Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Begin - A True Ascetic

Found here:-

The corruption at the top of Israeli politics, now almost endemic, quite frankly started with the Rabins, Yitzhak and Leah. The previous prime ministers had been—how to say it?—well, they were actually true ascetics. David Ben Gurion, who lived out his life with his books on his Spartan kibbutz Sde Boker. The Zionist diplomat Moshe (Shertok) Sharett. Levi Eshkol who made Israel productive but not himself prosperous. Golda Meir, who had many passions (she loved music, actually cello music, and she had many lovers) but not for style or cash.

And, then, of course, Menachem Begin, a true ascetic (whom Henry Rosovsky, David Landes and Michael Walzer visited in 1970 in his three-room "English basement" apartment where he had hidden from the pre-state British Mandate police and where he died.) These were austere people.

And, then, suddenly came Leah and Yitzhak, high livers who in a country still alienated from high living cut their swath. Rabin's first term as prime minister was cut short by a petty (actually utterly insignificant) banking scandal. On this count, the rest is history. No one could swear that Israel has had a pecuniarily honest p.m. since.
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