When Omri Met With Ehud


A. "Guy Ido, the acting manager of the development and allowances department at Mifal Hapayis, make his job permanent. Money for Sammy Barlev for the project 'I'll be a student too.'"

That's a quote from Omri Sharon's date book, summing up his meeting with Shimon Katznelson, the general manager of Mifal Hapayis - the national lottery , whose appointment Omri Sharon had arranged in the first place.

Katznelson is the manager of Mifal Hapayis, which boasts turnover of NIS 3 billion a year and nets about half a billion shekels. In his previous job, Katznelson had been the deputy mayor of Ashdod. One has to wonder whether anybody in the private sector believes that prepared him to run a company with turnover of NIS 3 billion a year, whose revenues are earmarked in their entirety to promotion of social projects in local authorities.

But Katznelson is a lucky devil. He doesn't work for the private sector, he works for the public one, and there the only thing that matters isn't his resume but the fact that he knows Omri Sharon.

That was enough to get him the important job, which has built thousands of classrooms around Israel in recent years. It was enough for Katznelson to get his, and for Omri Sharon to get is as well - namely, appointments for his cronies at Mifal Hapayis. Katznelson was dependent on young Sharon and therefore he had a debt. Sharon evidently knew how to collect it.

B. "Check with Itzik Ohayon how to help Gaston Malka with his pension." Itzik Ohayon is the mayor of Petah Tikva. We may assume that city has thousands of employees, but probably Sharon didn't concern himself personally with their pensions. But he probably did concern himself about Gaston Malka's.

By the way, the state comptroller is just putting the final touches on a damning report about Petah Tikva. The comptroller suspects the deputy mayor of taking bribes to advance the real estate interests of the Dan bus cooperate in the city.

In the same week that came to light, charges were filed against the mayor of Lod, Benny Regev, for allegedly taking NIS 1.4 million in bribes from developer Dudi Appel. That is the Appel who is suspected of paying bribes to Ariel Sharon and to his son Gilad Sharon in the so-called Greek Island affair.

Wherever you turn, corruption in local government is festering. Somehow in recent years the Sharon family pushed itself into all these affairs. At least we are rid of the curse of that family. But we are nod rid of the curse of the corruption in local government, which continues to squander out money on advancing the personal interests of its cronies.

C. "The planning and construction committee, for Yigal Yosef." That dignitary is the chairman of the Likud branch in Rosh Ha'Ayin, where he used to be the mayor. The attempt to land him a job in the planning and construction committee, which is responsible for approving all construction in the city, did not go well, but Sharon stuck to his guns. He continued his efforts for Yosef and arranges for "a meeting with Ehud, regarding Yigal Yosef and miscellaneous".

Ehud who? We will just gently hint that it's the same Ehud that we're all about to support for the premiership.

In parallel Sharon set up a meeting with the personal aide of that same Ehud, who at the time was minister of Industry and Trade and responsible for the Israel Lands Administration. Sharon's purpose was to advance the issue of getting Yigal Yosef an appointment as district manager at the Authority. The Authority in question is naturally the Israel Lands Administration, and district manager is a very powerful, professional position.

That didn't work out either, but Yosef finally got a position: manager of the development areas administration at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which was headed by Ehud Olmert.

"Yigal Yosef was chosen for the job by a public, legal process of the location committee," Olmert's office told the press. Of all the jobs in the world, it turns out, Yosef was hired to a high-ranking one at the Ministry of Industry and Trade after passing an equal-opportunity process. Admit it, that's some coincidence.

D. Ehud Hair-Away-From-Being-Prime Minister Olmert got out of that one unharmed. At worst he'll get 39 Knesset seats instead of the 45 he'd expected. In that, Olmert is an outstanding student of the Sharon family. Any means to obtain the end is kosher, including when fairness in government gets crushed en route. In any case, the public doesn't care; it will continue to vote for me and esteem me, he figures, as they admired Ariel Sharon. So why take the trouble to behave otherwise?