The Party With the Transplanted Face

The Israeli success not only preceded the French achievement, it doubled it: Amazingly, Kadima managed to also perform surgery on its behind, and got rid of some scars.

"The future is ahead of me," said the person with the historic first - a transplanted face - who, as opposed to what the press reported, is not the Frenchwoman Isabel Dinoire. On December 12, 2005, a week before her operation, that accomplishment occurred in Israel with the establishment of Kadima. Old politicians put on new faces and took off in the polls.

The Israeli success not only preceded the French achievement, it doubled it: Amazingly, Kadima managed to also perform surgery on its behind, and got rid of some scars. Everything would have been perfect if not for the past's stubborn insistence in reappearing, like a ghost disrupting sleep. One of the most annoying performances in the past is the indictment that Attorney General Menachem Mazuz almost - almost - delivered against Minister Tzachi Hanegbi. At his personal hearing with Mazuz, perhaps Hanegbi will yet illuminate for the attorney general such an original and exciting angle that Mazuz will be moved to relieve Hanegbi of the need to sit on the defendants' bench.

Since Hanegbi is a goodfella and heaven forbid does not inform on his colleagues, he'll restrain himself and not ask what was wrong with making political appointments in the Environmental Affairs Ministry, as long as the complaint deals with his anticipation that the appointees or their dear ones would vote for him. The vote is secret, and it is impossible to know if the expectation was fulfilled.

Mazuz has already ruled that a promise on its own - like the contradictory 1999 promise made by David Appel to support both Ariel Sharon and his rival Ehud Olmert - is not enough for an indictment; and what appointment-giver does not expect some measure of thanks from an MK who becomes a minister or a member of the central committee whose brother becomes a hunting inspector. If one allows oneself to be transported to the realm of science fiction, there's no ruling out the possibility that Sharon, by agreeing to make Mazuz the attorney general, wondered if by doing so he helped nudge Mazuz toward the decision to close the books on the case against Sharon.

According to the dry letter of the law, precedent and conventional commentary, Hanegbi need not resign - indeed is prohibited from doing so. If he wants to resign, he should be forced to remain as a reminder of the crime of the government where the acting prime minister is Olmert, who is also the head of Kadima.

As mayor of Jerusalem, Olmert faced a grave indictment and trial - "the State of Israel versus Ehud Olmert." Judge Oded Murdick acquitted him, taking into special and explicit consideration that Olmert was mayor of the capital at the time. Everyone is equal before the law, but the chairman of the Upper Zargonia local council would have received different treatment.

"The attribution of the crime of fraud to the mayor of Jerusalem - that very Jerusalem that is called the city of truth (Zecharia VIII:8) - is like an eternal flame devouring the cypress trees," Murdik wrote poetically, even though Olmert was accused of crimes from a period before his term in the municipality, and the fraud allegedly took place during his term as an MK. Justice won and the state of Israel lost. It was represented by lawyer Ilana Rubinik, who is now the prosecution's attorney accompanying the police investigation of Olmert's friends, the Gavrieli family. Rubinik is the person who will have to decide whether MK Inbal Gavrieli's parliamentary immunity covers her father's place.

It's not fair to demand of Hanegbi now what was not demanded of Olmert during his trial, and there's no argument to make against Inbal Gavrieli for what was accepted as self-evident in the "Greek Island" case - the immunity granted by then attorney general Elyakim Rubinstein to the Sycamore farm because the non-immune suspect, Gilad Sharon, lived there together with the immune suspects Ariel and Omri Sharon. The immunity of the Sharon family will evaporate in its entirety with the installation of the next Knesset, so the police can raid the farm and find remnants of the evidence of the Cyril Kern affair, but meanwhile the precedent has been set: like Saddam Hussein's palaces, which were closed to the UN inspectors, so will the homes of suspects be closed to the Israeli police, if their relatives are equipped with an MK's identity card.

There are investigations that are yet to be completed - for example, the ties between the Sycamore farm with the Israel Land Development Corp. owned by the Nimrodi family - and there are probes yet to have begun. The police wondered why the attorney general in his day risked the undercover probe against then minister Shlomo Benizri, by asking a transparent question of Shas leader Eli Yishai. The mystery is not included in the case file that went to the Jerusalem district attorney, Eli Abarabnel, and the case is still crying out for examination.

In its Internet gambling business, the Gavrieli family followed the lights lit by that pioneer of get-rich-quick schemes on the Internet, Gilad Sharon, who taught Mazuz how it was possible to make millions off of Appel. The political advisor to the heads of Kadima, attorney Dov Weissglas, was the Jericho casino's attorney, and one of Kadima's ministers was known in his day for his penchant for gambling, particularly in London. They're doing fine, thank you very much. They should be imitated, by gambling on the party with the transplanted face.