Israeli News: A Daily Analysis
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

May 5, 2008 Gag Order Continues- Olmert Likely to Be indicted

Watching the Israeli news is like watching the news from Chelm. The major news story of the day is the new investigation of Prime Minister Olmert. Unfortunately, the gag order issued by Israeli courts is still in effect and therefore you watch the absurd news program, where the newscasters and reporters know what is going on but cannot say anything. It is as if the Watergate Investigations were taking place and American newspapers and television stations were not allowed to say anything.

The little I have managed to put together is that it seems the state now has a number of people who are state witnesses in this case and possibly in some of the earlier cases. Those mentioned as state witnesses are Shula Zakin, Olmert's office chief and Uri Messer, his close associate. Both of them could clearly sell the goods on Olmert. According to reports, there will be a major event in the investigation taking place tomorrow. Of course, they cannot say what that event will be. All indications are that Olmert is most likely going to be indicted.

What will happen then? Olmert will be forced to step down the minute he is indicted. Minister of Foreign Relation Tzpi Livini will become the acting Prime Minister. Will she be able to hold the coalition together? That is unknown at the moment. One view is that with a fresh face, Barak will not have reason to quit the coalition and force new elections, especially with Labor position in the polls. On the other hand, Likud politicians are saying in a self interested way that Barak would not like to allow Livni to establish herself in an independent position of power. While all of this is taking place, former Minister of Finance Avraham Hirchson was indicted for embezzlement and a whole host of additional crimes.

As if there were not enough complications going on in Israel, the Chief Rabbinic Court in Ashdod decided to void all the conversions made by Rabbi Haim Druckman. You may be thinking that Druckman is a Conservative or Reform Rabbi. No! He is considered one of the leading rabbis of religious Zionism and his conversions were voided because it turned out that one of his converts is not Shomer Shabbat. That is what happens when you allow the non-Zionist Haredim to take over the religious court system.