Yes, minister

Yair Lapid provides rare glance into an Israeli government office

Mister Minister, you were looking for me?

Yes, Mr. Ganani. Please come in.

Mr. Malka spoke with you?

About what?

The promotion.

He did say something.


“It’s time to promote people within the ministry” that is what you said on television, I remember it verbatim. I was sitting home and said to my wife: 'You see, that’s the guy to whom I will be totally devoted if he just looks far enough ahead to appoint me deputy director of national planning…'



Yes sir?

You’re fired.

What do you mean?


What do you mean, what do I mean? You ask me what I mean? You allocated NIS 250,000 (USD 60,000) to improve the infrastructure of Highway 670 without the minister’s authorization.


Pardon me sir, but maybe we are being a bit hasty here. It’s my job, improving the infrastructure.

There is no such road Ganani.

What do you mean there is no such road. How do you know?

I checked a map.

What map?

A map of Israel - the one hanging behind me here. There is Highway 665 and 673 but no 6-7-0.

There is no such highway?

No and even if there was you would not be permitted to allocate funds.

Why not?

It’s not included in the budget.


With all due respect, Minister, six months in the job and you already want to change the world order? If you wish to discuss the budget I ask that it be done through the appropriate channels. There is a Finance Ministry, the accountant general’s office, there’s the Knesset Finance Committee, the Civil Service Commission. What would happen to us if every minister decided to take real responsibility for the ongoings of his ministry?


There is no such highway Ganani! You hear what I am telling you?!

So there is no such highway; fewer road accidents, less congestion, less pollution. Why look at everything so negatively?

Ganani, the contractor you gave the money to is your nephew.


Don’t act innocent Ganani.


The minister is kindly asked not to shout. I have eight nephews and I can’t remember what each one does.


What Ofer?


Little Ofer? Isn’t he still in school?

He’s a contractor who happens to build roads.

Wow. How time flies.

You transferred NIS 250,000 to him without a public tender.

And for this you fire someone?


Ganani, you don’t know me. For me, it is ethics in the workplace first and foremost. The moment you leave this office I am calling the authorities. You are going to do time Ganani, and a lot of it.


The minister cannot fire me, sir.

Why not?

Because if you fire me, it shows that you are trying to hide the bribery scandal.

What bribery scandal?

That I didn’t cut you in.

Very funny Ganani, do what ever you want. I have nothing to hide.

If you have nothing to hide, why did you fire me?

Because you are corrupt.

And how do you know that if you are not involved?

Involved in what?

In my corruption.

What do you mean ‘my involvement’?

Oh, so now you are denying it?

I am not denying anything.


A quarter million shekels are missing and the honorable minister doesn’t know anything.

Of course I know and that is precisely why I am firing you.

Will that be your position under questioning? Two minutes of pressure and you will be confessing.

Confessing to what?

That just six months after you were appointed minister, a quarter million shekels disappeared and were transferred to the nephew of one of your close associates.


You are not one of my close associates.

If we are not close then why did you discuss my promotion with Malka?

He spoke to me.

Was there or wasn’t there a discussion?

He met me in the hallway.


NIS 250,000 disappear and I am suddenly a candidate for promotion? You even made Zalika laugh.

How is Zalika connected to all of them?

He’s Accountant General.

So what?

You allocated NIS 250,000 without the authorization of the accountant general?

I didn’t allocate anything. You gave it to your nephew.

Who is the minister here, you or me?

I am.

So who is responsible?

You are.

So, very good. A minute ago you lectured me on morals and ethics and now you are evading responsibility.

I am not evading anything.


Look, Minister, Sir, we weren’t born yesterday the two of us. The main headline won’t be ‘Ganani stole’ - who knows who Ganani is? Ganani is the blurred photograph on page 3. You, Minister, are an intelligent Jewish guy so let’s see if you can guess what the headline will be.


‘A senior minister is implicated in a money scandal.’?

Yep, you have started to get it.

But I fired you.

That’s the second headline. ‘Police investigate an alleged cover-up’

No one will believe you.


Minister, Sir, you surprise me. A quarter million shekels has disappeared? Gone. You fired me. I’m gone. You will be summoned for questioning? Summoned. What will remain is a picture of you in handcuffs fed being led to the police.


Why handcuffs?

It’s the Buzaglo test. Everyone is equal under the law, even ministers. The police need to prove they do not discriminate.

But I haven’t done anything.

Please don’t cry Minister. Ask my Mrs., I can’t deal with tears.

So maybe you’ll simply return the money?

See, that is how it begins.

How what begins?


Not reporting bribery attempted cover-ups and obstructing of investigations, transferring funds without the proper authority. I am sorry, Minister, Sir. With all due respect to the fact that I am one of your close associates and a candidate for advancement, my conscience dictates that I turn you over to the authorities. You don’t know me but ethics in the workplace first and foremost.


Listen Ganani, is there a chance this conversation might stay within these four walls.

It depends.

Deputy Director of National Planning?

Now, we’re talking.


פרסום ראשון: 01.24.07, 15:15
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