The Connections between Israeli Greed and the Existential Threat

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In this article, written against the backdrop of the Holyland real estate scandal and just before Israel's Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, IDI's Yair Sheleg explores the connection between the security situation and hedonistic trends within Israeli society. Mr. Sheleg recommends a new practice that would remind Israeli politicians of the standards and values to which they are expected to adhere.

One of the worst social divides, which is widening in Israeli society, is the inconceivable gap between the heavy price which the defense of the country still commands and the hedonist values that a portion of the elite that leads society has embraced, followed by a substantial portion of the public at large.

This not only relates to outright corruption, such as has been attributed to the main characters in the Holyland case, and not only the political elite. It also applies to the hedonistic values that are not only an expression of actual conduct, but have also become a new kind of explicit ethos. The ultimate legitimate goal is maximizing profits and the pursuit of riches. It's a matter of looking after one's own interests, and the only limitations in the best-case scenario are limits imposed by the law.

The connection between the security situation and social norms involves several aspects..." 

Read the full article on the Haaretz website (Originally posted on April 18, 2010) 

Mr. Yair Sheleg is a Senior Researcher at IDI.