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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is being investigated by state officials on multiple charges of corruption and illegal appointments, but a report on the matter is being delayed until after next week’s elections in which Olmert is running for top office.

The state comptroller is investigating political appointments made by Olmert while he served in 2004 as minister of Industry and Trade in Ariel Sharon’s administration. Charges were filed following complaints by ministry employees alleging Olmert appointed outsiders to top level positions in exchange for support and political favors. Employees also claimed Olmert directed funds and ministry tenders at new appointees at the expense of loyal long-time workers.

A source close to the comptroller’s office told this reporter the investigation into Olmert could “easily” have been released weeks ago “if the state wanted.” The source said a current draft of the report slams Olmert for allegedly abusing office powers and using the ministry’s director general – himself a questionable Olmert appointee – to make unwarranted appointments. It questions the utility of several appointments.

If eventually indicted, Olmert would need to vacate his government position. Opposition parties charge the delay in releasing the report is political.

*******

The bird-flu virus found in Israel last week was sent by Allah to punish the Jews for being “the worst of humanity” and is the beginning of the outbreak of other diseases meant to destroy the Jewish state within the next twenty years, a Gaza preacher said at mosque services this weekend.

“This bird flu will be the beginning of diseases which will hit the nonbelievers. Please Allah keep hitting the enemy with more diseases. This is no doubt the beginning of the end of the Israelis. Like [late Hamas spiritual leader] Sheikh Yassin said, 2025 will be the end of Jews. This [bird flu] is the sign,” said Sheikh Abu Muhammed, an imam at the popular Al-Tadwa mosque in Beit Lahia north of Gaza City.

The sheikh went on to ask Muslims at his Friday night sermon to pray for Allah to send a disease that would cause the sexual organs of Jews to “dry out” so they cannot reproduce.

*******

With national elections here just one week away and public rhetoric noticeably heating up between politicians, some candidates and parties have been bringing the family of Ehud Olmert into campaign ads.

A Likud commercial begins with a scene of Olmert at a speech exclaiming, “I want our children to have a better future.” A background voice then asks which children Olmert is referring to: “Perhaps his own children, Olmert’s sons and one of his daughters, who refused to serve in the IDF; moreover, his sons live overseas and do not see their future in Israel … if Olmert’s children who live abroad knew of his withdrawal plan, they would not return to Israel at all.”

Olmert’s oldest son, Shaul, lives in New York full time. After he finished compulsory Israeli military service, Shaul signed a petition of the pacifist organization Yesh G’vul, which calls for sodiers to refuse specific orders or refuse to serve in the Israeli military altogether. The acting prime minister’s youngest son, Ariel, reportedly refused to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. Olmert’s daughter Danna is active in Machshom Watch, an Israeli leftist organization that monitors and often acts against Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank. The IDF says the checkpoints are necessary to stop terrorists from infiltrating Israeli cities.

Some politicians running for office also have pointed out in ads and debates that Olmert’s wife Aliza long has been involved in extreme leftist activism. Aliza Olmert reportedly is a member of Israeli Women in Black, an activist group that calls for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem. Articles in the Israeli media have said Aliza has been involved in the leftist Peace Now group and reportedly has voted for the Meretz party, whose platform includes the division of Jerusalem.

*******

European monitors charged with protecting the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip fled their positions last week in response to threats by Palestinian terror groups to kidnap foreign nationals after Israel’s raid on a Jericho prison, Palestinian sources in Gaza told said.

The Rafah crossing, the main checkpoint between Egypt at Gaza, has been the scene of rampant Palestinian weapons smuggling and is the area through which terrorists have infiltrated the Palestinian territories the past few months from the neighboring Sinai desert.

The Europeans were deployed at the border as part of a deal brokered last November by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that largely transferred border security from Israel to the Palestinians.

A WorldNetDaily probe published in this column previously found Rice’s border deal is allowing terrorists to infiltrate the Gaza Strip, where they are poised to attack Israel.

The probe also found the deal allows Gaza-based terrorists freedom to travel into Sinai, where they can meet with regional jihadists.

One official close to the border deal said last week: “In many ways it just doesn’t matter whether the Europeans are there or they flee. The Rafah crossing is unsecured either way.”

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He is a co-host of ABC Radio’s nationally syndicated John Batchelor Show and can be heard regularly on American radio programs.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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