rabin, then the prime minister, quit his post because of an administrative affair involving the violation of relatively minor laws, just because a leader must not have anything staining his reputation – this is the most essential thing we need on the basic existential level. Without excuses, without legal manipulations, without an attempt to attribute to one's election mystical meaning to the point of "a disaster for the country" – but rather, as a guide in the theater of public integrity.


The policies I described above are indeed a grave disaster, but corruption is an internal cancer that corrupts us on a deeper level and endangers our actual existence while undermining the basis for our moral existence.


I know nothing about the facts related to suspicions of corruption against government officials, and my position is that we should be very careful about pre-judging. A verdict is handed down on the basis of facts and not exaggerated reactions and thirst for blood.


However, the accumulation of a president, prime minister, rabbis, ministers, Knesset members, top police officials, media officials, judges, etc, who are suspected of and tainted by corruption and unbefitting personal conduct in the gravest meaning of this phrase, and the fact that none of them resigned or showed us what moral conduct is about – this constitutes a bigger form of destruction for the State of Israel than all other things, even if they are very fundamental.


And when all this is taking place in a society increasingly characterized by growing violence, the danger is even graver.


Danger of corruption

Corruption is dangerous for us for two main reasons. First, because it brings with it a lack of faith in the government and in the rule of law and justice, and from there the road is paved for the conclusion that the strong dominates and that the only possibility in such society is to adopt the way of power, deceit, trickery, exploitation and unfair distribution – the road to getting there is so short that we can say it is a certainty.


Once a society reaches such state, it collapses internally, and what its external enemies cannot achieve is done through a constant trickling of the corruption cancer.


The second reason is the purpose for existence. Even if it was possible to exist with a corrupt government culture, an existential question emerges: Why live in a world where the only option a person has is to reject morality, honesty, and justice? What is the point of our life on earth and to God's image within us, if we cannot be partners to fixing this world?


It would have been better not to use Rabin's memorial day for political purposes, but rather, for creating the fuel and stimulus to honest conduct, public integrity, and moral accountability by leaders. This is the most essential issue we're facing, much more so than resolving the conflict with our enemies.


Our internal decision must lead to the conclusion that whoever stresses honesty and integrity, as well as accountability for one's personal conduct, is the one who deserves our trust, and only after that we'll ask about his or her policy. In my consciousness, Yitzhak Rabin is remembered as the last person who conducted himself like this as a national leader, and that's where my deep longing for this man stems from.


פרסום ראשון: 11.02.06, 09:00
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