Poll: Olmert seen as Israel's most corrupt politician

Sderot conference study shows Lieberman, Peretz, Yishai, and Bar-On make up remaining top five.

olmert troubled 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
olmert troubled 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is considered to be the most corrupt minister in the government, according to a poll conducted for the fourth annual Sderot Conference for Society, which kicked off proceedings Tuesday in the southern border town. According to the data collected by the conference's steering committee in partnership with Sderot's Sapir College, 42 percent of those questioned for the survey said they believed that Olmert's level of deceit was extremely high. Newly appointed cabinet minister, Avigdor Liberman came second in the running with 26%, and Sderot native Defense Minister Amir Peretz came a close third with 24%. Other government ministers who achieved top-five status on the corruption poll were Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai with 23% and Interior Minister Roni Bar-On with 22%. Olmert's position as the most corrupt government minister is in contrast to his placing in last year's pole, when as finance minister, he came in fourth place. More than 1000 adults were questioned for the survey, and an overwhelming majority, 73%, said that the amount of government corruption in Israel was far too high. Close to 80% claimed that such corruption prevented them from taking pride in their nation. The poll is the centerpiece of the two-day conference, which is aimed at raising socio-economic issues among politicians and policy makers. In addition to the findings of the Sderot Conference Corruption Poll, Transparency International also released its 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) on Monday, listing Israel in a category with Brazil, Cuba, Jordan, Laos, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the US, as a country whose perceived levels of corruption were growing significantly worse. "The Sderot Conference Corruption Poll shows that corruption is public enemy number one," commented Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, chairman of the conference. "The Israeli public understands that there is a direct link between this corruption and the status of both Israeli society in general and people's individual living status." The poll also assessed which Knesset members were considered the most corrupt. MK Tzahi Hanegbi, who is the subject of an on-going criminal investigation for allegations of illegal political appointments, came in first place with 38%. Coming in a close second was MKs Ahmed Tibi with 34%. Haim Ramon, who is currently embroiled in a rape case, came in third with 30%, and Likud Party Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu was fourth with 29%. Female MKs Limor Livnat and Ruhama Avraham also made the top ten with 26% and 22% respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was considered by 38% of those questioned to be the most honest minister, followed by Vice Premier Shimon Peres with 35%. The MKs considered the most honest were Dalia Itzik with 24% and Zehava Gal-On with 23%.