Cleaning Up Corruption - One City At a Time
The historic conviction of Ehud Olmert, the Mayor of Jerusalem at the time of the offenses, and subsequently Israel's Prime Minister, together with eight other officials in Tel Aviv District Court, by Judge David Rozen, is a landmark for the rule of law in Israel.
The message, which also came through clearly in the conviction of the ex-President Moshe Katzav on rape charges, in the very same court-room in 2011, is that no-one is above the law in the State of Israel.
The cleaning up of corruption in Jerusalem, where the Holyland development is located, which was the building project which generated millions of dollars in bribery payments, is an important step in cleaning up that municipality which Judge Rozen described as "deeply corrupt and corrupting".
This message is especially important, including in other municipalities around the country where city leadership can see themselves as immune to the rule of law.
Unfortunately, contempt by the leadership for the law has been enhanced by the electorate which, for example, in 2013 municipal elections in Ramat Hasharon, Bat Yam Mayor and Upper Nazareth, all returned mayors to office, in spite of corruption charges they were each facing.
Here in Beit Shemesh, in spite of the electoral fraud and campaigning irregularities in the October 2013 elections, the incumbent mayor and his cronies were successfully re-elected to office in March 2014.
As in many of Israel's cities, corruption, kickbacks and bribes in Beit Shemesh are rumoured to be widespread in the machinations of running the city.
If you have experienced such corruption first hand, or can offer information, call the police! If for whatever reason you don't feel up to that, feel free to contact me offline (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It is now time for Beit Shemesh to follow Jerusalem's lead.