Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."



Institutionalized Corruption
  
  Paul Eidelberg
  
  Even if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not pocket a shekel of the hundreds of thousands of dollars handed over to him in cash by the American tycoon Morris Talansky, the cloud of suspicion hanging over Olmert makes it impossible for him to fulfill the vital duties of his office .   He should step down NOW-or be COMPELLED to do so .
  
  I will not mention the names of other public officials who, because of public suspicion of official misdeeds, resigned their offices and did so even though subsequently shown to be entirely innocent .
  
  Official corruption in Israel is the highest or close to the highest among developed countries, at least as reported by more than one international organization dealing with such matters .  What is commonly unknown, however, is that corruption in Israel \'s government is not simply the consequence of dishonest politicians .  
  
  How institutions are designed can facilitate or diminish political corruption .   As I have shown many times, Israel\'s political institutions are most conducive to corruption by the simple fact that members of the Knesset are not individually accountable to the voters in constituency elections-the practice of almost every country classified as a democracy .
  
  However, what is even more fundamental is this: of 89 nations classified as a democracy-and 26 are smaller in size and population than Israel -only four besides Israel makes the entire country a single electoral district .   A single nationwide electoral district necessitates Proportional Representation, which multiplies the number of political parties-more so given a low electoral threshold .  
  
  In Israel , moreover, no party has ever come close to winning a majority of seats in the Knesset .   This necessitates the formation of coalition cabinet governments with 5 or 6 or more RIVAL political parties .   This very much conduces to political corruption (in addition to political instability, ineptitude, and national disunity) .
  
  Now let us return to Olmert .   How did he become Israel \'s prime minister?  To begin with, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon campaigned as leader of the Likud Party in the January 2003 election .   His party won 38 seats, twice the number of seats won by the Labor Party-something unprecedented in Israeli politics .    The paramount issue of that election was Labor\'s policy of "unilateral disengagement" from Gaza .   The parties that campaigned against that policy won 84 seats, which means that Labor\'s policy was rejected by an overwhelming majority of the voters .
  
  Nevertheless, in December of the same year, Sharon adopted Labor\'s policy and thereby nullified the January election .   However, having lost a referendum of his own Likud Party on the issue of disengagement, he decided - while in office as Likud prime minister - to form a new party, Kadima .   Ever hear of such a thing?  Ever hear of a party in reputed democracy - a party that had never competed in an election - taking control of the government?  Does this strike you as democratic?  Ask the people in Sderot, the victims of Sharon \'s betrayal of the voters in the January 2003 election .   But we still have to get to Olmert .
  
  In January 2006, Sharon was incapacitate by a stroke and Olmert who, was somewhere around 23rd (!!!) on the Likud Party list, became acting prime minister .   The subsequent March Knesset election, in which Kadima won a mere 29 seats, made Olmert prime minister .   That\'s it folks .  
  
  I could say much more about Israel \'s corrupt system of government, especially about how it maximizes the influence of foreign governments and foreign  paymasters .   Enough .  
  
  But don\'t think that by getting rid of Olmert you will get rid of the corruption spawned and magnified by Israel \'s sick and sickening system of government .