Monday, June 23, 2008

You can't make this stuff up.

Integrity isn't a term one would normally use to describe Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Rumors of scandal and corruption have plagued his political career, yet he has managed to survive. He may not be so lucky this time around. The latest allegations involve American Rabbi Morris Talansky, who alleges he gave Olmert around $150,000 that the then-mayor of Jerusalem used for luxury purchases and vacations. The sum is paltry in the grand scheme of things, and certainly not enough to buy yourself a politician of Olmert's standing.
In light of all this, it is highly ironic that Olmert would get on stage and tell the Jewish Agency for Israel, the organization in charge of bringing new immigrants to Israel, that Israel should no longer take handouts from the diaspora. Maybe, it is a political move to show remorse in the hopes of preserving his political career. Maybe, it is a bold move to remove undue and at times unhelpful influence from world Jewry in Israel's politics. One thing is certain, it takes a truly hardened politician to get on the stage as he did and speak with a straight face.