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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ehud Korruption Olmert

A lot of you may be wondering what the "K" in Ehud K. Olmert stands for. This morning, it seems to stand for a mis-spelling of corruption. A survey released yesterday shows that nearly eighty-five percent of the Israeli public thinks that the country's leadership is corrupt. The other fifteen percent are apparently doing an ostrich imitation. When you get down to the details, the Dahaf poll results are even worse:
Seven percent said that the leaders of the far-right National Union-National Religious Party were not corrupt, while an equal percentage believes that the leadership of far-left Meretz Party is untainted by corruption.

Five percent said that Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party was not corrupt, while an equal percentage said the same about the leaders of the Pensioner's Party.

Only 3% said the leaders of the Labor Party were not corrupt while a mere 1% said the leaders of the ruling Kadima Party were not tainted by corruption, the survey found.

Sixty-five percent of those polled said that the bribery suspicions involving senior tax authority officials are well founded, while 18% said the opposite.
Anyone know of another country outside the third world with statistics this bad? I don't. And the public's feelings are well-founded.

On Tuesday night, Israel's Channel 10 cable news reported that Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has given orders to the police to open investigations into three separate criminal matters relating to Olmert upon Olmert's return from China. The three criminal matters relate to:
1. The sale of the government's controlling interest in Bank Leumi in 2005 when Olmert was Finance Minister. Olmert allegedly broke the law in favor of his friends, Daniel Abrams and Frank Louie – with whom he conducted, directly and indirectly, a relationship which allegedly involved bribery.

2. Illegal political appointments in the Israel Small and Medium Enterprises Authority during his term as Minister of Industry and Finance.

3. Olmert's Olmert’s association with Attorney Uri Messer, who was a partner in his law firm until 1988. Messer conducted the negotiations for Olmert’s purchase of a luxury apartment on Cremieux Street in Jerusalem, in which Olmert received a $320,000 discount on the apartment in exchange for expediting construction permits.
YNet reported yesterday that 'officials' in the Ministry of Justice have stated that if an investigation is opened against Olmert, he ought to suspend himself as Justice Minister Haim Ramon (currently under investigation for kissing a female soldier and likely to get off because it was apparently consensual) has done, and as Avigdor Lieberman (who is not serving as internal security minister) has done, since Olmert's position is a law enforcement position.
The justice source told Ynet that, both from a public and legal perspective, Olmert has no choice but to suspend himself from duty. This is in accordance with the philosophy that the head of a government authority related to law enforcement, such as Justice Minister or Internal Security Minister, cannot serve while being investigated.

As such, "(Chaim) Ramon and (Avigdor) Lieberman's situation applies to the prime minister also. He stands at the top of the executive and administrative pyramids."

It should be recalled that Lieberman was unable to serve as Internal Security Minister because of the investigation against him. Likewise, Ramon suspended himself from the position of Justice Minister upon his indictment.

The PM's obligation to the public also serves as a deciding factor, the source said: "Leaders need to constitute a personal example and a symbol."


According to the source, "someone who has such a black cloud hanging over him, can't led a country, since he will be busy defending his name and distracted, instead of ruling a country and its immediate needs."

Another justice source told Ynet that Israel is faced with a difficult situation: Although there is a precedent for prime ministers not to suspend themselves from office, not doing so "could cause a widespread judicial crisis."
In China, Olmert said that he is 'certain' of his 'innocence' in the Bank Leumi affair. He apparently did not comment on the other two affairs under investigation. He also apparently called to encourage his longtime Chief of Staff, Shula Zaken, who is under investigation in the Tax Authority scandal:
"I called only to strengthen her. It is unfit that a prime minister should respond to the investigation beyond this."
Especially when the Prime Minister was the Finance Minister at the time of the events covered by the scandal, and was likely the recipient of some of the alleged bribes.



At 12:30 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I thought it was an amusing play on Dr Seuss's Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


The original was (and if you follow the link under Ehud K. Olmert, that is what you will find).

But this morning it appears that the K quite definitely stands for Korruption, in a big way.


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