The recent conviction of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on graft charges has many in the Arab world salivating over what they once again realize is the region’s only true democracy.
Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh noted in a recent analysis for the Gatestone Institute that corruption is so rampant in the Arab world that today it is the norm, and many see emulating Israel as the only way out of this oppressive phenomenon.
“The…decision to send former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to six years in prison for corruption has prompted calls in the Arab world for endorsing Israel’s standards of accountability, transparency and justice,” Abu Toameh reported.
He commenters on mainstream Arabic media websites, such as:
Abu Zeid, Al-Arabiya: “I live in Israel and am familiar with its laws. In this state, no
one is above the law.”
Yasalam, Al-Aan: “If Olmert were in Kuwait, his case would have been shelved and he would have received a senior position in government.”
Saad Sayad, Arabic CNN: “Law is above all and this is real democracy. Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East.”
Even the Palestinian Authority struck an envious tone.
“This verdict provides further evidence that the judicial system in Israel
is fully independent in the wake of the separation between the legislative,
executive and judicial authorities, as well as total freedom of the media,” wrote Sufian Abu Zayda, a senior member of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction.
But Abu Toameh, who himself is supportive of Israel, was quick to point out that these views do not mark a shift in the traditional anti-Israel positions of most in the Arab world.
As Sami Dirani, a commenter on Al-Hayat, stated: “Israel is the enemy of the Arabs…but it practices democracy - something the Arabs do not know. That is why Israel is stronger and more advanced than the Arabs, who are busy slaughtering each other. Some
[Arabs] are dying of starvation, while others are swimming in pools of dollars.”