Watch and enjoy, by Uri Dan [pg. 15]

The spectacle of two self-appointed righteous civil servants mud-wrestling.

I once witnessed a mud wrestling show in a nightclub in Hamburg, featuring a number of white-skinned lovelies clad only in bikinis. They sprang, one pair after another, into a wrestling pool filled with mud, and the two curvaceous women went at each other until nothing was visible of them but their blazing eyes. The crowd roared each time anew at this disgusting Teutonic wrestling spectacle. This popular display held in Hamburg's red-light Reeperbahn district came to mind in view of the mud-wrestling match going on between State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss and Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander. This time I am enjoying the show. An episode of A Wonderful Country is peanuts compared to the mud-wrestling display being put on by these two gentlemen. I believe everything the state comptroller has to say about the Civil Service commissioner, and vice versa - everything Hollander has to say in response to Lindenstrauss. The power they have been given has blinded both of them, and now I have to admit that I am getting a real kick out of their mutual mudslinging. No one else could have exposed the deeds of these two officials, the last members of the self-appointed righteous, better than their own words and actions. They belong to a rare breed of sacred cow - a cadre of public officials in key positions who ostensibly oversee public norms and proper governance - but who do whatever they like in their conviction that only they have that license, that they have the last word, that they are immune. These feudal lords are usually careful to safeguard the rule of quid pro quo - you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. NOT ONLY are high-level civil servants dependant on them, but so are the ever-changing ministers, who would be wise not to vex them, lest Hollander refuse to authorize an appointment to this job or that during the 10 years in which he has served with an iron hand as Civil Service Emperor; or lest, heaven forfend, they fall into the hands of the Grand Inquisitor Lindenstrauss, who if he does not hand his victim of the day over to the attorney-general on the way to a police investigation that usually ends with a whimper rather than a bang, may write a "public report" about them that permanently blackens the name of his target, with no possibility of redress. The worst thing about the current state comptroller is that his ego has been so over-inflated by kowtowing reporters that he dared to counter the protests of his ostensible victim Hollander by stating that it is unheard of to oversee the overseer, to control the comptroller, to guard the guardians of justice and find fault with them. In other words, the state comptroller, to say nothing of the scandalous wage scale of his assistants-executioners is above and beyond all criticism. Some try to paint a false and distorted picture claiming that corruption has taken over the police top brass, the upper ranks of government, some parts of the security establishment, and that only here and there do there remain untouched islands of righteous professionals - such as in the media, for example, or in the key positions that deal with governmental integrity, such as the office of the state comptroller and the Civil Service commissioner. We should thank the two mud wrestlers for exposing to the public the unvarnished truth regarding the distortion and corruption that can be their lot too, at the top, among those that profess to be the last of the just. The former judge Lindenstrauss did the right thing when he revealed how Hollander made improper appointments, including of his own longtime personal assistant, Edna Alfasi. And it was a rare pleasure to hear Hollander relating how the Comptroller-Inquisitor did not hesitate to use a lawyer who had been fired by Hollander in the past as his secret agent Civil Service commissioner's office. Both officials must go home. Naked in the mud, they have displayed norms that we might expect to see in less enlightened regimes. This is the time to carry out a thorough housecleaning in this club of the righteous. It has a number of other members who are no more than public officials whose enormous power has blinded and corrupted them.