A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
August 19 , 2007 Olmert and Bank Leumi/ IDF's Purchases
One of the many corruption investigations regarding Prime Minister Olmert's actions came back in the news today when Dr. Yaron Zechlier testified before the Knesset committee on corruption. In his testimony, Zechlier stated that the Bank Leumi affair that Olmert is accused of being a part of is the largest example of corruption in Israeli history. That is a rather bold statement based on what has been known to date about the affair. Until now, Olmert has been accused of trying to influence the selection of who would be able to purchase Bank Leumi. Avi Drucher on Israel Channel 10 reported tonight that the police are investigating a theory that Olmert did not only try to influence the process, but actually put together the group of investors to buy the bank.
Interestingly, Arcadi Gaydamak in an interview last night stated that he believed that Olmert will manage to hold on to his title through the end of his term, and then will get back to what he really likes doing: business- this time openly.
An article in today's Ha'aretz describes the plans for the Ministry of Defense to review the major procurement plans for the next five years. One of the major questions is when to purchase the new generation of American made F-35. This aircraft will be widely sold throughout the West to replace the F-16. Its cost is 60 million dollars. Israel is also interested in the F-22, which as of the moment cannot be exported; its price is $200 million a piece. Thus the 25% increase in US defense assistance to Israel over the next ten years does not go all that far, and will require trade-offs on the part of the IDF.
Thomas Friedman seems to have returned from vacation with a new column in today's NYT called "Seeing is Believing". In it he argues that for something to work in either Iraq or in the Israeli-Arab dispute the situation must be obvious.
He wrote: Any Arab-Israeli peace overture that requires a Middle East expert to explain to you is not worth considering. ItŐs going nowhere.
Either a peace overture is so obvious and grabs you in the gut Ń Anwar Sadat's trip to Israel -- or it's going nowhere. That is why the Saudi-Arab League peace overture is going nowhere. No emotional content. It was basically faxed to the Israeli people, and people donŐt give up land for peace in a deal that comes over the fax.
He goes on to say similar things about the Iraq War; if you have to explain how the surge is working it is not.
Christian Anapour is having an interesting series on CNN this week- Warriors of God. The series begins Tuesday night at 9PM on Jewish warriors, moving on the Muslim and Christian in subsequent days.