Olmert wants US Jews probed for taking him down

"Certain people played political game, brought about investigations which led to Olmert's resignation," source says.

July 11, 2012 21:20
4 minute read.
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert.

Ehud Olmert 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Right-wing American Jews should be investigated for their role in ending prime minister Ehud Olmert’s term in office and triggering indictments that ended in acquittals, Olmert’s associates said on Wednesday.

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s court decisions to acquit Olmert on three charges and convict him on one, the people closest to the former prime minister blamed State Attorney Moshe Lador for initiating legal hearings in 2009 that forced Olmert to step down from office. On Wednesday, they added right-wing American Jews to the list of those to blame.

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“We are not looking for conspiracy theories, but we want answers to facts,” a source close to Olmert said. “Certain people became part of the political game and brought about investigations, which led to his resignation. You have to ask yourself whether these things should be investigated.”

The source noted that in October 2007, an American Jew testified to the police that New York financier Morris Talansky gave bribes to Olmert, and that investigation led to the others. He complained that a woman who testified against Olmert from the US was later found to be married to a man who ran a right-wing, anti-Olmert blog. The source also cited the founding of the newspaper Israel HaYom by right-wing American Jew and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson as playing a role in bringing down Olmert.

“People intoxicated by power toppled a prime minister,” former minister Haim Ramon told Israel Radio. “American right-wing Jews who filed countless complaints against Olmert have to be investigated. They saw Olmert as the man who could deliver an agreement with the Palestinians. Consider what Olmert could have done had he remained prime minister for two more years instead of Netanyahu.”

Olmert himself told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour – when he came to New York for The Jerusalem Post Conference in April – that he had been the victim of a right-wing conspiracy involving American millionaires. Like Ramon, he refused to name names.

“[Trying to make peace] was a killer for me,” he said. “I had to fight against superior powers, including millions and millions of dollars that were transferred from this country by figures in the extreme right-wing who tried to topple me. There is no question about it. I know the names of people who spent millions of dollars who tried to stop me. They wanted to prevent a government led by me from achieving peace.”


Olmert first charged that American right-wingers were out to get him following a February 8, 2008, report by Channel 2’s Sivan Rahav- Meir that wealthy American Jews had put a million-dollar price tag on his political head. The report said private investigators and lawyers had been seeking information from Olmert’s former business partners.

“If you are interested, the compensation will be very, very nice,” a private investigator said in a conversation with a businessman that the businessman taped. “I have been sent by good Jews to remove Olmert from where he is. I am gathering information that Olmert accepted bribes or cheated.”

A source close to Olmert said the Channel 2 report should have been investigated immediately by the police but never was. The source said Olmert was unaware of the tapes until he saw the report.

Five days after the report, in a conversation with reporters in the Knesset cafeteria, Olmert accused The Jerusalem Post of being part of the conspiracy to bring him down. Khaled Abu Toameh, a Post reporter, had published an article the day before stating that Olmert was negotiating the fate of Jerusalem, despite his promise to his coalition partner Shas that the capital would not be on the table.

Unlike his predecessor Ariel Sharon, Olmert rarely visited the Knesset cafeteria, coming only when he wanted to make a statement with his presence. The day before Olmert’s visit to the cafeteria, Hezbollah weapons procurement director Imad Mughniyeh was killed in Dubai, reportedly by Mossad agents.

The Post reported in May 2008 that a group of right-wing rabbis called the Council of Torah and Kabbala sages had encouraged Talansky to come to Israel and give evidence against Olmert. Yehoshua Meiri, who worked with the organization, said the rabbis wanted to bring Olmert down out of fear he would cede Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount and other parts of Jerusalem.

Talansky acknowledged receiving a blessing from an important rabbi just before he was interrogated by the police, but firmly denied being encouraged to testify before coming to Israel.

“Talansky’s appearance in Israel and police testimony was aimed at harming Olmert,” Meiri said. “The only question was one of timing. When you have one shell left in your cannon, you have to decide when it is best to fire it.”

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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