Some of the most popular stories in Eastern European Jewish folklore are the tales of Chelm, a town populated by fools. Several news items this week convinced me that I am living there. Certainly they give cause to doubt the mental ability of those navigating the Ship of State. How, for example, can one explain why it is that the Israeli Government cannot find the money to fortify homes in Sderot against the regular barrage of mortar fire and Qassam rockets emanating from the Gaza Strip (otherwise known as Hamasland), but has just authorized the transfer of funds to Gaza, where the banks were supposedly on the point of collapse, in order to pay salaries to (Palestinian) government employees (in other words, Hamas terrorists)?
Why is it that kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has spent over 900 days in captivity in the hands of the Hamas terrorists, and our government has been apparently unable to come to an agreement with his captors over which murderers to release in exchange for his freedom, and yet saw fit, not for the first time either, to release dozens of convicted terrorists from Israeli gaols as a "gesture of goodwill" to Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), who gives us nothing in return and who even has the hutzpa to complain that more should have been released?
And from the national to the personal level. Why is it that the Minister for Homeland Security is constantly making speeches about how the fight against organized crime is going to be stepped up, and the police budget will therefore be increased accordingly, but when it comes to putting criminals on trial, prosecutors such as myself often have to work without even the most basic equipment? For example, there are four internet terminals in my department, for direct contact with the courts. First and foremost, they serve for downloading the daily Cause Lists, as well as checking and printing out copies of summonses to defendants and witnesses, (without which, there is no way of proving that a defendant or witness who doesn’t put in an appearance received a legal summons). Of the four, one has no printer, another (the newest) does have a printer, but the printer isn’t connected to the computer (it was connected, but there was some problem and it is now disconnected), a third, in the Library, is connected to the printer but there is a problem with the internet connection so it has nothing to print, while the fourth has a printer which doesn’t work, because it is out of toner. You might think, (as I did) – no problem, order more toner. Unfortunately, since the equipment with which the Powers That Be see fit to provide us is so ancient, hardly anyone supplies the necessary cartridges any more, and acquiring the right kind of ink therefore requires what is almost a military operation!
It’s enough to send even the sanest person flying over the Cuckoo’s Nest.