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And all of this over a mere $1.5 million, a loan that was repaid in full. Compare this to the many millions of dollars created for Mitzna’s contractor cronies while Mitzna was mayor of Haifa. Compare this with Mitzna’s stonewalling and refusal to disclose who made contributions to his “Katom” election fund, or Mitzna’s refusal to disclose which contractors are funding him now and which favors they were promised in exchange.
The press is making a big deal out of the fact that, when questioned about the Kern loan, Sharon had stated that he had mortgaged his ranch to raise the money to repay the campaign contributions. He did not technically record any lien against the ranch in the land registry for Kern. If he had, then it would have been an ordinary mortgage, with no bending of the truth.
I suppose Sharon might have indicated informally to Kern, as a gentleman’s agreement, that Kern could regard the Sharon ranch as his collateral, and no doubt Kern would have responded along the lines of tut tut, pshaw pshaw.
And as a matter of fact, such an informal agreement, if not denied by either party, is valid and is a lien and so can be considered a “mortgage.” The leftist press regards all this as Third World corruption, as high crimes and misdemeanors without precedent.
Was Sharon Ivory Clean in all this? Of course not. Is he tainted with at least some bit of sleaze? Of course he is. The Likud is a mildly corrupt and totally incompetent political party. But Israeli elections are invariably about choosing between incompetence and survival.
Other than a single scoop (in Maariv earlier this month) on Mitzna’s ties with Gad Zeevi, the press has been thunderously silent about sleaze in the Mitzna campaign and about Mitzna’s highly questionable dealings as mayor of Haifa. It is as if a code of Mafia-style omerta has settled around Mitzna like a protective Honor Cloud, erected by the totalitarian Israeli Hebrew press. The scandal about Peres’s Labor Party comrade Yossi Ginnosar’s money laundering for the PLO? Not even in small print on the back page!
The real scandal in all this? The real corruption? It is the totalitarian hegemony and misuse of the Israeli Hebrew press for partisan purposes.
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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