Many politicians whose paths crossed that of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert chose to keep silent on Monday, refusing to comment on his conviction on bribery charges. Finance Minister Yair Lapid, whose father was one of Olmert’s close friends, chose not to issue any official statement after the guilty verdict. Olmert’s successor as Kadima’s leader, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Kadima’s current chairman, Shaul Mofaz, did the same. Livni’s close associates justified her silence by saying that as a serving justice minister, she could not comment.
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Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levy, who served as commander of the Jerusalem District Police during Olmert’s term, issued a laconic statement on his Facebook page. “Despite the harsh feelings that come up on this day when one who served as prime minister of Israel was convicted of corruption, I am proud to be living in a democratic country where law and justice are equal for everyone,” he wrote.
Other ministers and Knesset members used the conviction to “settle accounts” with Olmert the politician. Minister Yisrael Katz said Monday: “History will remember and judge Olmert as a prime minister who agreed to hand the Western Wall and the Temple Mount over to Arab rule. From a national standpoint, that is far worse [than the conviction].”
MK Miki Rosenthal (Labor) leveled harsh criticism at the State Prosecutor’s Office. “Don’t be misled by the verdict in the Holyland case. It is important. But it is not the heavy blow that is going to stamp out corruption. On the contrary. It exposes the depth of corruption in Israel and how the entire top level of government and administration sold the public interest for money.”
MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) lashed out at the media for becoming the poodle of the corrupt politicians. The media outlets, which ought to serve as gatekeepers, do not make things difficult for those who have been charged with corruption, and sometimes they even support them, give them high praise and attack law-enforcement officials.”