"The tremendous support I receive from the people, and the support of the (Knesset State Control) committee, attest that we are the majority, and the majority will overcome the system." Thus Yaron Zelekha left office after four years as possibly the most controversial accountant general in Israeli history.
One unarguable thing is that Zelekha brought a previously unknown office into the spotlight. He delivered his address at a meeting of the State Control Committee, which turned into an impromptu farewell party. Committee chairman Zevulun Orlev commented that the panel had worked with Zelekha to bring the fight against institutional corruption to the public agenda.
"Zelekha demonstrated personal integrity and fairness," said State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, who had delivered the accountant general's findings about Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's involvement in the sale of Bank Leumi to the attorney general. "He acted without bias, political or other." However, Lindenstrauss added that he had rebuked Zelekha for his spiky reactions.
Shelly Yachimovich, who had urged the state comptroller to protect Zelekha's position in government, which he temporarily did, brought a cream cake. "Zelekha paid a heavy price for his war against corruption," the Labor MK said. "I hope he will serve as a beacon and example for the civil service workers, so they do not fear to complain (about corruption). I am not worried about his future, but I am worried about ours. The broad public loved him and wouldn't listen to the well-oiled smear campaign that the prime minister's office ran against him."
Zelekha had been a thorn in the prime minister's side because of Bank Leumi, but he also ran afoul of his colleagues at the top echelon of the treasury, who ultimately took the extraordinary step of calling a press conference to complain that he was uncooperative and generally impossible to work with. Finance Minister Roni Bar-On declined to extend his contract, which prompted Lindenstrauss to issue a temporary injunction against Zelekha's ouster.
Zelekha is entitled to three months "adjustment," which means he would have received pay and his rights to a government car. But he redeemed the entire period into a lump-sum payment and waived the car.
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