ISRAEL: THE TRAUMA-CORRUPTION CONNECTION
Like most of the citizens in Israel, my first reaction to this corruption scandal, unprecedented in scope and depth, was utter revulsion and outrage – particularly as I understood that the case against me was arranged by these people to shut me up. To realize that one has been “stitched up” by a crooked State Attorney’s Office is, well, heavy and one’s first reaction is: You?! You stinking, filthy pieces of slime dare accuse me!
But then I read a passage in an article that was written about Ronel Fisher, the most central figure in this scandal, that was written in 2008 but was not published until just a couple of days ago.
I read this: (my translation)
“Fisher was born in Petach Tikva to a family struggling from day to day, Holocaust survivors, who raised four gifted children. One of the tragedies that befell the family was the disappearance of the smallest sister from the hospital bed in the maternity ward. This was the subject of a documentary that Ronel Fisher’s brother, cinematographer David Fisher, made.”
So, it transpires that Ronel Fisher, that tough, brutish, unfeeling-looking man who is said to own two yachts and houses and conducted clandestine meetings in many countries and is reported to have gifted powerful, corrupted people with lavish gifts, was another one of the Jews in this country who experienced a child stolen from his Family.
I realized that he has been involved in the underworld likely because he was looking for his sister.
Even the most powerful, influential, feared and respected Supreme Court judge (and sometimes Justice) in Israeli history, Aaron Barak, was, at the end of the day, still that terrified little boy who survived a selection, in which all of the adolescents were killed, by lying about his age and then lived in a ghetto in terror for two years, inside.
In many interviews he gave after he retired, in Hebrew and in English; he spoke about his childhood. He spoke about the dread fear.
I realized corrupt people in Israel are unfit to serve not because they are simply corrupt, but because they’ve never worked through their terror and their grief.
They don’t need to be punished. They’ve already been punished. They paid for their crimes in advance. They need help to learn how to forgive.
On top of being Holocaust survivors, many Israelis then experienced additional trauma when they arrived in Israel.
Most of the children stolen were stolen from Yemenite Jews, but other Jews had children stolen too, including Ashkenazi families, like Ronel Fisher’s.
Many young Holocaust survivors were sent to fight in the Independence War, shortly after arriving here after being “liberated” from death camps. Among them is my Father-In-Law, who, after having his Mother, Father and two older brothers, who were soldiers in the underground in German, tortured to death upon being captured and being separated from his Sister, who was sent to England, when he was all of sixteen, was then sent to fight in the Independence War, where he died at the age of twenty-six.
The healthiest of the Jews do not wish to rule, but to heal from our long, long Diaspora, the memories of which we all carry in our collective subconscious, and which sometimes rise to our conscious memories. The unhealthiest of us try to handle the feelings by building corrupt systems of power around themselves. They try to compensate for the Love they can’t give or get by amassing capital and money.
Having a state is not part of Jewish culture. “State” an entirely foreign notion to the Jewish People. We are not meant to live in a state. We need to heal so that we can structure the Society in which our Souls and Bodies can live in Peace.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel