Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff does not suffer from loneliness. He has many friends who enjoy his company and wealth. The detailed and thorough investigative report by Gidi Weitz in Haaretz last week exposed the extensive network of Schlaff's connections - from East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall to the Palestinian Authority in the corrupt days of Yasser Arafat, and to Israel, which seems to be managed from Vienna by remote control.
The list of Schlaff's beneficiaries, collaborators and favorites includes at least three prime minsters and could comprise a whole cabinet, with a few senior officials left over. It crosses party lines and includes senior people in Likud, Shas, Labor, Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu - religious and secular alike. Schlaff is the real melting pot of Israeli society, uniting all parts of the nation. His activities range from the lofty to the populist, from charities to casinos. Schlaff very much improved our balance of payments, especially of needy Israeli leaders, first and foremost Ariel Sharon.
Schlaff's proteges sought to repay his favors, as is the norm in the third world, and apparently also in the remnants of Franz Josef's Austro-Hungarian Empire. In Israel, too, there are many - and their numbers increase the higher up the ladder you go - who see nothing wrong with this.
Unfortunately, officials in the police and the State Prosecutor's Office do not agree and insist on rummaging through the actions of the politicians and officials whose wheels have been oiled by Schlaff's money.
Schlaff's fluent Hebrew got stuck in his throat after police investigators asked him to provide his version of events; since then he has preferred to stay away from Israel, which he loves so much. He doesn't care that the wheels of justice move slowly, and it turns out that many top political and legal figures in Austria share that attitude. The obstacles in the way of the Israeli authorities ostensibly contributed to a miscarriage of justice at the expense of people under investigation, mainly Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. But it seems that there is no miscarriage here.
The Lieberman file is on Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's desk with the police recommendation to indict the foreign minister. The attorney general must decide quickly to end this intolerable situation in which an unresolved cloud of suspicion hovers over a leading politician.
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