– By Batsheva Haber
It sounds like a joke. And that’s exactly how our country is beginning to seem, like a joke.
At least that’s what I first thought when I read this morning’s news about how Ehud Olmert was convicted of taking bribes. Another Israeli official fallen to corruption, and this time a former prime minister, no less. The Israeli government, our elected officials, the people representing us to both our people and the entire world, keep shaming us with their crimes.
In despair, I read through article after article. What an embarrassment?! What a shame?! How can our prime-minister be convicted like your average criminal?!
That’s when it hit me. Our prime-minister was convicted like your average criminal.
I think of many of the other countries in the world today. Countries where government officials taking bribes is part of the regulations, and where it is expected from the leaders to abuse their power to get what they desire. Countries where anyone who speaks against the leader is writing his own death sentence, and where being in power means that you are immune. Countries where the leaders would never be questioned or indicted, let alone convicted!
Suddenly despite the shame in what my former leader did, I was filled with pride. How easy would it have been for Israel to clear Olmert’s name, or even to just dismiss the case for lack of evidence. It sure would have saved our country a lot of embarrassment.
But instead, our justice system decided to continue to fight for the truth, to fight for righteousness, to fight for my rights as an Israeli citizen. Although I am hurt and horrified at our leaders who abused their power and took advantage of their positions, I am proud of our system that will not stand for it.
In a world where too often power = righteousness, let us not fail to recognize the incredible meaning of today’s event’s.