Old Talansky Had a Farm

Everyone can choose his own favorite section of Morris Talansky's testimony.

Everyone can choose his own favorite section of Morris Talansky's testimony. Old Talansky had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. My choice: Olmert's invitation to the wedding of Talansky's son. Why should the minister not honor the fine family that has been so good to him? On the other hand, no free honor comes free, and Olmert, according to the testimony, charged $3,000 on the spot, after a discount. Should this man not be called a guest of dishonor? In the spirit of the famous British quip, it can be said that there is no longer any argument over whether he will do it for money; all that remains is to negotiate the amount and how it will be used.

Olmert's friends - acquaintances and admirers, cronies and relatives - claim that they knew nothing, they are surprised. I will give them the benefit of the doubt: They are right, how should they know? After all, this is their natural environment, their regular social circle. They live in this society and are unfamiliar with any other kind of life. What is so unusual here, they will protest in self-defense, that it should be considered egregious?

If a person owns several large houses, what is unusual about that, for goodness sake? Who in our top tenth of a percent does not own many houses nowadays? The more houses you own, the more friends and disciples you will have, and a real estate deal is a routine matter these days.

And if your friend has a fancy for expensive watches or pens, let him. Who is so perfect that he never sins by being slightly greedy and displaying a charming collector's instinct? And after all, an important person is recognized by his pen and his watch. And if our friend enjoys his cigars, and burns hundreds of shekels each time he lights up, it is only a small pleasure, and it is petty to make a big deal of it.

And what exactly is wrong with flying first class or staying in a luxury suite? A senior Israeli official is not a beggar, and noblesse oblige. Exactly what questions, his friends now ask, were we supposed to have asked him and ourselves?

Who can know the life of an Israeli minister, which is devoted entirely to the state? What will he not do for it? And what will his friends not do for him? After all, they will not rush to accuse him of their own faults.

Rank-and-file law professor Ron Shapira is also a friend, still a friend. Admittedly, every suspect has a right to legal defense. But there is no obligation to defend every envelope. I heard what he said, and he refused to see even the shadow of a defect in Olmert's moneychanger-like behavior. And this Shapira was the justice minister's candidate for the Supreme Court. Tell us, Daniel Friedmann (we already know), who appointed you and who you seek to appoint, and we will tell you who you are.

And the kibbutznik from the luxurious Akirov Towers, what does he say? Ehud Barak says that Olmert must remove himself as soon as possible - though Barak himself could remove him in a moment, with one vote. Meanwhile, and until further notice, they continue to sit together, with Olmert at the helm. Will we get war or seek peace from the man with the fistful of dollars?

The toilet experience common to every percentile - a sealed room and a blocked drain - teaches that you become accustomed even to a stench. At first you are disgusted and want to vomit. But afterward, you stop noticing.