Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Israelis call for Olmert to resign

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hugs a supporter after speaking Friday at an event marking the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.

Associated Press

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hugs a supporter after speaking Friday at an event marking the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.

JERUSALEM — The overwhelming view in Israel on Friday, just hours after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared his innocence in a bribery investigation involving a Long Island businessman, was that the post-Olmert political era had already begun.

Calls for his resignation came from left, right and center, although all acknowledged that Olmert had won himself time by vowing, as he did Thursday night, to resign if charged. The investigation is likely to take another month or two.

"The public doesn't have too much more patience," said Colette Avital, a Parliament member from the Labor Party, a partner in the governing coalition with Olmert's Kadima Party. "He is simply discredited. It may take some more weeks, or even months, but he won't be able to go on."

Since Olmert has been investigated several times before and proved to be a survivor — a "Houdini," in the words of a senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity — his political obituary may yet again prove premature.

This inquiry, however, is widely viewed as the most serious he has faced. It involves allegations that he took hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Morris Talansky of Long Island over a decade. Olmert said that they were legal campaign contributions.

"I look in the eye of each and every one of you and say: 'I never took a bribe,' " he said.

Shalom Yerushalmi, a commentator for the newspaper Maariv, wrote Friday that while the prime minister was asking to be believed, "If the public could respond collectively, it would, of course, ask: 'Why? For how many years can we hear about your escapades with the police and go on believing you?' "

Numerous analysts argued that Israel's intense security challenges could not be met effectively by a leader with such low public confidence. Peace negotiations with the Palestinians, which President Bush is hoping to advance by visiting here next week, and moves toward Syria require hard decisions, especially in the wake of the violent Hezbollah takeover in Beirut on Friday.

"Until now, Olmert was threatened but surviving, and it seemed he needed the peace negotiations as a source of strength, which Palestinian negotiators appreciated," said Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian lecturer in cultural studies at Bir Zeit University. "But now it feels like he is headed out, and that is very bad news for the negotiations."

Israelis call for Olmert to resign 05/09/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Wildlife officers look for answers in gopher tortoise deaths while reward money piles up

    Wildlife

    The blood had already pooled when the bodies were found, bashed and beaten. One was dead. The other was still gasping, but it was too late.

    A gopher tortoise emerges from a bush to feed on vegetation on Thursday in 2016 at the Moccasin Lake Environmental Education Center in Clearwater. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating the deaths of two tortoises that were beaten and their shells broken in Manatee County. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  2. Airbnb on track to shatter tax revenues brought in last year

    Business

    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.

    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.
[Bloomberg file photo]

  3. PSTA foresees no service cuts as it rolls out proposed 2018 budget

    Transportation

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will unveil the first draft of its 2018 budget at Wednesday morning's meeting of the governing board.

    A Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus leaves the terminal at  3180 Central Ave. in St Petersburg in 2014. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  4. What you need to know for Wednesday, June 28

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    St. Petersburg will finally break ground today on its long-awaited downtown Pier. [City of  St. Petersburg]
  5. USF's 'Black Pulp!' and 'Woke!' exhibits reframe African-American representation

    Visual Arts

    The concept of being "woke" is inextricably woven into the zeitgeist. To be truly woke, you have to be aware of not only current social injustices, but also the historical fight against prejudice.

    Renee Cox’s Chillin with Liberty (1998) is part of the “Black Pulp!” exhibition at the University of South Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum.