The Bottom Line / Lindenstrauss Abandoned Zelekha, and Left Him No Choice

Never before has a senior official battled the prime minster, the finance minister and all his colleagues.

Yaron Zelekha is tired. He no longer has the strength needed to continue his war against the entire world. It is too hard and exhausting.

Never before has a senior official battled the prime minster, the finance minister and all his colleagues.

But the real reason behind Zelekha's resignation now is that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss abandoned him. He decided, and Zelekha knew about it, not to make his temporary order protecting the accountant general permanent.

Yesterday Lindenstrauss praised Zelekha endlessly for "acting for ethical behavior and exposing corruption," but in reality he abandoned his ally in the big battle against Ehud Olmert.

Lindenstrauss, now visiting his daughter in Canada, said he would announce his decision about the order by Thursday, but actually had moved the time up to tomorrow.

Zelekha was left with no choice and little time, and he hurried to make his resignation known last Friday. The last thing he wanted was for Finance Minster Roni Bar-On to send him another dismissal notice.

According to Zelekha's contract, he has 30 days notice. He has another month officially, but in practice he is done. The cabinet is expected to approve his successor quickly, possibly even today.

Lindenstrauss' decision ruined Zelekha's plans to remain in his job for another six months, in order to finish two more things. He wanted the Knesset to turn his proposals for fighting corruption into law, or at least a proposed bill. He also wanted to help push the state attorney to put Olmert on trial in the Bank Leumi affair. He continues to tell his friends, even now, that the state attorney wil have no choice but to put Olmert on trial, and in the end in jail - no less.

Zelekha's era at the treasury is over, but he is leaving new standards behind. He made a long list of changes and reforms in managing the government's finances, in particular in enforcing tender requirements for all state contracts; which saved us billions.

In the short term it looks like Zelekha lost, he is resigning before he wanted. But don't forget that the investigation of Olmert is under way, and if he is indicted and forced to resign, then Zelekha will be the real victor.