Over the past few years, former Israeli state comptroller Eliezer Goldberg, a retired judge, has warned that corruption is rapidly plunging Israel into the bottom, arguing that it has become more dangerous than any political or security threat.
Israel's attorney general recently indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, dishonesty and fraud in cases that have been under investigation for a long time.
However, Netanyahu's long-standing hegemony over Israeli politics - the most surviving in power - and his success in crossing many polling stations despite the uproar caused by initial investigations into these cases, point to some observers the extent to which Israeli society is indifferent to corruption and willingness to accept it. Especially at the levels of the political and religious elite.
These negative interactions appear to be an opponent of Israeli propaganda investment in portraying this society as the only democracy in the region, and a modern state that implements standards of integrity and the rule of law in an Arab environment mired in corruption and injustice.
Evolution of corruption
Although the first seeds of that corruption were inherent in the period of displacement of the Palestinian people and the declaration of the establishment of the occupation state, the manifestations of corruption of the Israeli elite began to manifest around 1967 and then developed in complex images, according to a study by researcher Mahmoud Jarabah and researcher Lehi Ben Sheetrit entitled "Corruption in Israel. Netanyahu's Future, published by Al-Jazeera Center for Studies in March 2018.
The study indicates that the corruption of the elite in Israel has evolved from individual cases of bribery and fraud to large and complex networks of the upper political class interconnected by a network of mutual interests, both politically and economically.
After suspicions of corruption alone could bring down the leaders, as happened to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was forced to resign in 1977 due to a storm triggered by the news that his wife had a US dollar bank account, the society reached a sophisticated situation in which the news and accusations themselves were no longer enough to "correct the situation." "In the Occupying Power.
Cases and Accused
Following are some of the most important symbols of the Israeli political and religious elite who have been convicted in corruption cases or charged with financial or moral corruption:
President Ezra Weizman
In 2000, Weizman was forced to resign as president of Israel, which he has held since 1993, after information leaked to the press about receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal money from a French businessman, the first case in which a criminal investigation was opened against an Israeli president.
Although the police stopped investigations because of insufficient evidence, Weizman found himself obliged to resign.
President Moshe Katsav
Katsav assumed Israel's presidency on August 1, 2000, as Weizman's successor, but resigned in June 2007 on the back of his conviction on charges of rape and sexual harassment of a number of female employees who worked with him, both as tourism minister and during his presidency. In 2011, Katsav began serving a prison sentence.
He was released in December 2016 after serving five years of his seven-year sentence.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
In two corruption cases, Olmert was sentenced to 19 months in prison for fraud, dishonesty and obstruction of justice, becoming Israel's first former prime minister.
Olmert served as prime minister between 2006 and 2009.
In 2012 he was convicted of taking bribes in connection with the project to build the Holy Land complex in occupied Jerusalem as mayor, and in 2015 he was convicted of taking bribes in the so-called Talansky case, where American businessman Maurice Talansky testified that he gave Olmert money.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Sharon, who served as prime minister from 2001 to 2006 from the Israeli Likud party, was accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes when he was foreign minister in the late 1990s from Israeli businessman David Appel to help him get a project permit. Real estate in Greece became known as the Greek island issue.
Although the Public Prosecutor then recommended that charges be brought against him, the Public Prosecutor considered that the evidence was insufficient. Sharon was also suspected of involvement in the control of state land, political appointments, and breaches of the party funding law, charges brought by his personal assistant, his son Omri Sharon, and for some of which he was sentenced to seven months' imprisonment after a deal with the public prosecutor in November 2015.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel's attorney general (November 21, 2019) announced in his first indictment of a prime minister in office that he had decided to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and dishonesty in cases known as 1000, 2000 and 4000.
The "4000" case includes the case of telecommunications company Bezeq (the largest telecommunications group in Israel), which includes a charge against Netanyahu for his term as prime minister and minister of communications. This file is described as the most dangerous.
Investigators looked into the dossier. Did Netanyahu seek positive media coverage at the Wella news site, owned by Bezeq chairman Shaul Ilovich, in return for hundreds of millions of dollars in government services and facilities?
Netanyahu has also been charged in the "1000" file for giving gifts of luxury cigars, champagne bottles and jewelry. Of Australian billionaire James Packer.
The attorney general also decided to indict Netanyahu in the 2000 file, known as the Yedioth Ahronoth case, for trying to reach an agreement with the newspaper's owner, Arnon Moses, to obtain positive coverage during his tenure as prime minister and minister of communications.
Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger
Metzger was the Chief Rabbi of Ashkenazi Jews (Westerners) between 2003 and 2013. He was jailed in 2017 after pleading guilty to charges of fraud, theft, conspiracy, dishonesty, money laundering and taking bribes.
He was released in March 2019 after serving 22 months in prison for three and a half years.
According to official charges, several charities linked to the rabbi have received bribes of about $ 3 million, of which about $ 2 million has remained for himself.
In addition, Metzger was accused of taking bribes intended to change his mind on matters relating to his work as chief rabbi.
Israel has two senior rabbis, one for Sephardic Jews and the other for Ashkenazi Jews. The rabbis are responsible for religious courts and all matters related to Jewish law, as well as personal status issues.
In 2005, the Israeli police recommended that Rabbi Metzger be prosecuted, a precedent in the history of the Israel Senior Rabbis Foundation. The day the charge was that the chief rabbi illegally benefited from services provided by a large hotel in Jerusalem.
The Prosecutor decided not to proceed with this case due to insufficient evidence, but requested that he be resigned. The Chief Rabbi stepped down in July 2013.
Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron
Former Jewish Sephardic Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron was found guilty of issuing false Torah testimonies for members of the security forces to enable them to receive wage bonuses.
In 2012, prosecutors brought charges against Bakshi Doron and several other officials of the Rabbi-Elder Foundation, saying they had issued 1,500 forged certificates to members of the security forces. The trial lasted more than four years.
The charges were brought against him when Bakshi Doron became chief rabbi between 1993 and 2003.