Monday, February 19, 2007

This is how corruption is fought and how the people's trust in the symbols of state is restored the Israeli way. Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi showed leadership and integrity by resigning after his conduct ( as well as that of other police officers ) was criticized by a commission that investigated the role of the police in an affair that involved one of the crime families in Israel and a police officer who had switched sides. Minister for Internal Security Dichter immediately announced who will replace Karadi. Ya'acov Ganot, the current head of Israel's Prison Service and former commander of the Border Police, is an officer with an excellent service record, but only ten years ago he "was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and abuse of his position over three separate incidents in the 1990s, and while the Supreme Court, in a split decision, later upheld his acquittal due to reasonable doubts, it nevertheless sharply criticized his conduct. " I cannot find the exact quote of what Supreme Court judge Eliezer Goldberg ( who later became State Comptroller ) wrote at the time of Ganot's acquittal, but I can tell you that it hardly describes the behavior of someone who is supposed to lead the so necessary reform of this country's police force. The majority ruling said in 1996: " The quantity of incidents produces the appearance of corruption, but doubts remain as to whether these incidents crossed the border into corruption, and as to whether they crossed from the realm of disciplinary infractions into the realm of criminal offenses". Of course Mr Ganot is innocent because he was not proven guilty, but the legal record of an incoming Police Commissioner should be without any huge question marks, particularly in these days, when officials fall like dominoes on charges of corruption, sexual crimes and other forms of misbehavior. I agree with MK Ami Ayalon,who said that "a wide consultation, including the cabinet as well as professionals, should be carried out before the next police chief is appointed", but it seems that it is already too late for that. Apparently Avi Dichter already had his mind made up before Karadi resigned. Maybe this is just another battle in this government's war against the court system as a whole. After all, Olmert and the new Justice Minister whom he chose so carefully have more than one bone to pick with the judges of Israel's Supreme and other courts. In Israel, the fight against corruption is fought bitterly by the corrupt. What is really sad, though, is that new elections - as proposed by the rightwing opposition - will not solve anything. When it comes to corruption and misbehavior the politicians of Kadimah, Shas, Likud, Labor etc. are like Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Which reminds me, last week I bought The Annotated Alice ( together with Band of Brothers, Steimatsky temporarily offers every second book in English at half-price ).

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