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Mar 1, 2006

Israeli news "roundup"

I am going to make this post about a few interesting events that happened in Israel today, rather than a separate post for each..

(in no particular order)
1. Ehud Olmert cleared from bribery charges in relation to the price he sold his apartment for and the amount of rent he paid.
2. Bibi Netanayahu is victorious in his bid to wrench the power to elect Knesset reps from the hands of the Likud Central Committee.
3. Kadima slip in the polls continues.

Now to my rants on the above issues:

1. Ehud was cleared of the charges in relation to how much he paid in rent and how much he received for the sale of his apartment. The Comptroller clearly said that he did not investigate, nor clear Olmert of any other related charges in the matter, just the issue of the actual price. He said that despite the fact that Olmert paid rent at 60% of the apartments market value, it is considered within a reasonable range of pricing. I wonder how much of a discount is unreasonable?

2. Bibi wrenches control out of the hands of the Central Committee: This was clearly a good move all around. The Central Committee of the Likud already has developed a horrible reputation for itself. In the past, they have been involved in voting corruption and selling voting blocks to potential MKs. It is amazing that they would agree to vote to have the power taken out of their own hands, but that is exactly what they did. They still have power in other spheres of influence within the likud, such as determining functionaries and leadership over Likud organizations. The primaries, though, was one of the most powerful cards Central Committee members held, and they just gave it up to the people. It was a good move, and hopefully it will clean up the internal Likud politics a bit. Likud is expecting a nice jump in support after this turn of events.

3. Kadima slipping in the polls: While I am not one who believes in polls, especially so far away from the actual elections, they are interesting, and do provide a certain amount of an indication and barometer as to where things are heading.. In the latest polls, Kadima has continued slipping, at a slightly more accelerated pace, down to 37 seats. Don't forget, this is off a hig of as many as 45 seats with some polls having predicted up to 49-50 seats!). It seems the allure of Ariel Sharon is wearing off and Ehud Olmert does not have the same mojo that Sharon had. People are seeing through Olmert and realizing he does not actually have a plan, but is trying to react to events, and is doing so in conflicting manners. This is not the way of the strong leadership they had expected from Kadima and Sharon. Now they are seeing that Sharon's shoes were too big for Olmert to fill, and people are starting to leave for parties with real platforms and representatives, not just a conglomerate of MKs getting together hoping to attract everyone possible.

Oh yeah, one more thing. A stock I sold a few days ago (to cut my losses on it) just went up about 35% today..


  1. Re: Polls and Kadima

    It just be that some of the current results are finally taking into consideration that reportedly 75% of the Israeli population hang up when they hear its a pollster ... and the majority of those are Right Wing or Religious

  2. First off, three cheers to Bibi for doing what had to be done. Frankly, it's long overdue.

    As for Olmert, I think we all really knew that this was a one person party, and Olmert was nothing but support. I liked many of the principles of Kadima, but without Sharon it's nothing. Time to look for a new candidate.

  3. yoelba - that is why many people do not pay attention to polls. Also, it was recently exposed that because many people do not agree to answer pollsters, the pollsters have been known to fill out the polls themselves.

  4. scottage - I agree with you 98%. The first statement is 100% correct that it was long overdue. Also, everybody knew Kadima was a one person party.
    The only thing I disagree with you is about liking many of kadima's principles. Kadima never announced a platform and only recently published one. meaning, people supported them despite not knowing what they stood for. Also the "ideals" of Kadima were hardly anything realistic - rather a cholent of whatever they thought people wanted to hear. After all, how else could Tzahi Hanegbi and Shimon Peres support the same ideas?

  5. re: wrenching the control from the kiud central committee.

    As an elected LCC member myself, I was in favor of this as well, but not for the reasons you mentioned.

    A full third of the LCC are personally handpicked members by the head of the party (read: Ariel Sharon). They were never elected, are party hacks and personal friends of Sharon and are bad for the party in general (with zero ideological backbone).

    We find ourselves in a rediculously unethical situation where 1/3 of the LCC has zero alligiance to the party, its platform, or its leadership -- since Sharon LEFT and formed Kadima!

    Talk about a 5th column...and howabout the LCC members who are supporters of all the Likud MK's and Ministers who abandoned ship to go to Kadima as well?

    That's half the LCC!

    We had to get the LCC out of the picture, so the remaining MK's can hold by Likud ideology rather than Kadima's.

    Lastly - I don't think the LCC was a bad thing -- the media hated us because we had a right wing agenda. The "jobbim" given out by Omri & co. were far less than the Labor party ever did.

  6. Jameel - you make some interesting points and I agree with your assesment..
    Out of curiosity please tell me, are you am member of the LCC via MY (Manhigut) or directly through the Likud itself?

  7. You may be right Rafi....I guess I see Kadima's principles as centrering aroudn finding a peace with a concrete security, and those are the principles I agreed with. But it's true they never really went much further as far as a platform. I stand corrected.


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