A Light to the Nations in Government?

Israel is called to be a light to the nations. In many respects, it is becoming that. It’s the one truly democratic state in a region becoming more and more chaotic. It’s a technological powerhouse, rivaling Silicon Valley in the US. It typically provides first responders to international humanitarian crises. But one area of serious dysfunction is the government. The government’s structure is problematic with Knesset members (MK) solely representing party interests instead of constituents.  Unlike the US and many parliamentary systems, an MK is not elected from a particular geographic district. Rather, he or she is elected to the Knesset by the number of votes a particular party receives nationwide. Consequently, constituents don’t have a Congressman (MK) to whom they can turn nor is the MK accountable to any constituency.

Worse, however, is government and political corruption. There is no ideal government, and every governmental system is susceptible to corruption. Yet, in the Scriptures, God usually judges Israel by the behavior of the king or the rulers. Recently, three notorious cases have come to light. The oldest case is that of Moshe Katsav, the former President of Israel, who presently is serving a seven year sentence in prison for raping former female employees. This past week the Israeli Supreme Court upheld a conviction for bribery and a prison sentence for former Prime Minister, Ehud Ohmert. He is to begin serving his time in February. Israel will have the distinction of a former President and a former Prime Minister simultaneously serving prison sentences.

Now, ultra-Orthodox rabbi and head of the Shas party, Aryeh Deri, is about to become the Minister of the Interior Department, which handles among other things, immigration to Israel. Deri was convicted of bribery in 1999, while interestingly serving as the Minister of Interior, and sentenced to three years in prison. He completed two years in 2002, when he was granted early release. Here’s a quote from the judge in the case:

"The picture of bribery that the evidence revealed is a difficult one. This is not the case of a singular failure of a young person who has been exposed to the temptations of governing, but rather someone who consistently bases his way of life on bribery. The bribe taking occurred over the entire five year period in which the accused held public roles. The five years can be characterized by the desire of the accused to personally enrich himself quickly from his public positions."

The fact that the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, actually will appoint a convicted felon to a senior ministerial position is a national disgrace.  Making matters worse is that Deri is a religious leader, theoretically representing God and the Jewish people. This is hypocrisy at the highest level, and is the type of thing Yeshua railed against during his era on earth.

Israel is in desperate need of a political and government overhaul. God will not continue to bless a nation in whose leaders rape, pillage and steal. As a warning to our fellow believers in the country, when you vote in elections, you should be aware of what parties likely will be included in a government coalition. When it’s clear that corrupt politicians will join a government, it’s incumbent upon us to take a stand for righteousness and vote another way. Otherwise, we too become culpable in national corruption.