Hikind says he saw Olmert take cash

Assemblyman says then-Jerusalem mayor Olmert took envelope of money at Brooklyn fundraiser event.

hikind 224.88 (photo credit: Esteban Alterman)
hikind 224.88
(photo credit: Esteban Alterman)
Assemblyman Dov Hikind said on Monday that he saw then-Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert take an envelope full of cash following a Brooklyn fundraiser for the New Jerusalem Foundation in the 1990s. Hikind said he had hosted the fundraiser at his Brooklyn home. When it was over, he said, he walked Olmert out and saw a person "give him an envelope filled with cash." However, Hikind wasn't sure when the fundraiser was held and would not identify the individual who he claimed handed over the envelope. Hikind, who was once friends with Olmert, has in recent years spearheaded campaigns demanding that the prime minister resign. In 2006, following the Second Lebanon War, Hikind took out full-page ads in major Jewish newspapers across the US, calling on Olmert to step down. He said Monday that he was "hoping that for Israel's 60th anniversary, Olmert would resign and go home." Olmert has denied ever taking "a single agora" for himself. He has said he will resign if indicted in the current corruption investigation. The NJF is a charitable organization established by Olmert and aimed at raising funds for projects in the capital, with a fundraising arm based in the suburban home of Morris (Moshe) Talansky, who is at the center of the corruption probe. Investigators are looking into allegations that the NJF and Talansky served as a conduit for fund transfers to interests tied to Olmert. Hikind also said he knew Talansky from the days when he worked for the American Committee for Sha'are Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, but does not "consider him a friend." The philanthropist tried to get Hikind's constituency involved in fundraising for the hospital.