Sir, – Any pleas for mercy for Ehud Olmert, convicted and sentenced for graft and corruption (“Olmert sentenced to 6 years in jail,” May 14), should fall on deaf ears. Where are the vast amounts of illegal money he obtained out of sheer greed? In my opinion, his conviction should address not only his involvement with the monumental Holyland scandal, but, just as importantly, with other sordid real estate developments scattered throughout Jerusalem, which are possibly just the tip of the iceberg.
A political opportunist, Olmert abused the trust and stole the confidence that many of his constituents had for him. He defied our justice system and manipulated our weak and substandard political system. His corrupt conduct and irreversible decisions, combined with his incompetent leadership, have led to incalculable damage, sorrow and loss for Jerusalem residents, the Israeli people and Diaspora Jewry.
Our plea should be for this characterless, self-serving individual to be put away for many years.
JACK DAVIS Jerusalem
Sir, – Prevention is always better than cure, and while heavy sentences might discourage local authority heads from corruption, there is no comparison to the drastic changes that would be brought about by introducing serious checks and balances.
Local authority heads are entrusted with unlimited powers, which is the real reason that over 60 of them have been under police investigation. Local councils, under the present system, are powerless in controlling these leaders’ actions and, other than setting taxes, budgets and a few key appointments, cannot act as a typical board of directors.
We would do well to recall the words of Lord Acton: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
DAVID GOSHEN Kiryat Ono
Sir, – Lawyers are taught to use language very carefully and precisely.
Therefore, maybe when the dust has settled, Judge David Rozen will reveal why – no matter how he views public officials who have been convicted of bribery – he thought the epithet “traitor” was appropriate for ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert, who had the guts to order the destruction of Syria’s nuclear capability.
I know nothing about Judge Rozen, but one can be pretty certain that he would not have had the same guts if he were in Olmert’s position.
Yes, we are all flawed, but in reading about the whole saga one does get the distinct impression that Olmert had the particular misfortune of encountering a latter-day George Jeffreys.
PETER SIMPSON Jerusalem
Sir, – Judge David Rozen used the same logic to sentence former prime minister Ehud Olmert that God did for Moses.
Precisely because Moses was the leader of the Jewish people, he was given a harsher sentence than an ordinary person would have received, and he was not allowed to enter the promised land.
Olmert, having been the leader of the people of the State of Israel, had to be held to a higher standard than an ordinary citizen committing the same crime. Hence, the harsh sentence of six years in prison.
URI HIRSCH Netanya
Sir, – The most disconcerting aspect of the entire Ehud Olmert affair has undoubtedly been how he conducted himself throughout – head held high, swaggering and smiling to one and all without a hint of remorse, let alone shame.
The man believed himself untouchable and totally unaccountable for his many misdeeds.
Our wonderful judicial system thought differently.
DAVID S ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion
Sir, – During the needlessly protracted period of Ehud Olmert’s indictment and trial, The Jerusalem Post continued to lionize this now-convicted felon, providing him with a bully pulpit from which to spew invective against the government of Israel. Now, in looking into the six-year sentence Olmert received (“Why did the court give ‘minister of ministers’ such a harsh sentence?” Analysis, May 14), the Post shows its hand by declaring that Judge David Rozen “related to Olmert and his lawyers throughout the case as just another defendant, not as his former ruler.”
Olmert was never anyone’s “ruler.” He was a public servant who violated the electorate’s trust to the extreme, showed no remorse and, like Saddam Hussein standing before the gibbet, acted as if he were the ruler of his country.
Former president Moshe Katsav received a seven-year sentence for the rape of a single individual.
Olmert raped the entire city of Jerusalem and, by extension, the entire State of Israel – and we have to live forever with the ugly reminder of this atrocity.
It’s time for the adoration of this fundamentally corrupt convict to stop. His conviction and incarceration are but a minimal balm on the festering wound of Israel’s capital and all its residents.
YOHANAN AV-YAIR Jerusalem
Sir, – Surely, we should change the name of that atrocious building complex down near Malha in Jerusalem.
One is tempted to rename it “Sordid Olmert Towers” or “Lupolianski’s Folly,” but that would mean using names we’d rather forget. “Unholyland” might serve well and would be a reminder to those who live there.
DAVID SHAW Jerusalem
Sir, – With regard to “Oren: Claims the FBI warned Israeli diplomats about spying are baseless” (May 12), Newsweek must have been having a slow week.
Jonathan Pollard is serving an unusual long sentence for spying on behalf of Israel, when others who spied for enemies of the US and endangered US lives have served an average of eight years.
Companies spy on companies in all industries; just recently we read about Samsung and Apple. We have read of the US spying on its allies, and for certain that it is “keeping tabs” on what’s happening inside the US. This makes one wonder about the magazine’s reasoning in singling out our country.
Newsweek might just be newsweak.
AHARON GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit
Sir, – In “Who needs a Jewish- state bill?” (iEngage, May 9), Daniel Statman asserts that if Judaism is seen as “more important than democracy, the rights of Arabs may be ignored or assigned less importance.” And by denying minorities unspecified “collective” rights, the proposed law would deny them their culture.
How? Evidence of minorities maintaining their cultural identities is ubiquitous.
But back to his chain of reasoning, such as it is: One can’t have one’s culture unless one has a state. Ergo, Palestinians need a state. And Arab citizens of Israel? Don’t they need culture as much as the next fellow? Statman assures us that they largely aren’t interested in secession, but the why is unclear.
Also unclear is what a law about the Jewishness of Israel has to do with a Palestinian state, and why Palestinian Arabs, who share language, religions, history and customs – in a word, culture – with Arabs in neighboring states, need their own state for that culture to be maintained.
MICHAEL BERKOWITZ Alon Shvut
Taking their time
Sir, – Why do banks and financial institutions, including insurance companies, take so long to supply end-of-year and end-of-quarter statements? I just received a statement from an insurance company giving me information up until December 15, 2013. Such a late statement is worthless to me but probably fulfills a requirement set down in law.
I believe all information that needs to be provided to the customer should be printed no later than two weeks after the period it covers and be at the customer’s within a week after printing.
In our electronic era, such a delay should be questioned. An answer and not an excuse would be appreciated.
MICHAEL H. DAVIS Rishon Lezion