Oración concerniente a la corrupción cultural

Shani Ferguson
Por Shani Ferguson
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Former Israeli Knesset member, Ariyeh Deri, attends religious event.

Do you have a political figure who makes your nose crinkle every time you hear their name? For many non-religious Israelis on the left and right, that name would be Ariyeh Deri. Most people outside of Israel have never heard of Ariyeh Deri, though having controlled the Ministry of Interior on and off for years he has had much influence on who can and can’t receive citizenship or even enter the country for that matter.

As the leader of “Shas”—the largest ultra-Orthodox political party—Deri is best known for his convictions of fraud and accepting bribes resulting in prison time in the early 2000’s. He got out a year early based on good behavior. As soon as Deri became eligible for public office again, he promptly ejected Eli Yishai (whom Deri considered a mere placeholder in his absence) and Shas was reelected by the loyal block in the religious sector—with Deri at the helm. Apparently, Deri didn’t learn his lesson and found himself in court again last year for money laundering and tax evasion. His plea deal included paying over $50,000 in fines and committing to staying out of the public sector for 7 years. It’s worth noting he is currently 63 years old.

Unfortunately for those who love justice and integrity, though Deri signed the deal, he had no intention of giving up the reins of power. In a press conference following the signing he explained that while he technically will resign from public office he will remain chairman and serve as an “advisor” to his political party—meaning his stepping down from public office will only be on paper.

Many are concerned about the precedent this sets for convicted politicians to be able to “weasel” out of punishment—and of course, creates questions as to the requirements of Netanyahu’s potential plea deal that is still being worked through.

Concerning Cultural Corruption:

In a yearly CPI (Corruption Perception Index) report for 2021 Israel scored 59 out of a possible 100 points, sinking to 36th place out of 180 countries and indicating a manifestation of corruption inside the public sector. The score is measured by diversion of public funds, bribery and general lack of transparency within the public sector. Israel’s score has dropped one point every year for the past several years.

If you have visited Israel, you may remember it for its cultural warmth and a sense of family. This is because of the tribal nature of Israeli culture—which on one hand can be very generous, welcoming and loving and on the other hand offers many opportunities of under the table deals and back room favors, that can lead to corruption. Living in this country one knows that a “no” doesn’t always have to stay a “no” and “yes” does not always remain a “yes”—the boundaries can be quite flexible depending on how creative you are and how good your personal connections are. We even have a word for it, because when there is no way—there’s almost always a “kombeena.” Walk up to any Israeli and ask them what the word “kombeena” means and you will most likely get a mischievous smile and chuckle as we all know the rules don’t apply when you can do a “kombeena.”


On one hand, we are encouraged to be as shrewd as serpents and harmless as doves—clever, but within God’s boundaries. The problem is when a culture that lacks morals and the fear of God functions with the flexibility of the “kombeena,” corruption becomes an inevitability. It also serves as a warning to all of us that trying to fix problems and deal with situations within our own power—without considering God’s laws and rules as our guide—can only result in eventual disaster.

  • Father, You are the most clever of us all—outsmarting the enemy at every turn and planning Your grand finale before the story even began.
  • You have ordained Israel to be a blessing to the world. We thank You for the creative nature in which Israelis solve problems.
  • So many startups from Israel have found solutions to significant problems around the world. Continue to give them supernatural insights on how to solve problems—but do it in a way that gives You the credit.
  • Because of their desire to be pure and innocent before You, many believers in Israel are easy prey for corrupt business deals—give them boldness and clarity of mind to be shrewd like the world is and still hold Your banner of integrity high.
  • Father, You see how many in Israel use their cleverness for evil and self-gain. Place blockades in their paths. Expose the corrupt deeds and conversations to those who are in position to bring justice.
  • Your Word is like fire—place this fire in the hearts of powerful media players—so speaking the truth will be the most important factor in the stories they tell.
  • You promised to cleanse the hearts of Israelis on Your own terms:

And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, «The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodiness from Jacob and this will be My covenant with them when I take away their sins.» (Rom 11:26-27)

Fulfill Your promise in our day!

  • Purify the hearts of Your people so they will long to walk in Your ways. May Israel become known as a land of truth and integrity—where the Spirit of the Living God dwells among a people.
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