If you believe Israeli journalist, Jonathan Ariel, it is…

The sad fact is that over the past decade we have increasingly become a third world country. We have adopted and accepted third world business and social ethics. We allowed the political establishment to gut our society while, at the same time allowing it to create a situation in which more and more wealth flowed into fewer and fewer hands, till we reached our current situation in which around two score families control over two thirds of the GDP.

The fact that the IDF displayed so many third world symptoms during the war, primarily regarding its logistical capabilities, should therefore not be so surprising. Third world ethical norms produce a third world society. A third world society leads to a third world army.

We cannot afford to accept this state of affairs. Already it is clear that a new war, likely against Syria and Iran as well as their proxy Hezbollah, is in the offing.

If we are to rebuild the IDF as a first world army, we have to rebuild ourselves as a first world society. This means accountability, an end to ethical corner-cutting, and zero tolerance for corruption and politicians’ shenanigans. Accountability starts by admitting that when you vote for a party or leader that you know to be corrupt, you become a collaborator to that corruption.

How sickening! While volumes have been written in the Israeli press about the resouding defeat suffered at the hands of Hizbullah within Israel there have been scant words of sympathy for the victims – if you count 1300 innocent Lebanese as victims- who were slaughtered in their homes, sheltering in basements or fleeing their towns waving white sheets to show they were civilians, a third were children, by the army that displayed “third world symptoms.”

The article shows the moral bankruptcy at the heart of the intellectual and political class. The author opines that “third world ethical norms” have led to a third world army – he wants to believe that the reason Israel was defeated by a 3000 strong guerilla group belonging to one of the world’s poorest countries is because Israel has been weakend through corruption.

The term “third world” is usually used in such a derogatory term, as if corruption were the exclusive trait of African dictatorships for instance, as if oligarchies only exist in the developing world. But here the author is happy to stick the knife into the Israeli psyche and twist it a bit for effect. As if Israel and “third world” would never the twain meet if it were not for the failure of Israeli leaders because the vast majority of people who make up the planet exist in the “third world” in squalor and invariably have brown skin. One can almost hear the “Noooooooooo…” going up in the hive mind of Israel.

Ariel airily blames privitization for the corruption he sees all around but as an afterthought he would like to remind his paymasters that neo-liberalims is a good thing if is implemented properly. He remains blind to the failure of neo-liberalism in Venezuela for instance. He claims ahistorically that it is only because Israel’s privatized companies fell into the hands of an oligarchy that Israel is now no different from the “third world!” Nowhere is it even suggested that perhaps the military is draining the nation with its ever increasing budgets that put a huge burdern on the ordinary citizens of Israel. In the meantime, ordinary citizens are truly shaken by the revelation that all their sacrifice of life and handing over of the public services to the oligarchy these past few years has given birth to a “third world” army that cannot defeat a 3000 strong force of militias in one of the world’s poorest countries. Who will keep them safe? While Israeli society gets to terms with this, the world’s fourth strongest military has gone back to doing what it does best, aggressively killing stone-throwers and starving Palestinians as if to apply a salve to the wounds defeat has wrought in their psyche.

Already, Ariel is talking up the next war even while he casts around for something or someone to pin the blame on. In the end, he settles for blaming all of Israel for allowing Israel to sink into such a dissolute state of corruption and nationalistic pschopathology. Who cares about the Lebanese victims, Israel must lick its wounds and make its army worthy of that next war to ensure that there can be no mistaking the victory when it comes.

Israeli citizens have already been warned to prepare for stinging cuts to public expenditure to rearm and modernize its army. It is the ordinary Israeli that suffers when the bankruptcy at the heart of their leadership is incapable of existing on anything but a war footing with its hostile neighbours. Those neighbours are hostile for a valid reason. Let us not forget to mourn the lives of the victims who were cut down by this sickness even if Jonathan Ariel finds such sentiments stick in his throat.

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