Salman Masalha || Royal corruption
His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan buys political parties and spiritual leaders in Israel. This is done quietly without anyone here showing the least bit of surprise.
Just imagine how you would react if you were to read in newspaper ads in which the Labor Party or Likud, Yisrael Beitenu or Meretz, Shas or United Torah Judaism, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef or any other religious leader asked supporters to apply to them in order to receive grants provided by the Jordanian monarch enabling them to pursue studies at institutes of higher learning in the kingdom of Jordan.
Well, that is precisely what is happening in Israel. But since it has been happening for many years in the Arab sector, no one has said anything. And since there is no Arab press that is worthy of its name in Israel, this corruption is continuing to take place without questions being asked or answers being demanded.
The fact that this royal corruption cuts across parties and ethnic groups in the Arab population indicates its nature and its aims. In order to make it clearer, I shall quote some of the reports and advertisements that are published in the Israeli Arab media. The newspapers of the political party Hadash and its Communist Party wing phrase the issue in the following way: "A notice to members of Hadash who are interested in studying at Jordanian universities in the framework of a benevolent grant from the Jordanian king." In the Balad party, they hide the charitable acts of the Hashemite king and phrase the advertisement to their members this way: "The national democratic alliance, Balad, offers Jordanian grants," which is followed by details of the subjects that can be studied and the number of places that have been allocated to the members.
It is not only on political parties that the royal favors are bestowed but also on the leaders of religious groups. This transpires from the advertisement published by the Supreme Druze Religious Council in which interested students are asked to apply to them via email, fax or telephone in order to enjoy the charitable grants of His Majesty.
No one has singled out this royal corruption for public discussion and I have reasonable grounds to assume that it has been silently acquiesced to by the various Israeli governments since it serves other hidden aims of the authorities. On the one hand, the political parties depict themselves as caring for the members of the public, something which can help them at election time; in a similar fashion the "spiritual" leaderships, which are convenient for the government and hold the taps to the Jordanian royal favors in their hands, strengthen their "political" hold on the sheep of their flock. And through these gifts, the Jordanian monarch buys the political and religious leaderships of the Arab public in Israel.
In this way, the authorities both in Israel and in Jordan buy quiet. By shutting its eyes to Jordanian benevolence, the Israeli government frees itself of the obligation to provide opportunities for higher learning for the Arab public. For its part, the Hashemite kingdom buys itself allies within Israeli parties and within Arab society in Israel. This quiet finds expression in the fact that both the partisan and the other Arab press in Israel is devoid of any criticism of the Jordanian monarchy, its policies and its corrupt ways.
The damaging toll this takes on the Arab public in Israel is far greater. It destroys the political leadership, weakens Arab society in Israel and frees the Israeli government of the need to provide higher learning opportunities for Arab youth. Not a squeal of protest is heard. On the contrary, all of this is achieved in complete, easily-bought silence.
Published: Opinions-Haaretz, Oct. 5, 2012
For Hebrew, press here