Culture, Israel, Justice, Mishegas, Politics

Olmert Accused of Defrauding Yad Vashem, AKIM

He's got every reason to look so worried

This man has every reason to look this worried. In the latest news in the corruption scandal clouding Ehud Olmert’s questionable stint as PM, according to the Israeli Police, Olmert funded personal and family vacations on the dime of non-profits and charities.

According to one Ha’aretz report

Responding to accusations he stole money from charities such as Yad Vashem and the AKIM association for the mentally disabled, Olmert said “these are institutions that I worked to advance and I invested immense energy into raising funds and I believe I made a significant contribution to them. Therefore, precisely against this backdrop, the exploitation in this way was particularly hurtful.”

more after the jump
And yet, as the PM-on-his-way-out makes these pleas to his public that trust him less than the world trusts Bush (and that’s sayin’ alot!), Ha’aretz also reports that this is not new. 20 years ago the Olmert family took a vacation to New York on the dime of the Likud Party when Ehud was their treasurer. His former chief-of-staff, Shula Zaken, made the purchases from Rishon Tours–the same company now fingered by Israeli police for servicing the “double invoiced” trips.
The scam was a simple one. According to Israeli police, Olmert requested travel funds from multiple organizations under the auspices that they were the only group being asked. The trip would therefore be double or triple-funded (or more) and Olmert would pocket the remainder.
Not to be confused, this is IN ADDITION to the hundreds of thousands of dollars supposedly received over the years from Morris Talansky, the US Jewish mogul.
As the police and media level these (probably well deserved) accusations towards Ehud Olmert as he clings to remain onto the small power he still has, the PMO claims that Olmert is the victim of a personal and political witch hunt. The police say, if he was anyone else, he would have long ago been arrested. Olmert says, if he was anyone else, this wouldn’t even be in the media. Maybe both are correct.
The fact of the matter, however, stands at this. As this Ha’aretz analysis puts it, Israel is in one of two boats–Either A) they are being led by an incredibly corrupt PM with questionable ethics and who has arrogant contempt for his people, or B) a Police Department and media that makes its days slandering their elected officials in arrogant contempt for their government.
I think it’s time for a good, ol’ Israeli style early election… but that’s always easy to say from this side of the ocean.

2 thoughts on “Olmert Accused of Defrauding Yad Vashem, AKIM

  1. When I was reading the lead, I read “In the latest news in the corruption scandal clouding Ehud Olmert” as “In the latest corruption scandal clouding Ehud Olmert”.
    The sad thing is that the latter is at least as accurate as the former.

  2. Calling an early election is sorta like having a war. It sounds like a great thing to do. But once you’re in it you realize you should have first thought about where you’d end up when the war ends.

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