Better a Warhorse Than a Lamb

In contrast to the story playing itself out in the media, Zelekha did not start his war with the accusations against Olmert a year and a half ago with the Leumi affair. He launched his battles immediately after starting the job four years ago.

The battle is not only against Yaron Zelekha, it is much bigger.

It is also against the High Court of Justice, against the state comptroller, against the police investigations division (e.g. the Moshe Mizrahi case), and against the accountant general.

These are all guardians fighting for proper government and against the plague of corruption that is eating us alive - and that is why those in power hate them. The powers that be want to belittle, scare, slur and harm them, so that they will understand that whoever fights corruption will be publicly humiliated - and be transformed from the accuser into the defendant.

They say about Zelekha that he is full of himself, and that the fight against corruption has turned into an obsession for him. That he is exceeding his authority and that he has managed to antagonize the entire senior management of the treasury.

There seems to be something to those accusations. Zelekha, it seems, is not the easiest person to get along with. But in this case, there is a package deal: It is impossible for a senior official to be pleasant and laid back - and also expose corruption.

Because whoever dares to accuse the prime minister of corruption - as in the Bank Leumi privatization case involving Ehud Olmert - and whoever is prepared to battle ministers and senior officials, cannot be a an ego-less, pure little lamb.

Therefore, if we have to choose between two distinct personalities, it is clear that the public prefers as accountant general an old warhorse charging ahead over a sweet little lamb. True, you need to rein in the steed occasionally, but the horse brings results that no sheep can ever achieve.

In contrast to the story playing itself out in the media, Zelekha did not start his war with the accusations against Olmert a year and a half ago with the Leumi affair. He launched his battles immediately after starting the job four years ago.

Zelekha discovered that when the rich bid on a state tender, they submit a low - and unrealistic - proposal, and immediately after they win, they appear before the accountant general with various and sundry claims, and then the real negotiations start over improving the conditions of the contract. Zelekha decided to put an end to this practice and brought down on himself the wrath of all of Israel's rich - and their lawyers - powerful and well-connected people.

The tenders issue is Zelekha's pride. He wants all dealings with the state to be made through tenders, and that is why he has fought Olmert and his director general, Raanan Dinur, who wanted to expand the exemptions to tenders in the law. Olmert wanted to make it easier to help his friends and cronies at the public's expense.

After Zelekha discovered that the state has not been checking contracts with various suppliers for years, he ordered new tenders for all suppliers. Amazingly, prices dropped 30 percent and the state saved billions. But at the same time, he added many suppliers who lost their pork barrel to the list of his enemies.

Next, he looked into all the support paid by government ministries to all sorts of organizations: yeshivas, non-profit organizations, classes and other activities - and the examination turned up lies, false reporting and unequal allocations of money. The funds were cut - and the long list of his enemies grew even longer.

Later, he decided to examine the tens of thousands of salary slips and pension payments that the state pays every month. There, too, he discovered that part of the payments were incorrect, excessive, and even illegal. That is how even government employees learned to dislike him too.

After that, Zelekha wanted to put out a tender for supplying banking services to state employees. Abraham Hirchson and Ehud Olmert fought against it. Senior officials pressured Zelekha to give up the idea. But the tender went out and Israel Discount Bank won. The result: State employees will receive improved conditions and the state will save hundreds of millions of shekels.

Zelekha is not very conventional. He does not follow the crowd. He does not hesitate to open cabinets covered with cobwebs and clean them out, and was not scared of waking up prehistoric creatures who lived off the public purse for years.

That is why those in power hate him so much.

Finance Minister Roni Bar-On said that after four years in the job, it was time for a change. In that case, why doesn't he demand the same from Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander, who has been in the job for 11 years? Why? Because Hollander is easy on those in power.

Therefore, when Olmert, Bar-On and most of the ministers want him to leave so badly, it is actually worth him staying for a little longer. Not only so there will be more checks and balances on those in power, but also to send a signal to all those uncovering corruption that it is impossible to get rid of them so easily.