One way to earn respect in the Arab world....
Nice to see they admire democracy....wish they'd demand it at home...
The corruption case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has earned Israel tremendous respect throughout the Arab world, where many have called on their leaders to benefit from Israel's democratic system and independent judicial system.
Words of praise for Israel are a rare phenomenon in the Arab media. But judging from the reactions of many Arabs to the corruption case in the past week, the trend appears to have changed.
Even some Arabs who describe themselves as "sworn enemies of the Zionist entity" have begun singing praise for Israel.
Over the past week, the corruption case against Olmert received wide coverage in the mainstream Arab media, prompting an outcry about the need for transparency and accountability in the Arab world.
"Show me one Arab or Islamic country where a prime minister or a senior government official was ever questioned for financial corruption or bribery," said a reader who identified himself only as Majed.
Majed, like many others, was responding to a news story on an Arab Web site about the testimony in court of American philanthropist Morris Talansky, who told police he had given Olmert more than $150,000 in cash over the course of some 14 years.
Another reader, Sami, commented: "The Israeli regime with all its defects is better than all the Arab 'democracies' and still changes ministers and governments every few years."
A Saudi national named Abdel Karim urged his Arab brethren to stop criticizing Israel and learn something about its democracy. "Before we curse Israel, we must learn from the democratic and judicial system in Israel, where no one is above the law," he wrote.
Khaled, another Saudi national, chimed in: "Although we are talking about Israel, which I have always hated very much, there is still no one above the law there."
Mahmoud al-Bakili of Yemen posted the following response on one of the Web sites: "We want this kind of accountability and transparency in the Arab and Islamic world."
And there was this comment from an Arab who described himself as a Syrian Voice: "Despite my strong hatred for the Zionist regime, I have a lot of admiration and respect for this entity because there is no one above the law. In the Arab world, laws are broken every day and no one seems to care."
Egyptian writer Abdel Aziz Mahmoud said he doesn't believe the day will ever come when an Arab leader will be put on trial for sexual harassment or financial corruption.
"I don't think we will live to see the day when the police interrogate an Arab leader for sexually harassing his secretary or receiving bribes," he wrote. "Nor will our children and grandchildren live to see that day. What happened in Israel can never happen in any Arab country."