The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced this week to six years in jail for accepting bribes during his tenure as mayor of Jerusalem in what a judge in 2010 described as “one of the worst corruption affairs in Israeli history.”
Mr. Olmert was convicted of taking money to ease the way for the development of the widely unpopular Holyland apartment complex in southern Jerusalem, and at his sentencing this week Judge David Rozen characterized Mr. Olmert’s actions as part of a culture of corruption in Israel that “must be uprooted.”
We can’t help but note an intriguing political aspect to the Olmert story beyond the pervasive illegality it points to.
When accusations of bribery against Mr. Olmert first surfaced in 2009, he promptly announced he would resign the office of prime minister, which he’d assumed in 2006. At the time of his resignation he was deeply involved in negotiations with the Palestinians and reportedly was offering, among other concessions, to relinquish Israeli control of Jerusalem’s Old City and nearby areas and surrender large swaths of settlement areas beyond the Green Line.
Typically, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would not go along even with those far-reaching offers. Mr. Olmert’s successor, Benjamin Netanyahu, abandoned key parts of Mr. Olmert’s plan, much to the consternation of Mr. Abbas, who’d envisioned the Olmert concessions as a floor rather than a ceiling for future negotiations.
Mr. Olmert apparently had no problem with Mr. Abbas’s intransigence and in fact acknowledged in 2011 that he’d been very close to a deal with Mr. Abbas when he found himself engulfed by the burgeoning scandal on the home front.
There is an interesting parallel here with the timing and details of another political scandal. In January 1998 President Bill Clinton was in the midst of a major effort to revive the foundering peace process based on the 1993 Oslo Accords. Both PA Chairman Yasir Arafat and Prime Minister Netanyahu were in Washington late that month for meetings with U.S. officials. The Clinton administration was prepared to ratchet up the pressure on Israel to make significant withdrawals from the West Bank and cease further settlement construction.
President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made no effort to hide their frustration with Mr. Netanyahu. In fact, the Israeli prime minister was denied the traditional lunch and joint news conference at the White House.
Mr. Clinton reportedly came down hard on Prime Minister Netanyahu at their meeting, as had been expected. But that meeting took place just before news broke of President Clinton’s relationship with young White House intern Monica Lewinsky. That story quickly overshadowed Mr. Clinton’s meetings with Messrs. Netanyahu and Arafat. Suddenly the president had a lot more than Middle East politics to occupy his attention.
Once again unforeseen events made mockery of the plans of men. Coincidence? We’ll leave that for our readers to decide.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-olmert-affair-and-unforeseen-events/2014/05/14/
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