I welcome the decision to lift the publication ban on what is called the Holyland affair. I feel better now.
As it is, my name has appeared in all the media, and no one had any doubts about the identity of A.A. [Olmert’s initials in Hebrew] that everyone is talking about. There was an attempt here at character assassination which has no precedent in its scope and force.
These people hurt me, my family, my wife and children. They spread baseless rumors that do not have a speck of truth.
I supported the Holyland project from the beginning, when it included three hotels to strengthen the tourism industry in Jerusalem in the mid-1990s and on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel. I also supported housing for the non-haredi population, which we wanted to bring to the center of the city.
The plans were completely changed after I ceased being mayor. I had nothing at all to do with the changes made afterward.
I want to make this clear: During the past years, while I was dealing with the State of Israel’s most crucial matters, six criminal investigations were conducted against me by the police on suspicion of bribery – and all six of these investigations which focused on bribery were closed. These include the Bank Leumi investigation, which was described as the most serious instance of bribery in the annals of the State of Israel, as well as the Cremieux affair and others.
This entire procedure caused no small measure of distress, but I did not for a moment consider not cooperating with police investigators. My attorneys, headed by Eli Zohar, said as soon as the new investigation began that I was at their disposal at any time. No one asked anything of him or of me.
I state in the strongest possible way, as I have in the past, that no one has ever offered me a bribe and that I have never received a bribe from anyone, in any matter, in any way, either directly or indirectly.
I call on everyone to be patient, to respect the investigation, to
refrain from prejudgment or judgment that is hasty or unfounded. Do not
arrive at unreasoned conclusions, and do not lend a hand to the
obstruction of the investigation through baseless and tendentious
statements or leaks.
I am here. I am ready to be investigated at any stage and at any time the police decide they want to investigate me.
As we approach Remembrance Day, I embrace the bereaved families and
wish the people of Israel that we may all have a happy Independence Day.– Translated by Dan Izenberg
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