Photo: Tel Aviv Police
Benny Sela: Rapist on the loose
Photo: Tel Aviv Police
Rapist's escape a warning sign
Benny Sela's escape reflects rotten state of Israeli society as a whole
As time goes by from that awful moment when rapist Benny Sela jumped the fence leaving the police guards way behind, his mysterious and brutal character has been taking on the qualities of a superhero. Sad, but true. Just listen to the tone that is shifting between the public's fear and hate. It is a sickly, silent and silenced admiration of sorts.


Just listen to the way he is being talked about; it is reminiscent of the way the Americans spoke of Bonnie and Clyde and Al Capone. Just as they did, Benny Sela is also laughing, fooling the cops and doing as he pleases. Another sensational headline tells us what we already know: The cops don't have a clue. What can we say, he's a real Batman.


'S' for Sela on his red cloak

Another archive finding tells us he is a cold blooded criminal who was only apprehended by chance, and this time he'll be doubly careful not to trip up. He is the invisible man, a hovering superman. All he needs is a red cloak with a big red 'S' for Sela printed on it.


Finally the Israeli public, in its warped way, has found the admired figure it needed so desperately. We've spent almost ten years without a true hero bearing a stern look and lowly spirit, and now finally, we've got Benny Sela. Hooray! His multiple syllable name, reminiscent of an Israeli pilot, quickly bred the title Major General Benny Sela. Does the combination "IDF Commander Major General Benny Sela sound strange to anyone?"


This diabolical image of a superhuman, evasive public enemy is unjustified. Although Sela fooled the entire world, including Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, this is not a world whereby trickery is a difficult mission. What he did is not called an escape, but rather, a joke that could have been prevented at numerous junctions.


There were warnings that no one heeded, while regulations were outlined but not adhered to. And if the police force is now trying to capture Sela the way the Prison Service incarcerated him, it's too early to bet on his early return behind prison bars (perhaps another bar or two should be added against future escapes, or perhaps a chain should be attached to the door, just to be sure).


It would be nice for the police to gird their loins, to come by some additional funds, and to suddenly fill their minds with ingenious ideas, efficiency and initiative.


Israel not Sweden

But it would be nicer if the Israeli public would cease behaving as though Israel was Sweden, and that everything is just fine thank you, except for the lazy and negligent police force. Because the entire Israeli public is behaving just as lazily and foolishly, and the security forces' defective performance in the Sela fiasco stems from Israel's overall defective performance.


The amateurishness that enabled Sela's escape should not serve as the starting point for a festival of head chopping at the Internal Security Ministry, but rather as a warning light illuminating the situation and even as the Archimedean point that would warrant change.


It may be assumed, albeit naively, that had we had an honest leadership, with inspiration and political vision, the law wouldn't have been turned into a joke, people would function properly, and perhaps Sela wouldn't have so easily escaped punishment. But most importantly, we would not have needed superheroes the likes of him.


פרסום ראשון: 12.01.06, 12:28
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