A Comment By Ehud Tokatly

The Real Corruption

Israel's press is doing a fine job in exposing our politicians' corruption, but the problem keeps getting worse. Indeed, police investigations are needed to bring the offenders to justice, but the problem will never change unless we cure the roots of corruption.

In Lord Acton's words, "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Israel's political system is highly centralised. Cabinet ministers and legislators control most aspects of our lives. Had these officials had less power, the temptation to be corrupt would have been reduced.

Yet, the most disturbing corruption is hardly ever mentioned in the press. Until recently, only a few journalists, such as Yoav Yitzhak, criticised Israel's court system. At long last, Israel's State Comptroller has recently submitted a bold report that exposed the ugly reality in the corridors of the Ministry of Justice. The very people whose job is to uproot corruption are far from being clean. The report reveals that many lawyers are appointed to key positions against the regulations. Many senior officers of the court have family and social connections with their superiors. Friends and relatives appoint each other to sensitive jobs, and no one dares to criticise the holy cow of our judicial branch. Perhaps the next report should explore the social and family connections in the media, the most centralised, nepotistic and corrupt system of all.

To end the corruption, we must decentralise all four power-systems: the legislature, executive and judicial branches, as well as the news media that has more power than all of them!

Ehud Tokatly, 30/June/2005

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