Couple of days ago I picked up the "flag joke", and then I saw the Haaretz article (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/679578.html) - see for yourself. Reality can get pretty wierd our here.
Well, we have a nice little winter storm outside, electricity in parts of the country is down and it will take several hours to get fixed. Ample of time off work to get a few words out on the state of the affairs.
The election is approaching and with it the same old question: Shall I vote for the party that can maybe fix the trouble with the Palestinians (Kadima), or shall I punish my only possible choice for selecting Ehud Olmert as replacement of Ariel Sharon? Olmert is politically correct (literal meaning) in the sense that he will continue the path of unilateral separation from the Palestinians, which is the only way forward (hence "Kadima") feasible at this time, and with the emergence of a Hamas-controlled PA this time will last at least another 5-10 years. But Olmert also continues in the path of shameless mingling with criminals and is suspected to be even more corrupt than his precessor. Having much less of a track record to lean back on, Olmert can not afford to be arrogant about this. He was criticized twice by the attorney general for connections with and intervening on behalf of the Gavrieli clan, a known organized crime family, a fact which he bluntly denied two days ago in a TV interview - lying into the public's face about an established fact, how stupid can one get? This blunter cost Kadima 2 seats in the polls and it is going to get worse as more and more dirt is uncovered about Ehud Olmert, a man without a Teflon layer, unlike Ariel Sharon. Arik will be remembered as the man who founded a new centrist main stream to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and Olmert as the man who sank it.
A few more words about the Gavrieli clan. Long suspected to be in the illegal gambling business, a number of family members were finally arrested this week (see link in the head line). The really disgusting thing about this is that the family is very well connected to the Likud leadership (see "A Political Joke" in http://madinisrael.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_madinisrael_archive.html) and thus even managed to send their daughter into the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament). Of course Inbal had no problem to use her immunity in order to protect her parents' home from a police search related to the gambling investigation. Abusing their immunity to cover up dirty business has become a common theme among political thugs and low lives in the current Knesset. The really disturbing thing about all of this is that not a single Israeli public servant has resigned from his or her job for being associated with corruption scandals, connections to organized crime or other severe misconduct. I can not think of a single western democracy with so low standards of responsibility and honor among the political elite. Israel, the Banana Republic. Sad, very, very sad.