Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been charged with three counts of breach of trust and one count of bribery.

For years, I have considered Netanyahu a great Finance Minister – just right for what was need in his time on the job. At the top, he has been excellent in extending Israel’s connections with many countries, which had previously ignored the state. However, I am not too sympathetic regarding his current legal problems, although he has many articulate followers.

The web is full of comment and satire. I would just like to draw my readers attention to a couple of readings.

The Fall and the Fall of the Smollett Empire by David Wiseman is a seemingly innocuous blog. He makes the well known point that if you lie and are caught out, it is rarely best to lie again in order to cover up. Wiseman surmises:

The worst thing about scandals is that people in positions of power manipulate the trust that comes with that position- in order to facilitate the cover-up. “Do you think we would actually do bad stuff? We’re the ones you come to when you have problems.” ….This is what incompetent educators, crooked politicians, bent police and morally bankrupt clergy stand behind which makes the original crime even more horrific.

Sometimes, society is complicit in the cover-up, burying its head in the sand as the truth is too upsetting to hear.

Hmm. I think it is obvious how I draw a connection to the Netanyahu issue.

In parallel, Matthew Kalman was active on Facebook last night. He drew the attention of his audience to a book he had co-authored back in 2013: Pyschobibi.

Great title, but what does it mean? The writers are journalists, not psychologists, but they argued that Netanyahu is driven by two background conditions. First, his father was a political outsider and learned to cope with that rejection. Second, his father preferred the elder son Yoni, something which the brother found difficult to accept.

The upshot is not just a will to succeed, almost at all costs. I am not sure that I agree with all of the premise. However, you have to wonder. Why in the name of the devil has Netanyahu ensured that the ultra right wing, Otzma Yehudit party, will be represented in the next Kenesset?

The point is that this group is the direct descendent of Rabbi Meir Kahana, who was murdered two decades ago. Accused of nationalist socialist policies, I clearly remember as a university student going to hear him rabble rouse in 1981 in Jerusalem to decide for myself. I had just finished a course on the rise of Hitler. The man spoke just like – themes and mannerisms – the former German Chancellor. I was disgusted.

And it is those policies that Netanyahu wants to see in the next Kenesset, at least in order to keep himself in power. I do not want to say any more.


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