The Israeli press is having a day at the park with the Morris Talansky affair, but the bigger issue at stake here, which is the truly problematic and truly tainted picture of Israel/Diaspora relations it reflects, is largely ignored by us here in Israel. This relationship – which has faced multiple rough points recently, including the conversion issues – is, I believe, nearing its breaking point, the one at which the rhetoric which props it up will no longer be able to stand.

Zionism is anti-diaspora. By definition, Jews should not be living in a strange land. Just like Germans living in Russia, they should “come home” and be “repatriated”. They shouldn’t waste their lives and loyalties on “foreign lords”. Their highest loyalty should be to their home country, which is Israel.

Israel, on the other hand, is pro-diaspora. What an amazing idea – to have thousands of extremely rich people thinking they should be donating money to a government they do not benefit from at all! This is why Israel, which is essentially a rich country, keeps convincing the rich Jewish donors abroad that we have absolutely no money for anything. Our supreme court and parliament were built with money from Yad haNadiv, and so will our national library.

And now, the crunch: Israel needs Zionism to exist, because without ZIonism, Israel as a project (and not as a structure to collect taxes and trash) is sort of stupid, but Israel would also like (and due to gargantuan-scale privatization projects – needs) American cash and handouts.

M. Talansky claims that E. Olmert asked for cash and said that “it was the system”. Talansky tacitly assumed not only that it was indeed the system, and that Israel is a corrupt banana republic in which cash can be handed out to politicians, but that it was his holy duty as a Jew to uphold this corrupt system. Olmert defrauded Talansky by convincing him that the backwards Israeli government has no tax laws and no campaign-finance laws (when in fact we not only have them, but they’re much better than the American ones), and Talansky bought it, because it’s just another facet of the Israeli “poor us we need your handouts” attitude. This from a country with more billionaires than public libraries.

Olmert’s cash-taking and expensive taste are so symptomatic of this: he took “loans” so he could sleep at the Ritz, or buy cigars, or fly first class – all the while explaining to his benefactor Talansky that he needed the money, that it was for “expenses” and that this was “how the system works”.

The vicious circle should be stopped: Israel is not your country, diaspora Jews. It belongs to the Israelis who live in it. Please stop giving our government your money, please stop trying to influence us, and please stop talking about Zionism. Zionists would come live here and pay taxes.