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
Politico-Strategic Briefing... Enhance and deepen your understanding of Israel...Go beyond the 24/7 news cycle... Elliot Jager is a Jerusalem-based journalist, former NYU political science lecturer and a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report. He is a former editorial page editor at The Jerusalem Post and was founding managing editor of Jewish Ideas Daily (Mosaic). His 2017 book, The Balfour Declaration Sixty-Seven Words – 100 Years of Conflict told the story of what is, arguably, the most important political letter of the 20th century and why it still matters. Elliot will customize his briefings to suit your interests and schedule. He can meet you over breakfast before you start your day of touring or when you are back at your hotel.
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