Let us first say that the ‘field level’ of attorneys in Israel’s Attorney General’s office are not inherently different than our IDF combat soldiers: Without them, we could not exist as a state. Who would be willing to investigate organized crime? Do you have children? Family? A car that can suddenly explode when you turn on the ignition? These attorneys make do with relatively modest salaries – much less than what they could be earning in the private market – and they do a public service.
But just as I have much criticism for the IDF, which does not contradict my understanding of the tremendous value in its very existence and my deep appreciation for those within the system who are worthy of Israel’s army, so I have criticism for the State Prosecution. It is specifically because both these mechanisms are so important to Israel’s existence that they have been taken over – which means that our fate has been taken over, as well.
And now for the point of this introduction: The corruption scandal in which a former Tel Aviv prosecutor is now being investigated is a very serious affair. But it is not the illness – just one of its symptoms. “Sin lies at the doorstep,” the Creator explains to Cain, who does not restrain himself and murders his brother, Abel. Sin lies in ambush for all of us –even for the most honest people. If it will be proven that Attorney Ruth David did not stand up to the temptation for easy money, it will not be the first time that a senior member of the justice system has stumbled.
That is bad, but rectifiable. Bad, because the power of the attorneys in the State Prosecution is much greater than the power of the judges. Those who decide whom to investigate and who will be left alone, upon which crimes to focus and upon which to gloss over wield tremendous power that is not dependent on an objective values system, but only on whatever values they have adopted. The State Prosecution is not a transparent, representative parliament that plods along with checks and balances. There are not (and cannot be) clear laws to guide it. Don’t even bother to suggest an external professional supervisory board to oversee their work.
Moreover, the media, for its own reasons, doesn’t disturb the Prosecution with questions like: Why Herzog (the NGO affair) was not investigated, while Lieberman is investigated all the time. Why not Attorney General Weinstein (who did not notice the illegal foreign worker employed in his home), not Ehud Barak (weapons deals), certainly not Shimon Peres (who became a millionaire before the end of his presidency) while on the other side of the political divide – a flood of investigations.
No, I am not claiming that there is no corruption among the Right or the religious. There is. And it is good that there are investigations and charges. But somehow, the State Prosecution and the entire justice system have managed to lose their credibility a long time ago.
“I have not yet seen a secular, Ashkenazi (white) child removed from his home by the social services,” a former judge who could no longer stand the phenomenon confided in me. “The crying mothers whose children were taken from them will always be from the ‘unenlightened’ part of society. It is not because the judges are evil. They are convinced that they are acting in the child’s best interests. They simply do not understand the world and values that they are supposed to be judging.”
The apparent ‘slip-up’ of Attorney Ruth David is not the problem, but rather, the symptom. If she will be convicted, she should be punished severely, all sorts of rules will be tightened, more opinions will be required on every case – and the real corruption will be swept under the rug. The inherent, truly terrible, un-rectifiable corruption, one thousand times worse than any private stealing of money – will be concealed.
What do I mean? The State Prosecutor, the man who serves at the top of this sensitive system, is appointed by the government of Israel. That is good and logical. The government is elected by the Knesset and is supposed to precisely represent the preferences of the public. While the result is generally far from satisfactory, we all prefer democracy to tyranny.
How was the current State Prosecutor, Attorney Shai Nitzan, chosen?
According to accepted procedure, the Finding Committee (headed by Attorney General Weinstein, of course) was convened in order to present candidates for the position to the government.
Of course. If the government (representatives of the people, correct?) is supposed to choose, then clearly, there must be more than one candidate. But wonder of wonders: Weinstein and his friends presented only one candidate to the government. Justice Minister Tzippy Livni hurriedly gave her blessing. The government ministers, none of whom are anxious to fall out of favor with “the rule of the law” and/or to suffer at the hands of the media, preferred to vote in favor of Nitzan. In his work in the State Prosecution offices, Nitzan has taken advantage of his position to persecute (and prosecute) people who do not adhere to his ideology. Uzi Landau – the only righteous minister in Sodom – saved some remnants of government honor by explaining that he was “voting against the procedure, not the person.”
The media, of course, did not ask uncomfortable questions and with the exception of a student radio station, I, as an MK, was practically not given any opportunity to voice my concern or to address the problematic nature of Nitzan’s appointment.
The official response to the criticism was no less amazing than the manner in which Nitzan was appointed: “We presented only one candidate to avoid making the appointment political…”
In other words, the representatives of the people – our elected Knesset Members – have to understand that the real power in this country is in the hands of a gang of people who constantly clone themselves. This is the essential, truly dangerous corruption. Ruth David may have stolen money. But the ‘Rule of Law’ gang has stolen the entire state!
The two forms of stealing are connected. Unlimited power, free of any supervision and unencumbered by elections – will necessarily become corrupt.
Please pay attention to the real corruption. No police investigation is needed in order to see it. Just open your eyes. The media will never do the job for you. Please open your eyes.