Israel, a land with its history dating back some 1.5 million years. It has been mentioned in the books of all Abrahamic religions and holds a lot of importance since biblical times.
Ever since its creation in 1948, Israel has come a long way and is now considered a developed country and an OECD member. It is the 34th-largest economy in the world with the highest standard of living in the entire Middle East which is quite a feat.
While it may not share a lot of the problems that plague other countries in the region, this holy land is still cursed by the evil that is corruption.
There is more than enough evidence to suggest that corruption is a huge problem not only in the politics of the country but in everyday life as well. From people with important positions in office to your average folk, it has become an epidemic in every level of administration. Despite the claims of efforts being made to handle corruption, the fact that it still exists on a large scale cannot be ignored. With that in mind, we have collected a list of reasons that prove just how corrupt Israel really is.
15. Freedom of Press Doesn’t Really Exist
This should not come as a surprise, after all, if you have been accused of corruption then it is best if no one ever finds out. This task becomes quite easy if you have influence over different media outlets.
In 2016, the Freedom House which is an American democracy advocacy organization decided to downgrade Israel’s freedom of press ranking to “Free” from the previous status of “Partly Free”. A 2013 investigation of Israel Hayom (“Israel Today”) revealed that drafts of several articles with criticism of the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were modified and removed by the editor in chief. The prime minister is also Israel’s communication minister which has allowed him to leverage his power and seek more favourable coverage from media outlets that are considered biased.
14. Authority Figures are Protected from Criminal Inquiries
If you hold a high position in the office and are involved in corruption then you simply cannot afford to have people poking their nose into your business, especially the police. Normally the law would require a criminal inquiry for anyone with allegations of corruption but that is not the case if you are the prime minister of the country.
In 2016, a law proposed by the Lukid MP David Amsalem stated that the prime minister would be shielded from any criminal investigations, major or minor during his term in the office. The reason you ask? Well, it’s because the prime minister is a busy man and cannot be preoccupied with investigations.
The law was proposed during a time when Benjamin Netanyahu was being investigated for corruption charges, which explains a lot of things. However, the whole deal was met with harsh criticism by the opposition with MK Itzik Shmuli going so far as to say that the bill was “a new standard of disrespect for the public and harm to the rule of law”, and suggesting that no one was above the law.
13. You Can Bribe Your Way Through Everything
Bribery and corruption go hand-in-hand so this really isn’t big news. From rigging elections to getting away from the police, everything can be done with a handful of cash.
A recent corruption investigation into Ilan Shoaht who is the mayor of Safed revealed that he promised bribes for votes during the 2013 elections. He has also been accused of using his influence to help the business interests of a private contractor in exchange for construction discounts on their private properties.
The mayor obviously denied all allegations, however, his assistant has also been suspected of similar crimes and is currently under investigation as well. We don’t really blame him though since the corrupt do enjoy the company of other corrupt.
12. Despite All the Corruption, Countries Continue Providing Financial Aid
One would assume that with all the corruption scandals in the news and the fact that every prime minister in Israel’s recent history has been accused of corruption, other countries would think twice before providing any financial aid but unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The United States has been financially helping Israel ever since it was formed and recently both countries signed a $38 billion agreement for military aid during the next 10 years. This is the largest agreement of assistance the US has ever pledged to another country.
11. Every Prime Minister in the Past 20 Years Has Remained Under Criminal Investigation
It’s not a very good sign when your current prime minister is being investigated for corruption charges but it’s even worse when every prime minister in the last 20 years of the country has been the subject of such an investigation.
In 2012 former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of taking bribes in a housing project and as luck would have it, he was convicted once again in 2015 for the “Talansky Affair”. American businessman Morris Takansky testified in court that he had given the prime minister envelopes stuffed with cash. That is definitely something you do not want to leave behind in your political legacy.
10. Human Trafficking Is Largely Ignored for Profit
You can argue that human trafficking is an issue that is present all around the globe, however, the problem in Israel is that no one is willing to do anything about it.
A US State Department report in 2011 ranked Israel in the same category as 3rd world nations like Pakistan and Rwanda. The report clearly mentions that “The Government of Israel does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking”. It was only after threats of sanctions from the United States that Israel put any sort of effort to get rid of the problem.
The entire issue still goes much deeper since the police are regularly involved with criminal gangs that operate large trafficking rings throughout the country. Once the victims are in Israel via the border, they are sold to pimps and brothel owners for $8,000-$10,000 who then force them into slave-like conditions.
9. The Police Can Get Away with Anything
The entire issue with living in a corrupt country is that those tasked with the job to “serve and protect” are a part of the evil themselves and the government will allow them to have a free reign to torture and blame the victims instead.
Back in November of 2013, Taleb Al-Touri and his two sons had joined a protest against the forced relocation of Negev Bedouin from their land. Little did they know, this would turn out to be the mistake of a lifetime. While planning to go home, they were knocked down, kicked, dragged and were hit with stun grenades by about 10 men in uniform. One of the soldiers even urinated on the father’s face for further humiliation.
For those of you who even remotely understand how assault works will know that it can be quite difficult to talk politely to your assailant. However, that is something Israel’s Justice Ministry cannot understand. Upon filing a complaint, the Justice Ministry department handling the police misconduct halted the inquiry because the victims did not obtain identifying details of the soldiers during the assault. No efforts were made to locate them either.
8. Poverty Figures Are Through the Roof
Poverty is the biggest byproduct of corruption since the rich keep getting richer and the poor, well, they can barely afford to eat proper meals but who cares. Despite being a developed country, more than 1 in 5 Israelis are currently live in poverty, which is a definite indicator that there is something seriously wrong with the financial situation in the country.
A staggering 1.7 million people live below the poverty line according to the annual poverty report by the National Insurance Institute. The situation now has gotten to a point where it seems almost impossible to minimize the wealth gap between the rich and the poor.
7. A Corrupt Justice System is Quite Normal
With corruption present in almost every government institution, one should not expect much from the justice system either. There is also a slight double standard when it comes to how non-Jewish people are treated as compared to Jewish people.
Authorities in Israel continue to arrest hundreds of Palestinians while issuing them detention orders based on evidence that is regularly held from the detainees and their lawyers. Mohammed al-Habibi who was a Gaza-based humanitarian worker was arrested and interrogated for three weeks with no lawyer access. The charges of money embezzlement on Mohammed were denied by the charity World Vision on the fact that there wasn’t enough substantive evidence, however, he was still convicted.
6. Mob Bosses Rule with Money and Intimidation
Being a crime boss gives you a lot of power and illegal money which you can use to pull all kinds of illegal strings. It seems like something that would happen in Gotham City but at least there we have Batman to take care of things. No such thing here though.
In 2008, medical section chief of Tel Aviv Medical Center Emergency Medicine Department Dr. Jacky Sarov was brought on trial for taking bribes from convicted criminal Asi Abutbul. He was indicted for accepting NIS 3,000 on three separate occasions while personally escorting and expediting the treatments of the crime boss. His motivation behind this was very simple, he was afraid and feared for the safety of his family and himself.
5. People Living in Other Countries Are Also Not Safe
If you think that simply living outside of Israel will keep you safe from the dark clutches of everything that is wrong with it then think again.
In March of this year, Israel police along with FBI arrested 20 people who were part of an international crime ring responsible for scamming millions of dollars from individuals over the Internet. According to police, the ring had hired the Israel-Arab Hariri crime family to provide protection via threats and extortion in return for a percentage of the scammed money. During the raids, police seized luxury cars, expensive watches, cash and other documents.
The individuals who were arrested used a very well-known technique where one poses as an executive and calls mid-level company employees to transfer money in utmost secrecy. It is then transferred to bank accounts controlled by these criminals and spent on expensive items. This clears the money on paper and can then be transferred back to the country.
4. Tax Evasion Is Also a Normal Occurrence
No one likes paying taxes but most of us don’t really get a choice, besides, we’re all very law-abiding citizens but unfortunately, you must think otherwise if you have lots of money obtained via illegal means.
Omar Barghouti was suspected of hiding around $700,000 of unreported income from the companies that he runs. Because of this he was arrested for tax evasion and was later released on bail by the Haifa Magistrate’s Court.
Turns out Omar is not the only one to pull something off like this either. Boaz Schwartz, chief executive of Deutsche Bank AG in Israel was suspected of misreporting around $147 million of transactions which certainly does not seem like something a person would do on accident.
3. Corruption Attracts All Those Who Are Corrupt
The problem with having a country riddled with corruption is that it can be a haven for all kinds of nasty and underhanded folk. They can always visit to avoid being prosecuted internationally and live the rest of their life eating expensive food and drinking margaritas.
For example, Gilbert Chikli, a Franco-Israeli made off with almost 6.1 million euros from France by scamming some of the biggest corporations in the world. Utilizing China, he found a weak link in the global financial system allowing him to legitimize all of his stolen money. Creator of the famous fake CEO scam, it has cost corporations over $1.8 billion in a period of only two years.
Chikli was sentenced to seven years in prison by a French court, however, he managed to escape the country and come to Israel where he now openly lives a life of luxury in Ashdod. Israeli law enforcement as one would expect has also declined to explain why Chikli has been allowed to live freely in the country.
2. Occupation of Private Land
In any other part of the world, you would expect to be given rights to protect your private property, even by force if need be. The same cannot be said for some parts of Israel unfortunately.
On numerous occasions, Israel’s parliament has passed laws that allow the state to occupy land which is privately owned by Palestinians in the West Bank. This land is used for building settlements without the permissions of those who own the land.
While the legislation has been supported by the current prime minister and his party, it has been opposed by others citing it as reckless and further tarnishing the image of Israel in the world. The seized properties are to be held by the state until a definite resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
1. Even the Military Is Not Free from Corruption
One of the last institutions you would expect to be corrupt in a country is its military considering they uphold extremely strict codes of virtue and discipline. Regardless of this, we see corruption scandals in militaries every day around the world and Israel is no exception to this.
Recently police arrested 13 people including retired IDF brigadier-general Amal Asad on corruption allegations. These were tied to the Israel Aerospace Industries which is the largest government-owned aviation manufacturer in the country. Asad is suspected of receiving bribes from businessmen at a technology company called DruzeNet.
According to the police, the scandal involves many suspects at almost all the levels of the company indicating that it is corrupt down to the core.
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