In the American business world time is money. In Iraq, time is blood. In Israel, time is, among other things, honor.
The sand is running out of the upper chamber, honor-wise. Unlike the primitive, craven tribal activities of Middle Eastern tribes’ idea of honor (which usually involves women being killed by stupid men), I’m speaking of the honor that gives Israeli statesman and stateswomen the ability to walk with their heads high while conducting State business.
Israeli taxpayer funds are used to shore up extremist religious schools. They’re being used to subsidize the kind of ‘pork’ American politicians would well understand. They’re being used for military idiocies instead of focusing on the things that will ensure that there is a next generation of Israelis: environment, education, medical care and investment in Israel’s brain trust.
This might be the generation cursed to see Israel’s water supply poisoned, it’s land corrupted by pollution to the point of no return, and its children’s education reduced to a shadow of its former self. Already the smart Israelis are making homes for themselves in Europe and the United States. Already the ‘dumb’ Israeli is the altruistic Israeli. Already the value of ‘giving as one can, and receiving as one needs’ has been diminished to almost zero.
This is the curse of Bal’am. Our economy is great: for the top 1%. Our military strength is great — for increasingly limited effectiveness, and increasingly not involving the former 1%. Our (former) president, our prime minister, our ministers, our members of parliament are coming under question, indictment and conviction. The taint of easy living, easy decisions and easy consequences is taking its toll, and the Jewish, the Israeli people, are beginning to live the consequences.
I hope my children, with their optimism, energy and the view imbued by their parents, can effect change against the inertia of corruption, pollution and institutional arrogance.