Remember the flap over the appointment of new rabbinic judges in the state system of rabbinic courts? Basically what happened is Shas and United Torah Judaism, the two haredi political parties, the first under the control of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the second under the control of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, chose the judges in backroom sessions. They gave 6 appointments to Shas, 6 to UTJ, and left 3 for Modern Orthodox-National Religious and the rest of the Israeli public to fight over. The people appointed by the haredim lacked credentials. They were not qualified to be rabbinic judges and were in most cases close friends of the leaders of both parties – the son of Ovadia Yosef's doctor, the son of the rabbi of the Western Wall (himself a close confidant of Rabbi Elyashiv), etc. And only one had legal training.
Tzohar, a group of moderate National religious rabbis, filed a petition to have the appointments voided, citing irregularities in the process, and the clear cronyism of its results. Others filed similar positions as well.
Today, Attorney general Menachem Mazuz stepped in and ordered the appointments voided, basing himself on the irregularities of the process and the lack of qualifications of the appointees.
I'm afraid what will happen, though, is a simple reappointment of the same candidates. The haredi-controlled Rabbinate already retroactively granted these men "qualifications," in hope that would stop Mazuz. It did not do so, because Mazuz rejected the post-facto credentialing of the candidates. Of course, if the process starts all over again, these men now posses "credentials."
This behavior, the idea that anything we do is correct because we are correct and everyone else who is not haredi is wrong, this circular, twisted, disingenuous and criminal logic, is a symptom of a greater malaise. The corruption in the haredi world is truly mind boggling. From covering up child abuse and protecting abusers to rampant welfare fraud and other forms of theft, corruption has become the norm, not the exception.
Why is this so? I believe because the haredi world runs without accountability. Leaders are bestowed, not elected, and the masses have little say. Democracy and freedom of information are foreign concepts. Nothing is transparent. As such, haredim are overly depended on leaders' good intentions, something Jewish law and common sense warns against.
Leaders are only human. They become corrupted by power and sometimes by money. They bequeath their corruption to their children and students, who bequeath it to theirs.
Nothing will change in the haredi community until transparency and good governance are the rule, not the exception. And I fear this will only happen when governments, sick of being ripped off and lied to, use the judicial powers in their hands to root out haredi criminal leadership.
Will this happen? Maybe not. But it should. And maybe, just maybe, one day it will.