A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
March 8, 2009--Katzav to Indicted For Rape-The Sad State of Israeli Politics
The news in Israel today was dominated by the announcement of the State Prosecutor's Office that former President Katzav is going to be indicted for rape. This comes three years after the case first became public, and 10 years after one of the incidents occurred. Part of the reason for the delay was an earlier plea agreement the Katzav had agreed to and then pulled out of. Another part of the news was devoted to the ongoing trial of former Minister of Finance Hirshson, who is accused of taking cash bribes.
All of three days have passed since we learned that the police were recommending that outgoing Prime Minister Olmert be charged in a third corruption case. It's hard to forget that the reported incoming Foreign Minister Lieberman is most likely going to charged with a series of financial crimes. Herzl dreamed of a nation like all other nations, somehow Israel has turned into something else. I do not think he thought of a level of public corruption unprecedented in a western country. The former head of emergency room at Icholov hospital was sentenced to 15 months in prison today for accepting 3,000 Shekels in bribes to treat a member of the Israeli underworld ahead of the line in the emergency room.
Coalition negotiations continued today between Yisrael Beitenu and the Likud. According to all the sources, Netanyahu is agreeing to Lieberman's demand to be Foreign minister and his demands for Friedmann to remain Minister of Justice and his party to be in charge of the police. He has also supposedly agreed to allow Lieberman to get a second appointment on the committee that appoints judges. This is all to a man who by all accounts is expected to be indicted in the near future.
Members of the Likud party are furious at Netanyahu's handling of negotiations with Lieberman. He could not give in on any of Lieberman substantive demand for change in the system of the government or change in the marriage law due to his dependence on the religious parties, so instead he has bought him off with cabinet posts, leaving nothing for the Likud and putting “interesting” people in charge of many ministries. I find it hard to believe that any of them would be confirmed by the US Senate if they had been appointed for these positions in the US. They would be laughed out of the hearing room. The only person who would seem to have any qualifications for his job is the expected nomination of Yaalon to be Minister of Defense. But, on a negative note, he was the Commander in Chief of the IDF shortly before the Second Lebanon War, and if anyone who is responsible for the state of the army when the war broke out he certainly is.