A Casino Grows in Gaza

It's about cleansing another part of Israel that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to make room for a casino. Yes, a casino.

Jack Engelhard

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It's nothing personal, just business, or just "beezeeness", as they say in those mob movies.

All along, we thought the godfather of Israel had some higher motive. Yes, maybe there was a political reason for surrounding himself with consiglieri, and then enlisting those police thugs to beat up old women and children who refuse to go silently from their homes in Gush Katif.

But it is not political. It's about cleansing another part of Israel that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to make room for a casino.

Yes, a casino.

Soon, if the godfather's dreams come true, parts of Israel will be lit up with neons proclaiming, "Pray there, play here," which, according to some, reaches the level of corruption equal to the Romans when they defiled the Temple with their idols. That, too, was business. Sacrifices were expected for Jupiter. This time, the idols are slot machines.

Prayer, then, will be directed less to the Western Wall and more to the craps table for seven-come-eleven.

He says it's for "the greater good." Of what? Himself. He welcomes a planeload of Jews arriving for aliyah, 500 men, women and children. He says it is good to have them coming to Israel. At the same, he intends to send 9,000 Jews out of Israel. Five hundred in, nine thousand out. At this rate - well, you do the math.

Is there any doubt that this godfather runs the nation like a family business? There's wheeling and dealing. There's cronyism. There are mobsters from other "families" that need to be paid off to keep peace within the crime syndicate. It's all about money and kickbacks and get-rich-quick.

Welcome to the Las Vegas of the Middle East. What happens here, stays here, more or less.

So, what exactly do you win if you hit a jackpot in what (heaven forbid) used to be Gush Katif, where Jews lived gloriously, worked and worshiped, and is now The Flamingo? Say you hit those sevens all across the slot machine. You are a winner. But here's the wrinkle. Will it be cash, Ishmael, or a trip to those 72 maidens?

If you remember the movies The Godfather, parts one and two, you also remember that mostly it was about turf wars, dividing up territory so that each mob family gets to share part of the booty that results from loan-sharking, gambling and other ill-gotten enterprises.

That's what's going on in Israel today. Always, though, the people are the last to know. Most of Israel, the guess here is 90 percent, is indeed a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That leaves a mere 10 percent that are shady, which would be all right, except that they run the place.

How they got in is a mystery. Then again, how did the Corleones build their crooked empire? They built it by pretending to be in the olive oil business while engaging in the rackets and then, stage by stage, eliminating the competition. They made you "an offer you can't refuse."

Those who refused got whacked.

So far, there is no whacking in Israel, only intimidation, blockading, arrests and pistol-whipping of old women and children who happen to be Jewish and Zionists. Behave, they are told, like Jews throughout the centuries. Become refugees again. Submit. Don't make trouble.

The mobsters doing all that violence, upon orders from the godfather, are also Jewish. This is not supposed to happen.

Jews do not expel Jews. Jews do not harm Jews. Now they do.

But remember, it's nothing personal. This man, this godfather, has a business to run. Debts need to be paid to other mobsters who did him favors along his climb to the top.

Jews who interfere with his big picture are his enemies. They must be rooted out.

First Gaza, then Judea, then Samaria, then Jerusalem.

The tip-off that Jerusalem is also up for grabs? That came when the godfather of Israel said that Jerusalem will never be divided. Never! Well, we know that Michael Corleone promised that he would never kill his brother Fredo, because Fredo was blood of his blood. Then he killed him.

That's how it goes when you're a godfather. You say one thing, but mean another. In fact, when you say Jerusalem is for keeps, it means exactly the opposite.

Arabs who cooperate with the godfather of Israel are bound to have it good, especially those with big money. Same goes for a number of Jews soiled by greed. They become partners with the godfather and get a slice of the bounty. In fact, at the height of these turf wars, it is safer to be an Arab than a Jew; yes, in Israel.

The Jews, true sons and daughters of the Covenant (as we agree, 90 percent of the population) are taking up space by advancing scientific miracles and finding cures for cancer and heart attacks. Some are studying Torah, and that is really taking up space and wasting time.

So, he made them an offer they can't refuse. But they refused. So, he has no choice but to bully them out of their homes, shops, greenhouses and yeshivot.

Nothing personal. Just business.