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The Carrot and the Stick

By Tamar Yonah
1/9/2008, 12:00 AM

President Bush 'jokes' with Minister Eli Yishai about not leaving the coalition while shaking hands with him in the greeting line at the airport.

 

See this news item that came up today:

Bush Jokes with Yishai About Not Leaving Coalition
 (IsraelNN.com) U.S. President George Bush joked with Shas chairman Eli Yishai as soon as he got off his plane Wednesday, about Shas' threats to leave the coalition.
According to Nrg, as he shook Yishai's hand on the tarmac, Bush told the minister (roughly): "So I understand that you are the one I have to convince not to leave the coalition?" Bush reportedly promised Yishai: "Tomorrow we will have a long, intensive talk in the course of which I will try to convince you not to leave the government, despite the planned evacuation of the outposts in the Territories [Judea and Samaria, ed.]."

Let’s try to look at this news item in a ‘different’ light.  Whenever the word ‘intensive talks’ are used in the diplomatic sphere, you can bet that it is a heated and intense exchange of words, most possibly with threats and ultimatums. 

How about this imaginary conversation of what could take place:

President: We’ve worked too hard for you to go and mess this process up by pulling out and bringing down your government.  We’ve invested a lot in propping up Olmert and convincing your people to accept a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.  The world is on a new course, and you, well, no punk like you is going to stand in our way.  You better know what’s good for you or…

Israeli Minister:  Or what, Mr. President?

President:  Look, let me put it to you this way.  We know where your kids go to school.  We know that they come home everyday at 4pm. We know what route they take.  You wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to them, …would you?  Now, see this envelope I am handing you?  It’s got all the information to a bank account that has been set up for you in the Cayman Islands.  There’s enough there for a luxurious retirement for you and your family anywhere in the world you want to live.  Take it.  If you know what is good for you.

The carrot and the stick.  The meeting’s over.

Now, before anyone here says hog wash, and that things like this only happen in the movies, take a look at these excerpts from an interview done by Ari Shavit of Haaretz on  03/06/2006.  He’s speaking to Binyamin Netanyahu regarding his time as Finance Minister where Netanyahu admits that bribes are common in government, especially today.

Shavit: Of late there is more and more talk about corruption. You were prime minister, you were finance minister. Is Israel a corrupt country?

Netanyahu: "There is corruption in Israel. It is increasing. In the past few years it has been growing and deepening at a dizzying pace. But those who talk about corruption are generally off-target. They talk about the connection between the member of [a party's] central committee and the politician who gets him a job in order to win his support. But that is a relatively minor phenomenon, and even when it happens, its material scope is limited. Therefore I say that this is only the tip of the corruption iceberg. It is the less important 10 percent that is above the water. The more serious corruption is below the surface. It is hardly talked about; it is hardly known about. But it is the truly worrisome corruption, it is the true danger."

What are you talking about?
"I am talking about the senior politician or the senior official who distributes assets to a magnate who pays him money for it. A great deal of money."

You are talking about bribery - unadulterated bribery.
"Yes. Bribes in envelopes. Bribery in the transfer of millions to bank accounts in Vaduz or the Cayman Islands."

Are you serious? Are you really saying that underlying major economic decisions are bank accounts in Vaduz and the Caymans?
"You know very well what the answer is."

In 21st century Israel assets worth billions are transferred to certain hands in return for bribes?
"Your statement is not completely imaginary."
For the whole interview, click HERE.