Israel is not a democracy, it is a corrupt state


Israel has been repeatedly called the only democracy in the Middle East. It is said that it was based on democratic values, including respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

As such, Israel holds periodic elections and claims that the rule of law, equality and the promotion of all human rights, including freedom of opinion and expression and the right to education and information, are crucial to its democratic governance.

A state built on all these bases should be a beacon of democracy and prosperity, but in the case of Israel, this is a lie. If you hear that Israel is called a democracy, anyone with information about the events on the ground would know that this is an oxymoron.

“The strongest bond we share is our belief in democracy and democratic values,” said Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, during a visit to Israel in June. “Democracy has strengthened our special bond of friendship over the decades,” she added. “Today more than ever, democracies like Europe and Israel need to come closer together.”

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However, anyone who follows the daily news reports from Israel wonders what kind of democracy von der Leyen means. Apart from the occupation state’s crimes against humanity, genocides and war crimes against Palestinians, Israeli officials at the helm of the so-called “democratic state” are committing blatant violations and human rights abuses.

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Take, for example, the ongoing investigation into scandalous reports of Israeli envoy to Morocco, David Govrin, who was recalled to Israel, according to the Israeli newspaper. Yedioth Ahronoth“due to allegations of sexual abuse, harassment and corruption.”

Israeli media said that besides the theft of a “precious gift” from the Moroccan royal court, the most serious complaint was that “a senior Israeli official” at the mission had sexually exploited several local women.

The foreign ministry is also investigating reports that an Israeli businessman who does not hold an official position received senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Yair Lapid, when he held the position of foreign minister. This businessman arranged meetings for the senior Israeli officials with their Moroccan colleagues without any connection to the Israeli government.

Examples of officials abusing women, stealing public funds and exploiting their positions for personal gain are rife in Israel, from presidents to their housekeepers.

In 2016, Israel’s eighth president, Moshe Katsav, was released from prison after serving five out of seven years for raping a female Tourism Ministry employee while he was a minister in the 1990s and for sexually harassing of two women while serving as a chairman between 2000-2007.

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When the Israeli court upheld the charges against Katsav in 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted in a number of corruption scandals, said it was a “sad day for the State of Israel and its citizens” but praised the Israeli justice system. “Today the court delivered two clear messages,” he said, saying that one of them is “all equal before the law”.

Netanyahu is currently on trial on several charges related to fraud and breach of trust, as well as bribery. Israel’s longest-serving prime minister is said to have connections with businessmen, filmmakers and media moguls who offered him money or preferentially gave him media attention during election campaigns and other situations. He and his wife received gifts worth 700,000 shekels ($198,000) from Australian billionaire James Packer, the court has heard.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister still heads the opposition and will run as prime minister in Israel’s fifth election in four years, due in October. The corruption allegations against him have had little impact on his support and he remains the person to beat in the coming polls.

It is alleged that Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Israel’s largest telecommunications company Bezeq, which owned the news website Wallachanged the news site’s coverage in line with the demands of Netanyahu’s family.

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Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was asked to resign from office in 2008, was convicted of receiving envelopes filled with cash from American Jewish businessman Morris Talansky and using them for personal, not political, expenses. He served 16 months of his 27-month sentence.

Former Israeli Energy Minister Gonen Segev was arrested in 2004 for drug smuggling and credit card fraud. He had tried to smuggle in 25,000 ecstasy tablets from the Netherlands. He was also jailed.

In 2008, Shlomo Benizri, who held the position of Minister of Health and Energy, was charged with taking bribes, violating public trust and obstruction of justice, and was jailed. While Aryeh Deri, who served as the interior minister, was charged with multiple counts of corruption, was sent to jail and released. He once again held the position of minister!

These are the cases that have come to light, there are probably many others that have gone undisclosed or undiscovered. A state where funds are transferred in favor of positive reporting questions the very meaning of democratic values.

Israel is not a democracy, but a country governed by a corrupt and roque elite.

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The views expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect Middle East Monitor’s editorial policy.


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