The people who brought the world the story of David and Bathsheba are still at it.
As we must be, having perpetuated ourselves for 3,000 years.
Israeli media are concerned with hanky panky at high places.
The police has become known as one large love nest, especially for aging and overweight senior officers who are turned on by young lovelies lucky or unlucky enough to be in their command.
The new chief was chosen from outside the force, is said to be a moralist who keeps hands to himself except when dealing with really bad people, and has committed himself to cleaning the stables.
The IDF has had similar problems.
Media personalities have entered a nasty spotlight, and lost their jobs as a result.
Aging professors also do their share, filling the news with spicy reports about masked identities, and eventually names when they lose distinguished positions.
The latest stories are about the Minister of Interior and long time aspirant for higher office, who had been a candidate for President in the most recent election for that office.
And let's not forget our former President, serving a term somewhere other than the Presidential Residence for rape and other offenses.
Some of the stories are hard to judge. A senior cop and the Minister of Interior have been accused on Facebook, but their accusers have so far declined to submit formal complaints to the police. One accuser is quoted as saying she is afraid of confronting the powerful man who was her boss, but is willing to testify if a complaint from someone else gets to court.
Such cases produce a great deal of news, but limited actions by the police. Without formal complaints or a willingness to testify, the police can inquire but not investigate. Formal charges may not occur, but careers have ended.
One story surfaced about verbal harassment that was said to have occurred five years ago. It involved a police officer who has since reached a senior position, and was made public not by his accuser, but by another senior police officer who seemed to be using the story in order to gain an advantage in police politics against the man being accused.
Other stories are more serious than verbal harassment, or comments about breasts, legs, or tuchus. Higher on the scale are complaints about persistent touching, or--in one story about the current Minister of Interior--putting a hand under the skirt of a woman who said that she didn't want the hand there.
Feminist activists, not all of whom are female, insist that the process is fair, but not sufficiently severe.
Some are at least a bit disturbed by what seems like trial by mob.
Commentators are speculating on the Minister's resignation from politics. The Minister's wife is a prominent media personality, and she has threatened to "out" the doubtful reputations of the women complaining about her husband.
This story may have legs. The Legal Adviser to the Government is considering asking the police to begin an investigation.
It isn't only men in the spotlight. There is a current story about a female high school teacher said to have taken advantage of a male student. It appears to be the lad's parents who complained. We haven't heard from the victim.
Somewhere in my memory is the figure of 10 percent, as the proportion of men who complain about sexual harassment. Some of their complaints are directed against other men.
One should be careful in claiming that Israelis are more bothered or fascinated with sex, or the rights of women (or men) to say no.
The virtual scrapbook that I carried away from my American years includes stories of academic colleagues who lost prestigious positions on account of pressures from below the waist.
And not all our concern with sex deals with violations of morality or good sense by those in high positions. There is a substantial list of comics and story tellers--some of them Jews--who have made a living while amusing or enlightening the rest of us.
The Rabbis who created Judaism via the Talmud also dealt with the subject. Those whose Aramaic is deficient can find an English version of the Tractate Bava Kamma, and go to page 27a. You'll find a deliberation about responsibility that employs what seems to be a hypothetical story of a naked man working on a roof, who falls off and by chance penetrates sexually a naked woman lying nearby. The question for the Rabbis concerns his responsibility for compensation due to different kinds of harm. The apparent conclusion is that he must pay for physical damage, pain, and medical expenses, but not the victim's embarrassment, insofar as he did not intend to do it.
Against the prominence of David's story in the Hebrew Bible is the role of virgin birth in the New Testament. This may have something to do with other differences between Judaism and Christianity. While religious Jews seek to be fruitful and multiply, celibacy has an honorable role in Christianity.
The current incidence of sex stories may have something to do with a welcomed lull in more violent stuff. In recent days we're down to only a few daily knifings, shootings, or assaults by car, and the level of damage is heavily tilted against the attackers. One occurred at a building site, where a Palestinian worker attacked the project manager with a hammer, and was subdued and held by other Palestinian workers until the police came. In contrast to a month ago, the media is not obsessed to the point where each attack has a reporter on the scene, overriding other programs by lengthy interviews with witnesses, police, and emergency medical personnel.
Commentators are arguing who should get first treatment on account of Palestinian violence, with some saying that the priority should be given to the most seriously injured, even if he or she is the attacker. Others begin their response with the charge of Nonsense.
Iran is still out there, along with Putin, the Syrians and Turks. We're also arguing about the details of who'll get what from Israel's gas field, and if anyone will get anything if the opponents tie things up for years in the courts. Obama, Trump, and others also provide their bits of entertainment.
It isn't all about sex, especially for those of us in our late 70s..
For us are the last stories about David, in the first chapter of I Kings. Abishag is the star, a beautiful virgin assigned to warm the bed of the old king who could no longer function as in earlier stories. Bathsheba is still active, now working to assure that her son Solomon will get the throne.
Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem