While politicians on the Left and Right slammed former prime minister Ehud
Olmert following the verdict acquitting him of most of his corruption charges,
those closest to him – friends and Kadima MKs – blamed the prosecution for
“Some say [State Attorney] Moshe Lador should consider
resigning, but I think he should commit suicide,” Amnon Dankner, a close friend
of Olmert, said on Tuesday. “In Japan, he would perform harakiri [ritual
suicide] over something like this. He made an Israeli government fall, a prime
minister resign and changed the lives of millions of Israelis – in my opinion
for the worse.”
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz congratulated Olmert on his
acquittal and praised his service to the state as the party’s leader and prime
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attempted to give a
non-partisan response, saying he had full faith in Israel’s judicial system and
welcomed the news of Olmert’s exoneration on two of the three counts against
Meanwhile, Kadima MKs sought ways to avenge Olmert’s name from
within the Knesset.
MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) demanded that the Knesset
State Control Committee review the conduct of the State Attorney’s Office’s in
“When the state attorney’s work is done unprofessionally
and hurriedly, shaking up the whole country for no reason and removing a prime
minister, it is important to make sure there were no political motives [behind
the] indictments,” Hasson stated.
Knesset State Control Committee
chairman Uri Ariel (National Union) agreed that the State Attorney’s Office must
be examined, saying today is the panel’s Yom Kippur – or day of reckoning – and
there were serious oversights.
At the same time, Ariel called Olmert’s
conviction of breach of trust a “black stain on Israel and a crisis in the
public’s faith in its leadership and elected representatives.”
Schneller (Kadima) floated the idea of resubmitting his “French Bill,” which is
similar to a law in France that forbids the prosecution of an elected official
while he or she is in office. Schneller proposed the bill during the previous
Knesset but was told by the Justice Ministry that it would block it.
hope that this time, the Justice Ministry will show some modesty and understand
that the good of the country comes before the need to hold a trial,” the Kadima
MK said. “Stability is important.”
Moshe Feiglin, leader of the Manhigut
Yehudit faction in Likud, also accused the State Attorney’s Office of misusing
its power, saying that “bureaucrats terrorize prime ministers and elected
ministers, leading them to resign. This contradicts the idea of
Feiglin, like Schneller, said a law should be passed giving
sitting ministers immunity from investigations and trials.
a statement saying that it seeks to “strengthen former prime minister Ehud
Olmert and his family following the great suffering they underwent in recent
Left-wing leaders were not as forgiving.
“For the first
time in Israel, a prime minister was convicted of breach of trust,” opposition
leader Shelly Yechimovich pointed out. “The police, the State Attorney’s Office
and the courts must continue treating prime ministers, presidents and others
with political and economic power as they do with regular
According to Yechimovich, Israelis should be proud of the
Olmert conviction, because justice is done with the most powerful citizens, as
well as others.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said that the former prime
minister’s conviction on even one count is “very serious,” and he must stay away
from politics for the rest of his life.
“The verdict describes a corrupt
politician that used power in order to make him and his friends rich,” she
added. “His acquittal of crimes does not mean he is a moral person with values,
and we should not try to launder corrupt behavior.”
Shama-Hacohen (Likud) scoffed at “the media and [Olmert’s] friends who are
celebrating as though he won the Nobel Prize,” pointing out that the former
prime minister was still convicted of breach of trust.
“Some said Lador
should kill himself, but it looks like shame committed suicide today,” he
Fellow Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely said that “everyone surrounding
former prime minister Olmert continues to be convicted, while he continues to
evade convictions. The time has come to punish the person who stands at the top
of the pyramid of corruption and not his messengers.”
MK Zevulun Orlev
(Habayit Hayehudi) said that Olmert’s acquittal on most of the corruption
charges “encourages corruption in the government, Knesset and local authorities,
because it was proven they can escape convictions, and crime pays.”