Do "white lies" exist? Can lies be justified? Those answering positively are probably benefiting from the crime. In recent weeks, I reviewed two corruption cases involving the Israeli army. One was monstrous in size (see Israel Spent $3 Billion on Iran Attack); the second was related to the theft of bids by a chief warrant Officer (see "IDF Corruption Case Explodes). The publication of the first case by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was probably the trigger for the second event becoming public. In the second article, I claimed that Olmert had opened the gate for more cases to be exposed, and this is exactly what happened. On February 10, 2013, the IDF admitted telling "white lies" to its donors, mainly American citizens.
By far, the IDF is the largest organization in Israel; no other body has so many employees or such a large budget. Considering this, it is difficult to understand why it should be begging for donations; yet, that is what the IDF does through a complex system of allegedly civilian organizations. The most visible to Israelis was the Shirutrom, the IDF's annual telethon, organized by Galei Tzahal (“IDF Waves” in Hebrew; usually known by the acronym Galatz), the Army Radio. This was so shameful that on October 2012, it was finally cancelled. After its dismissal, three other organizations are still active.
American readers may be familiar with Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), a government-independent American charity established in 1981. As far as their members know, FIDF maintains and constructs sports, cultural, and recreational facilities; in other words, it cares for the IDF soldiers' R&R. Within Israel, two organizations fulfill a similar role. One is Libi, its logo is shown above. Technically, the acronym "Libi" means "For Israel's Security;" however, it also forms the words "My Heart," this is common practice in Hebrew. Technically it is a civilian charity, but its director is chosen by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense. This fund is active mainly in Israel, but it also approaches Jewish communities abroad. In 1989, the State Comptroller recommended closing it; yet, in 2013 it is still operative. The third organization is "HaAguda LeMa'an HaHayal" (roughly "The Union for the Soldier"), which is led by a former general, Avigdor Kahalani. These organizations do the same: they approach Jews and tell them that they need money to build R&R facilities for IDF soldiers. The money is given to Israel's Ministry of Defense, which spends it with immense joy.
Please Define "R&R"
One may not like the IDF methods of operation. One may disagree with the policies of the State of Israel. One may even refuse to accept the legitimacy of that entity. However, until now, one couldn't approach the donors and tell them to please stop because, in their world, they are doing good. Now things have changed.
"Dad, I'm considering a career in organized crime" | "Government or private sector?"
Clumsy as usual in recent times, the IDF fired a nuclear missile on its own headquarters. In early February 2013, it issued a letter to its main donors. Some of the latter, shocked to the core, sent it to the Hebrew media. Haaretz reacted to it on February 10. Naively, the IDF sent a request for donations aimed for the building of R&R facilities. This time it went a little too far in its descriptions. Usually, most of the topic is treated as classified; donors do not know where the facilities are built, or what exactly is built with the money. In an attempt to look friendlier and more open, according to their perception of the times, the IDF authorities disclosed that most of the money is dedicated to the construction of what in Hebrew is known as "basic facilities," namely restrooms, basic health care structures and synagogues. Moreover, the letter was sent also to architects, who were requested to create archetypal structures capable of being copied across the army; with this last touch of brilliance, the IDF made sure that there was no way of retracting the embarrassing letter. American donors have discovered that instead of caring for the IDF soldiers R&R, they have literally thrown their money down the toilet. There is no such a thing as "white lies;" similarly, "good corruption" serves only those getting the money. Can we agree on this, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz?