Do Not Worry, Udi and Shuli – the Prisons are Full

Years ago I knew a chubby and bespectacled accountant who I will call here Ilan Zeituni hoping he will get the joke, and who I used to meet once a week for some evening sport activity. After training sessions we used to sit in a small bar talking about this and that. One evening, after drinking one pint of beer too many, he explained to me with surprising honesty the method he and his clients used to cheat the income tax authority. They would prepare the yearly tax return with great care – every penny of income or expenditure was backed up by detailed invoices and receipts. Every record and calculation was accurate, with each t crossed and i dotted. But when the time came to finally add up all the big sums, they would insert into the calculation a massive ‘finger error’ that would significantly reduce the amount of tax they had to pay. “The tax authority always check,s for days on end, the small details,” the accounted told me, “But in all my years of dealing with this, they never bothered to check the final sums.”

Dear Ilan – I assume you still cheat the income tax authority and that you were not caught yet or I would have read about it in the papers. But do not worry – even if they catch you, the prisons are full. The ridiculous sentence you will receive following the plea bargain your lawyer will cook with the prosecution will anyway be reduced by a third for good behaviour because you are a nice guy who always behaved well, and then they will release you long before the end of your term because the prisons are full. With the years, while the cemeteries were filled with those who built the State of Israel and fought for its survival, the prisons were filled with those who cheated, stole, extorted and assaulted.

And so 620 convicted prisoners came out of prisons yesterday and went home just like that, amongst them some of Israel’s greatest sons. The well-known saint Shlomo Benizri who was convicted of accepting bribes, breach of trust, perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to commit crimes, and who already compared himself to Gilad Shalit who spent 5 years in Hamas captivity in Gaza. The famous builder Boaz Yona who was convicted of fraud in aggravated circumstances, not keeping the orders of the securities law, falsifying corporate records and stealing by proxy. And last but not least – the kind and pleasant Shalom Dumrani, the head of a national crime organisation based in Beer Sheva who’s list of charitable deeds is too long to be detailed here.

Great surprises are not expected in the future – the world will continue behaving as it always did. Shlomo Benizri will return to the political swamp, Boaz Yona will continue to run corporations and Shalom Dumrani will not suddenly repent despite the large Yarmulke he habitually wears during his many appearances in court.  Corruption and crime will continue with hardly any interruptions and whoever will get caught can relax – after the plea bargain, the reduction of a third and the early release, the money they stole will be waiting in the bank. With interest added.

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