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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Prognosis Confirmed: Profound Malaise

I have predicted before that Israel will enter a state of profound malaise, not unlike that of France, following the botched war in Lebanon. But I had no idea that my prediction would come true so quickly and so forcefully, aided by a series of shameful scandals permeating, it seems, all walks of public life in this country.

The Economist wrote briefly last week about how Israelis "have lost their usually insatiable appetite for talking politics". The summary in the second paragraph is strikingly painful in its brutal conciseness:

The prime minister, Ehud Olmert, is under investigation for allegations ranging from dishonest property trading to trying improperly to influence the privatisation of a bank. The finance minister is being probed for embezzlement, the tax-authority head for fraud. The president faces multiple charges of rape. This week a former justice minister was convicted of forcibly kissing a young woman soldier, which could land him in jail for up to three years. The army chief of staff has resigned over the Lebanon war; this month a commission of inquiry is set to shine a harsh light on the performance of army and government.

What charming times we live in... No wonder most people prefer to ignore everything and concentrate on their daily lives. Gone are the days Israelis argued passionately about every little aspect of politics and policy. Such professed apathy may be the norm in most European countries, but in Israel it's a novelty.


Anonymous said...

I think that really depends on where and who you hang out. The issue of rape and women's rights has been a hot topic lately.

Sharvul said...

EB - Meaning that in some circles the issue of rape and women rights is NOT a hot topic?!

Anonymous said...

I think the "profound malaise" as you call it is not a consequence of the Lebanon 2 war. It has been going on for a while- a gradual process in the last few years if not longer. The so called "botched war" was probably a result of our national malaise.
In fact it is this very "profound malaise" that irritates me the most. As a nation we have taken on a defeated, losers' mentality, always seeing the dark side. "Oy vey, what is happening to Israel??"

Fact by fact,nothing really has changed for the worse. The leaders are probably as corrupt as they were 25 years ago and I am sure many a naive girl fell prey to a philandering politition in the past. Perhaps we deserve a just a token of credit for bringing these seedy beings to justice and confronting out national norms. No pain no gain.