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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

May 8, 2008 Gag Order on Olmert Affair Lifted

The Israeli courts have removed the gag order on the newest case against Ehud Olmert.  The most basic part of the story is the same as reported a few days.  Morris Talansky, an American businessman, is said to have given cash to Olmert six years ago.  Talansky admits to doing this.  The charges allege Olmert received the money as a bribe.  Olmert spoke and claims that the money was received a campaign contribution.  If the money Olmert received was a violation of the campaign law, the statue of limitations has expired.

The problem with Olmert’s claim is that there is no written record of the money.  Olmert is claiming that his lawyer, Uri Messer, received the money and knows what happened.  It looks like Olmert is setting up his defense by blaming Messer. In the meantime, Messer is said to be cooperating fully with the police.  Messer’s testimony may be devastating. 

It is sad that the major news story on the night of Yom HaAtzmaut was about yet another alleged government scandal. On the other hand, better Israel is a state that can accuse its Prime Minister of Malfeasance, than one where such accusations are forbidden.  How far we have come… from the day Rabin had to resign because his wife did not close a bank account from the period when he was serving in the US… to a Prime Minister that effectively admits to having received illegal campaign gifts yet claims that since they are not proven bribes, he should continue being Prime Minister.