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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Olmert’s Lawyers Claims $500,000 Bribe Not Such a Big Deal

And Ephron told Abraham the land is worth 400 silver shekels, and between us, that’s peanuts. (Genesis: 23:15)
Former prime minister and Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert speaks with his attorney Eli Zohar in the courtroom of the District Court in Tel Aviv.

Former prime minister and Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert speaks with his attorney Eli Zohar in the courtroom of the District Court in Tel Aviv.
Photo Credit: Flash 90

The judge who will sentence former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for bribery admonished his lawyer for claiming that the conviction over %400,000 of money is only small change.

The prosecution on Monday asked the court to sentence Olmert to six years in jail and fine him more than $300,000.

Olmert’s attorneys, as expected, asked for a much lighter punishment, but his lawyer’s comment on the sum of the bribes says a lot about the workings of the minds of the political-legal-business establishment that has its hands in the taxpayers’ pockets.

Olmert took the stand to deny his guilt, and he no doubt believes he did nothing wrong because bribes are simply a means to justify the end of building businesses and personal empires in Israel. It is something like so-called religious leaders taking bribes to promote yeshivas and charities, all in the “name of God.”

Somewhere between the lines, there seems to be a violation of the Third Commandment, “You shalt not take the name of God in vain,” but let’s leave that for Him to decide.

Eli Zohar, one of Olmert’s attorneys, told the court that his poor and mistreated client “already has seen punished” by the heartless media that have caused him “insufferable damage” and “blackened his image,” which already was blacker than nothingness except for the die-hard leftist media and politicians who held out hope that the world can survive upside down.

The conviction, of course, was justice at its worst according to Olmert, partly because of the testimony of his former close aide Shuli Zakan, who finally decided it would be best to tell the truth – or as Olmert claims, to frame him – and spend a few less years in jail.

Olmert accused the media of creating a circus out of her testimony and making it impossible for him to receive a fair trial. He is right if the definition of a fair trial is “not guilty.”

Zohar had the audacity to tell the court that Olmert was charged with four counts of bribery but was convicted “only” on two charges,

What a righteous person! Such a great Tzadik, he is.

Not only that, but Zohar also stated that the $500,000 Olmert pocketed illegally is not such a significant sum of money. That just goes to show what is “big” money for the political-legal-business complex.

What’s half a million dollars? That was the attitude of Ephron, the landowner in Biblical Hebron when he negotiated with Avraham over the sale of the Cave Of the Patriarchs to bury Sarah.

The Arab understanding of “negotiations” hasn’t changed from then through today. After congenial talks in which Ephron told Avraham to take the land and after Avraham said, “Look, I know this game. How much do you want?” Ephron kept a straight face and said, “Oh, just some symbolic price, like 400 shekels of silver.” By some estimates, that is around $40,000 in today’s currency.

The judge was taken aback by Zohar’s comment and told him, “What are you talking about. That is a huge sum of money. This is not 20,000 shekels and not 50,000 shekels. I find it difficult accept your argument.”

In other words, Olmert is headed for the slammer – except for one big detail. After his sentencing May 13, He will appeal to the Supreme Court, and unless the justices break a record and give the case the priority it should have, Olmert may be out of jail for months or more.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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