Thursday, May 10, 2012

Trust in Authority? The Harpaz Affair


Sir, - Your editorial concerning the Harpaz Affair, although elegantly worded, nevertheless raises basic issues and concerns of the utmost importance regarding the relationship between the bulk of a nation's citizenship and those in official positions of authority. In democracies, authority is granted as a 'sacred trust' to be used wisely, judiciously, and efficiently in safeguarding the well-being of the populace. The authority granted to the military establishment, by its very nature possesses the power to make decisions of the gravest consequence in matters of life and death. When this trust is breached by the intrusions of ego, private agendas, or partisan politics, the national interest is placed in jeopardy.

The editorial not only informs us of the fact that a heinous invasion of the process in selecting the Chief of Staff has taken place, but also of the fact that the culprits were non-other then the top officers of the military echelons. However, even more worrisome than the afore-mentioned is the probability of an attempted cover-up of this insidious affair by the very agencies who have the responsibility for its investigation.

Of no less gravity, is the similar issue of the relationship between the Police and the civilian population. We were all recently traumatized by the horrendous murder of an innocent father in Beersheba, who went to ask a gang of rowdy youths to stop disturbing the peace of his home and neighborhood. Not only did the police not come when called to the scene, and perhaps could have prevented the murder, but the police officers in charge lied to hide their shameful dereliction. It also must be noted that the initial reaction of the police hierarchy to the widow's testimony to the fact that the police did not arrive at the scene when called, was to accept their mendacious version of the events. The fact of frequent occurrences of police inaction when called to the scene of serious disturbances, and then being untruthful about the events, is unfortunately well known in many communities throughout Israel, and not only corrodes the trust in the Police, but does serious violence to our ability to maintain the basic elements of a civil society.

ZEV CHAMUDOT
Petach Tikva

[Image credit: Chris Potter]