Elliot Chodoff's partner, Yisrael Ne'eman, questions his country's endemic political corruption? Ne'eman could just as easily have written about the political system in the United States which is driven by money, power,greed and outsized egos. But then that is the ingredients of politics. At this time in history, it appears more blatant in Israel but tell that to the Native Americans who were stolen blind by some crafty corrupt Republicans. (See 1 below.)
Stratfor's, George Friedman, has written an interesting piece about Iran and the tensions within, which range from a belief now is the time to strike because the United States is weak and bogged down in Iraq and caution because the United States might be stronger than their opposite number believe.
In his article Friedman suggests we do not believe we can establish the kind of government in Iraq we would like and the Iranians believe, in time, their dominance will prevail. What eventually will prove to be the case is driven by the varying interests of great powers but Friedman concludes Iran hrstorically has acted more cautiously than its rhetoric would imply.
Perhaps Friedman intended to focus only on Iran and the US but I found his failure to bring Israel into the picture was a mistake. I am not suggesting Israel will be able to act unilaterally but continued taunting of Israel by Iran and Iran's continued funding of surrogate terrorism which threatens Israel will have its consequences whether we like it or not. (See 2 below.)
While at the gym today after finishing my exercise regimen I decided to relax for a minute and picked up an issue of Town and Country. The cover had been torn off but it was obviously, based on the articles, published before the November elections.
I have not read this magazine for more years than I like to count but I always remembered the writing was good and it still is. What really was revealing was the total and complete liberal slant. Then I began to look at the advertisements and the articles featuring bejeweled royalty and their hob-nobbing American admirers going about raising funds for various charitable causes and I understood. Town and Country maybe always was a publication for our nation's "snobbies" but now it even aligns with their politics. Article after article either bashed GW and his administration or was critical of everything and anything he and his party were about.
I have concluded T and C is the comic book of the intelligentsia. There were pages of ads for outrageously expensive watches, jewelry, cars and clothing. The kind of baubles and items the wine and cheese set adorn themselves as they scramble to make understated statements of how wealthy they are, how poor is their taste or how vapid their lives. One of the featured articles was about the power struggle for Mr. Astor's granddaughter's wealth by members of her family whom the article quoted others as saying were a bit boorish.
Later this evening I then read Ne'eman's article (See 1 below.) and I was reminded again of how vulgar the political scene is as it becomes increasingly driven by wealth and greed - he very readership T and C strives to reach. It is so "in" to be out.
Rome may not have been built in a day because the rot, that eventually brought it down, took time to accumulate but when it started to collapse it did not take long.
Gen Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, finally fell on his sword and resigned. I suspect my friend knew in advance that this was coming and I suspect others will follow. In the long run the soul searching going on within Israel's military ranks will prove refreshing and might be just what the doctor ordered. My candidate for Chief of Staff would be to return Gen. Moshe Ya'alon. (See 3 below)
Now if Olmert would do the same. (See 4 below.)
US ambassador to Israel Richard Jones told the Jerusalem Post in an
exclusive interview on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
"picked up" Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's ideas about a need to provide a
"political horizon" during her recent visit here.
Jones said it was important to give both sides "an idea of what we're
talking about, what we are getting into."
Rice is expected back in the region within a month for trilateral
discussions with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Jones stressed these would not be
"negotiations," but rather "discussions" of all the major issues that would
have to be dealt with during the final stages of implementing TRM.
Last month, Livni came out with the idea of holding talks with the
Palestinians about a future state, before implementation of the first stage
of TRM. The idea behind this was to give the Palestinians an
incentive to implement the first steps of TRM in order to reach
Jones said he had no knowledge of any tract to agreement worked out
between Israeli, Syrian and US non-governmental officials. He said, however,
the US position regarding Syria is that it should not be rewarded for
its intransigent behavior. Jones said the Israeli government was "not
chomping at the bit" to advance negotiations with the Syrians, but,
added, the US was not standing in Jerusalem's way.
Is it not amazing that the lives of people turn on two words - negotiations versus discussions?
Now that Osoma has decided to explore running for the presidency he should resign from the Senate and enroll somewhere and learn how to govern. It is scary that someone with so little experience believes, because he wrote a book, has a nice smile, has become the darling of the media and knows how to kiss babies feels qualified to run our nation. Have recent presidents so diminished the Oval Office, even freshmen believe they should run the fraternity house?
Are we ready for another possible Carter?
1) Israel 2007 – Endemic Corruption?
By Yisrael Ne’eman
We in Israel and the Jewish world need to face some very unpleasant facts about ourselves. Our present political leadership in the State of Israel appears to be almost hopelessly corrupt. All politics is known for its “wheeling and dealing” but Israel 2007 is slipping towards an abyss we never believed could exist in the Jewish national movement. Somehow we always “knew” of such behavior happening to other peoples, but never to ourselves. For a people who were to be “a light unto the nations” we are far from being a light unto ourselves.
So what went wrong? In a word – materialism and its negative exponential – greed. Spirituality may be sidelined but it is far from dead as it continues to reside within the hearts of many Jews. Unfortunately, increasing numbers are taking their cues from the political elite (or should it be “delete”). A philosophical material understanding of the world is not negative in its own right, both Adam Smith and Karl Marx believed that wealth accumulation, redistribution or whatever the major force in socio-economic development, whether it be capitalist or socialist was being done for the good of society. By taking either theory or a bit of both as the best economic model(s) for developing the secular states in our present “age of nationalism” the rising nations of the West and later elsewhere used these ideas as tools for the betterment and advancement of their peoples. Zionism did the same, whether it was the socialism of Ben Gurion and the Labor Zionists or the capitalism of Jabotinsky and the Revisionists (or even Weizmann’s general Zionists). Such theories were a means to an end in nation building and especially in the Jewish national cause when the Zionist movement collected persecuted Jewish communities from around the world, brought them back to the ancient homeland and built a modern nation state. It was a means to an end, the end always being what is best for the Jewish People.
Unfortunately, the means is now an end in itself as excessive material well being (gluttony) and political power become their own ends as they are narrowed down to the individual. Whether one is a socialist or capitalist is unimportant. The unity of purpose through the spiritual understanding – also known as “the spirit of the People” is forgotten when leaders seek their own personal well being along with that of their friends and family at the expense of the society they are elected to represent.
The revered Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook already during the Mandate Period had great doubts about political behavior when he wrote concerning the delay of the Jewish national redemption that “our soul was disgusted by the dreadful sins that go with political rule in evil times,” in reference to the 2000 year Jewish exile. He hoped for a time of purity and holiness for then the Jewish People would achieve redemption. He lived to see the evils perpetrated by both communism and fascism in their initial stages.
Those who are greedy need to be in power to satisfy their appetites and conveniently forget there is a Jewish People out there, their only worry being how to jockey for power and win the next election. Those involved in long term planning are not in politics, such as the water (Mekorot), electric companies or best yet, the Jewish National Fund. Unfortunately, here too some are earning exorbitant salaries at public expense.
Just to recap a bit. The president, Moshe Katzav is facing criminal charges for sexual misconduct and possibly rape, the PM Ehud Olmert is being investigated for quasi-legal land deals, bribe taking and illegal appointments to civil service posts and just this past week the Finance Minister Avraham Hirshzon is being accused of financial irregularities when he headed the National Labor Union (Likud) faction. Although not charged with any crime, the Defense Minister and former labor union boss Amir Peretz has been known to sign up massive numbers of new members to the Labor party just before the primaries to ensure his own victory. It is true he was not the only one, but that does not justify such behavior. In the background is the jail sentence to be served by Omri Sharon for election fraud and illegal fundraising done for his father Ariel Sharon in his bid to win the Likud party leadership in 1999. Enter former PM Ehud Barak who wants a shot at the Labor Party top spot in the upcoming May primaries. He was notorious for developing non-profit organizations for campaign fundraising, giving them fictitious charters and breaking the election rules, at least in spirit. These are just the well known stories.
Now we have a major investigation into the Tax & Customs Service where political appointees and high powered businessmen appear to have orchestrated a partial takeover of the state revenue service. The police are still investigating. Those involved were all from the Likud at one point or another, whether they are in Kadima today, such as PM Olmert, who is considered by many to be among the most corrupt politicians in the country or if they remained in the Likud, like those supporters of former foreign minister Sylvan Shalom and the deceased minister Yitzhak Moda’i. Eitan Rob and Jackie Matza are the new superstars in the deepening morass. In short, the Likud (and Kadima of today) central committee captured much of Israel’s civil service. Only recently have political appointees to civil service jobs come under judicial scrutiny. Better a late investigation than none at all.
As Moshe Gorali pointed out in this week’s Ma’ariv weekend magazine, corruption in the civil service is more dangerous than on the political level. Here it becomes endemic and the entire system breaks down. Politicians can more easily be replaced; a civil service suffering from criminal rot brings down the entire infrastructure, meaning the state itself.
Never has the country faced such a sickening array of scandals and abuse of power. Should it become an existential threat to the State of Israel, it may very well be life threatening to the Jewish People since a strong state entity is the best insurance for the continuation of the nation. So where did it all start?
Most likely with the education system and the values projected by those in leadership positions - twenty, thirty and forty years ago. In the main, both parents and the school system forgot to teach our children the essence of Jewish being and why we are here in the Land of Israel. Too many people got sidelined chasing after money and power. Those children grew up and became our political leadership.
2) Rhetoric and Reality: The View from Iran
By George Friedman
The Iraq war has turned into a duel between the United States and Iran. For the United States, the goal has been the creation of a generally pro-American coalition government in Baghdad -- representing Iraq's three major ethnic communities. For Iran, the goal has been the creation of either a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad or, alternatively, the division of Iraq into three regions, with Iran dominating the Shiite south.
The United States has encountered serious problems in creating the coalition government. The Iranians have been primarily responsible for that. With the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June, when it appeared that the Sunnis would enter the political process fully, the Iranians used their influence with various Iraqi Shiite factions to disrupt that process by launching attacks on Sunnis and generally destabilizing the situation. Certainly, Sunnis contributed to this, but for much of the past year, it has been the Shia, supported by Iran, that have been the primary destabilizing force.
So long as the Iranians continue to follow this policy, the U.S. strategy cannot succeed. The difficulty of the American plan is that it requires the political participation of three main ethnic groups that are themselves politically fragmented. Virtually any substantial group can block the success of the strategy by undermining the political process. The Iranians, however, appear to be in a more powerful position than the Americans. So long as they continue to support Shiite groups within Iraq, they will be able to block the U.S. plan. Over time, the theory goes, the Americans will recognize the hopelessness of the undertaking and withdraw, leaving Iran to pick up the pieces. In the meantime, the Iranians will increasingly be able to dominate the Shiite community and consolidate their hold over southern Iraq. The game appears to go to Iran.
Americans are extremely sensitive to the difficulties the United States faces in Iraq. Every nation-state has a defining characteristic, and that of the United States is manic-depression, cycling between insanely optimistic plans and total despair. This national characteristic tends to blind Americans to the situation on the other side of the hill. Certainly, the Bush administration vastly underestimated the difficulties of occupying Iraq -- that was the manic phase. But at this point, it could be argued that the administration again is not looking over the other side of the hill at the difficulties the Iranians might be having. And it is useful to consider the world from the Iranian point of view.
The Foundation of Foreign Policy
It is important to distinguish between the rhetoric and the reality of Iranian foreign policy. As a general principle, this should be done with all countries. As in business, rhetoric is used to shape perceptions and attempt to control the behavior of others. It does not necessarily reveal one's true intentions or, more important, one's capabilities. In the classic case of U.S. foreign policy, Franklin Roosevelt publicly insisted that the United States did not intend to get into World War II while U.S. and British officials were planning to do just that. On the other side of the equation, the United States, during the 1950s, kept asserting that its goal was to liberate Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union, when in fact it had no plans, capabilities or expectations of doing so. This does not mean the claims were made frivolously -- both Roosevelt and John Foster Dulles had good reasons for posturing as they did -- but it does mean that rhetoric is not a reliable indicator of actions. Thus, the purple prose of the Iranian leadership cannot be taken at face value.
To get past the rhetoric, let's begin by considering Iran's objective geopolitical position.
Historically, Iran has faced three enemies. Its oldest enemy was to the west: the Arab/Sunni threat, against which it has struggled for millennia. Russia, to the north, emerged as a threat in the late 19th century, occupying northern Iran during and after World War II. The third enemy has worn different faces but has been a recurring threat since the time of Alexander the Great: a distant power that has intruded into Persian affairs. This distant foreign power -- which has at times been embodied by both the British and the Americans -- has posed the greatest threat to Iran. And when the element of a distant power is combined with one of the other two traditional enemies, the result is a great global or regional power whose orbit or influence Iran cannot escape. To put that into real terms, Iran can manage, for example, the chaos called Afghanistan, but it cannot manage a global power that is active in Iraq and Afghanistan simultaneously.
For the moment, Russia is contained. There is a buffer zone of states between Iran and Russia that, at present, prevents Russian probes. But what Iran fears is a united Iraq under the influence or control of a global power like the United States. In 1980, the long western border of Iran was attacked by Iraq, with only marginal support from other states, and the effect on Iran was devastating. Iran harbors a rational fear of attack from that direction, which -- if coupled with American power -- could threaten Iranian survival.
Therefore, Iran sees the American plan to create a pro-U.S. government in Baghdad as a direct threat to its national interests. Now, the Iranians supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003; they wanted to see their archenemy, former President Saddam Hussein, deposed. But they did not want to see him replaced by a pro-American regime. Rather, the Iranians wanted one of two outcomes: the creation of a pro-Iranian government dominated by Iraqi Shia (under Iran's control), or the fragmentation of Iraq. A fragmented Iraq would have two virtues. It would prove no danger to Iran, and Iran likely would control or heavily influence southern Iraq, thus projecting its power from there throughout the Persian Gulf.
Viewed this way, Iran's behavior in Iraq is understandable. A stable Iraq under U.S. influence represents a direct threat to Iran, while a fragmented or pro-Iranian Iraq does not. Therefore, the Iranians will do whatever they can to undermine U.S. attempts to create a government in Baghdad. Tehran can use its influence to block a government, but it cannot -- on its own -- create a pro-Iranian one. Therefore, Iran's strategy is to play spoiler and wait for the United States to tire of the unending conflict. Once the Americans leave, the Iranians can pick up the chips on the table. Whether it takes 10 years or 30, the Iranians assume that, in the end, they will win. None of the Arab countries in the region has the power to withstand Iran, and the Turks are unlikely to get into the game.
The Unknown Variables
Logic would seem to favor the Iranians. But in the past, the Iranians have tried to be clever with great powers and, rather than trapping them, have wound up being trapped themselves. Sometimes they have simply missed other dimensions of the situation. For example, when the revolutionaries overthrew the Shah and created the Islamic Republic, the Iranians focused on the threat from the Americans, and another threat from the Soviets and their covert allies in Iran. But they took their eyes off Iraq -- and that miscalculation not only cost them huge casualties and a decade of economic decay, but broke the self-confidence of the Iranian regime.
The Iranians also have miscalculated on the United States. When the Islamic Revolution occurred, the governing assumption -- not only in Iran but also in many parts of the world, including the United States -- was that the United States was a declining power. It had, after all, been defeated in Vietnam and was experiencing declining U.S. military power and severe economic problems. But the Iranians massively miscalculated with regard to the U.S. position: In the end, the United States surged and it was the Soviets who collapsed.
The Iranians do not have a sterling record in managing great powers, and especially in predicting the behavior of the United States. In large and small ways, they have miscalculated on what the United States would do and how it would do it. Therefore, like the Americans, the Iranians are deeply divided. There are those who regard the United States as a bumbling fool, all set to fail in Iraq. There are others who remember equally confident forecasts about other American disasters, and who see the United States as ruthless, cunning and utterly dangerous.
These sentiments, then, divide into two policy factions. On the one side, there are those who see Bush's surge strategy as an empty bluff. They point out that there is no surge, only a gradual buildup of troops, and that the number of troops being added is insignificant. They point to political divisions in Washington and argue that the time is ripe for Iran to go for it all. They want to force a civil war in Iraq, to at least dominate the southern region and take advantage of American weakness to project power in the Persian Gulf.
The other side wonders whether the Americans are as weak as they appear, and also argues that exploiting a success in Iraq would be more dangerous and difficult than it appears. The United States has substantial forces in Iraq, and the response to Shiite uprisings along the western shore of the Persian Gulf would be difficult to predict. The response to any probe into Saudi Arabia certainly would be violent.
We are not referring here to ideological factions, nor to radicals and moderates. Rather, these are two competing visions of the United States. One side wants to exploit American weakness; the other side argues that experience shows that American weakness can reverse itself unexpectedly and trap Iran in a difficult and painful position. It is not a debate about ends or internal dissatisfaction with the regime. Rather, it is a contest between audacity and caution.
The Historical View
Over time -- and this is not apparent from Iranian rhetoric -- caution has tended to prevail. Except during the 1980s, when they supported an aggressive Hezbollah, the Iranians have been quite measured in their international actions. Following the war with Iraq, they avoided overt moves -- and they even were circumspect after the fall of the Soviet Union, when opportunities presented themselves to Iran's north. After 9/11, the Iranians were careful not to provoke the United States: They offered landing rights for damaged U.S. aircraft and helped recruit Shiite tribes for the American effort against the Taliban. The rhetoric alternated between intense and vitriolic; the actions were more cautious. Even with the Iranian nuclear project, the rhetoric has been far more intense than the level of development seems to warrant.
Rhetoric influences perceptions, and perceptions can drive responses. Therefore, the rhetoric should not be discounted as a driving factor in the geopolitical system. But the real debate in Iran is over what to do about Iraq. No one in Iran wants a pro-U.S. government in Baghdad, and blocking the emergence of such a government has a general consensus. But how far to go in trying to divide Iraq, creating a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad and projecting power in the region is a matter of intense debate. In fact, cautious behavior combined with extreme rhetoric still appears to be the default position in Tehran, with more adventurous arguments struggling to gain acceptance.
The United States, for its part, is divided between the desire to try one more turn at the table to win it all and the fear that it is becoming hopelessly trapped. Iran is divided between a belief that the time to strike is now and a fear that counting the United States out is always premature. This is an engine that can, in due course, drive negotiations. Iran might be "evil" and the United States might be "Satan," but at the end of the day, international affairs involving major powers are governed not by rhetoric but by national interest. The common ground between the United States and Iran is that neither is certain it can achieve its real strategic interests. The Americans doubt they can create a pro-U.S. government in Baghdad, and Iran is not certain the United States is as weak as it appears to be.
Fear and uncertainty are the foundations of international agreement, while hope and confidence fuel war. In the end, a fractured Iraq -- an entity incapable of harming Iran, but still providing an effective buffer between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula -- is emerging as the most viable available option.
3) IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz announces his resignation
By Amos Harel
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz on Tuesday night announced his resignation as head of the military. The deputy chief of staff, Moshe Kaplinsky, will act as the interim head of the armed forces.
Senior General Staff officers welcomed Halutz's decision, saying it was
necessary in view of what has come to light regarding the IDF's wartime functioning. "The time has really come," a general who played an active role in the war told Haaretz on Tuesday night.
"[Former GOC Northern Command] Udi Adam indicated the proper moral path with his decision [to resign]. Now Halutz joins him as well - and the inquiries show only the tip of the iceberg regarding Halutz's functioning during the war."
Ehud Olmert's bureau said the prime minister knew ahead of time of Halutz' intention to resign, and had asked him reconsider. Olmert accepted the resignation, however, once he became convinced of Halutz' determination to do so, and expressed deep regret at the decision.
Halutz' decision to step down comes against a backdrop of failures in IDF functioning, his own performance and the performance of the army during the war against Hezbollah in July and August of last year.
Two weeks ago, Halutz said he would resign if the government-appointed Winograd committee of inquiry found him responsible for the mishandling of the war in Lebanon. The Winograd committee is also separately looking into the conduct of Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.
"If the committee hands down an unambiguous sentence, it would obligate me [to resign]," Halutz had said. The resignation, however, comes before the committee has released its conclusions.
Senior IDF officers testified before the Winograd committee that they considered Halutz responsible for the failures of the war. The officers told the members of the panel that the IDF had made a rushed recommendation to go to war, without preparing the units needed and without devising an exit strategy.
In his letter of resignation to the prime minister and defense minister, Halutz said the responsibility of command led him to the decision that he must remain in the army until internal military investigations had been completed, and the lessons learned from the war incorporated into the IDF's 2007 strategic plan.
Given that this process was completed at the start of January, Halutz asked to resign his post, effective immediately.
In his letter to Olmert, Halutz wrote: "For me, the word responsibility has great meaning. My view of responsibility is what led me to remain in my post until this time and to place this letter on your desk today... Since the echoes of battle ceased, I decided to act responsibly according to the best traditions and values from home and from my service in the IDF."
Halutz said that after the conclusion of the inquiries "I feel proud that I completed what I set out to do. After these thorough processes, I am sure the IDF will be ready to meet the challenges ahead."
Halutz had since the end of the war resisted calls for his resignation, both from the public and within the army.
"I see that there are a number of people who are longing for me to resign. I have no intention of yielding and if you ask me the question again, I will give you the same answer," he told reporters several weeks ago.
"I am not on 'A Star is Born,' and I am not being voted on by SMS. I have not heard those who appointed me call for me to go, when they tell me to do so, then I will respond."
In the near future Peretz will have to present the cabinet with a candidate to be the next chief of staff.
Kaplinsky is an obvious choice for the position, but also mentioned are Ground Forces Commander Benny Gantz, and reserve major-generals Gabi Ashkenazi (who is currently the Defense Ministry director-general), Shlomo Yanai and Ilan Biran.
The July-August assault on Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas drove them from Israel's northern border but failed to retrieve the two soldiers whose abduction had sparked the conflict, prompting many Israelis to call for a purge of the top brass in hope of restoring Israel's military superiority in the region.
Retired IDF general Dan Shomron recently submitted the findings of a probe he conducted into the war's execution.
The report, released in part last month, criticised IDF commanders for poor organization during the war, but stopped short of calling for Halutz's resignation.
Halutz, a former Israel Air Force chief, came under criticism for relying heavily on aerial barrages in the first part of the war, which caused extensive damage to Lebanon's infrastructure, while Hezbollah launched around 4,000 rockets into Israel.
Halutz was made chief of staff in June 2005, just before Israel launched its unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
The appointment raised eyebrows as it meant early retirement for the chief of staff at the time, Lieutenant-General Moshe Ya'alon, who had publicly warned that the Gaza plan would embolden Palestinian militants sworn to Israel's destruction.
4) MKs call on Olmert to resign in wake of Bank Leumi probe
By Mazal Mualem
Knesset members from across the political spectrum called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday to resign or suspend himself after the state prosecution ordered police to open a criminal investigation of Olmert's involvement in the state's sale of a controlling interest in Bank Leumi.
As in previous recent incidents in which Olmert has found himself at the center of a political storm, top Kadima officials did not rush to his defense. Other politicians who did not comment on the controversy included the contenders for leadership of Labor, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former prime minister Ehud Barak, whom Olmert would like to see replace Peretz as defense minister.
"It can't be that the crucial state matters will be run by someone who is entirely involved in saving himself," said MK Yossi Beilin, chairman of Meretz. Beilin called on Olmert to suspend himself immediately and transfer his prime ministerial authority to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who bears the title of acting prime minister, until the investigation is over.
Beilin warned that if Olmert does not suspend himself, then Meretz-Yachad will initiate proceedings in the Knesset requiring him to do so.
MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party), who is chairman of the Knesset State Control Committee, called on Monday for the PM to step down. He said that after the Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander said he would suspend those under investigation in the Tax Authority, it was fitting for Olmert to step down.
Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said Tuesday, "Olmert has to go."
Labor MKs said the investigation signals the end of Olmert's rule.
"The decision brings the end of the government closer," said MK Danny Yatom, who is running for the leadership of Labor.
He said a key issue in the party primaries will be the candidate's ability to rehabilitate the government and lead it to elections.
MK Ami Ayalon, another candidate for Labor chairman, said the party should prepare for the possibility of early elections, with the central issues being the fight against corruption and restoration of public confidence in the political system.
MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) called for new elections, saying only that would bring a halt to the government's endless failures.
MK Yoel Hasson, one of the few Kadima members who defended Olmert, said: "The comments by senior economic and Bank of Israel officials, led by [Bank of Israel] Governor Stanley Fischer, who reinforced and praised the involvement and conduct of [then-]finance minister Olmert should constitute a guarantee that the police investigation will be completed quickly, and at the end, it will become clear that the prime minister strengthened the economic system."