The most recent corruption scandal is symptomatic of something much deeper in Israel, according to Uri Avneri, Aharon Amir, and Haim Guri. These men believe that the greatest threat to Israel is not an existential one, but brought about through the loss of direction as envisaged by the founding fathers.
Israel’s independence is safe from outside threat, but great threats lie within”, said Avneri. “Corruption is almost everywhere. The country bears no resemblance to what we had in mind when it was founded. We have completely lost all sense of responsibility for one another, of mercy and of compassion.
To add further to this, the 2006 Lebanon war has left the country feeling vulnerable and leaderless.
The 34-day war in Lebanon, starting July 12 last year, was a disastrous turning point for Israel. Until the Eliyahu Winograd Commission, which Olmert set up in September 2006, delivers its interim report in late April – which will cover the first five days of the war only – and resolves these matters, we will not know precisely the orders sent to specific units or the timing of all of the actors, but there is already a consensus on far more important fundamentals. But the Israelis did not lose the war because of orders given or not given to various officers.
So what would the founding fathers have thought about the Israel of today, particularly the vast divide between rich and poor?
“Sixty years later, this isn’t where we thought we’d be”, added Guri. “Alongside all the wonderful things that happened here, we have the terrible things, revealing society’s wounds”.
As for the values of society in Israeli, it seems that the state has inherited more from the US than generous helpings of financial and military aid.
“Morality is a dirty word nowadays”, said Avnery when asked if our society, our norms, the illusive sense of moral, have all changed. “Back then solidarity and innocence were corner stones of the society. People barely made ends meet, but believed they were building the ideal society. Today they would be considered suckers”.
Indeed, given that the basis for Israel’s creation rested so heavily on the events surrounding WWII, it is a sad indictment on the state that the real victims who Israel has vowed to protect have been largely forgotten.
“…. 40% of survivors in Israel are living below the poverty line, Israel Radio has reported.”
It no surprise then that the three men share an obvious sentiment:
“This is not the Israel we dreamed of”