Last night while I was still at work, Channel 10’s Baruch Kra (who once worked for Haaretz) broke a story he’s been following for year’s that’s again captured the headlines here.
Kra reported that police have evidence that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took a $3 million bribe from Austrian businessman James Schlaff. It’s all tied to the Cyril Kern affair, violations of campaign finance limits, and Jericho Casinos... but don’t ask me precisely how it all ties together.
Everyone else in the media is now playing catch-up with Channel 10’s scoop.
As for the cops – they’re keeping shtum.
My hunch is that all things being equal (Sharon goes into the hospital tomorrow), this latest revelation will blow over and have minimal impact on Sharon’s anticipated margin of victory.
Yossi Verter in Haaretz gave spinmesiter Arthur Finkelstein the final word: “The public prefers a corrupt man to an idiot.”
Or several different idiots.
So my attention is drawn to real news and it comes from overseas.
I’m thinking about the tragedy of the miners in West Virginia and the pain of their families; about how their loves ones had been celebrating the “miracle” of their rescue only to have their gratitude turned into anguish when it emerged only one of the 12 trapped men had survived.
That’s real news – not the manufactured nonsense that fills so many of our newspapers and media outlets.
Elsewhere, I’m drawn to the reports of an extraordinary Chillul Hashem, what we Jews call – a desecration of God’s name – committed by an Orthodox Jew named Jay Ambramof.
He’s the Washington lobbyist who pleaded guilty to three felony counts in connection with Washington influence peddling.
Yet I wonder if it is news that people who think of themselves as pious observant Jews would nevertheless conspire to commit fraud, evade taxes use power unrestrained by ethical concerns.
No. The real news today is not Sharon and not Ambramof.
It’s the pain of the families who lost their loved ones in the mines of West Virginia. That’s what is real and enduring.
God give them strength to handle their pain and loss.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
PLAIN TALK: Jack Abramoff & Ariel Sharon
WELCOME TO MY BLOG - I am a Jerusalem-based journalist and political scientist and a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report focusing on the Jewish World. I’m a former editorial page editor at The Jerusalem Post and was founding managing editor of Jewish Ideas Daily. Over the years I’ve written for Newsmax, Israel My Glory and a range of other outlets. I was also editorial director for www.balfour100.com and recently completed a book on the Balfour Declaration (now being edited at the publisher’s). Before making aliya in 1997, I worked in NYC government and as an adjunct assistant professor of political science. My memoir about growing up on the Lower East Side (well, it is more than about that) The Pater: My Father, My Judaism, My Childlessness is available via online booksellers, Amazon kindle, and (select) in brick and mortar bookshops. I enjoy the chance to brief individuals and groups visiting Israel on the conflict and Jewish civilizational issues. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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