With Ehud Olmert bribery conviction, the media walls have crumbled

Click photo to download. Caption: Ehud Olmert. Credit: Maxine Dovere.

By Dror Eydar/JNS.org

Go back and read about who supported former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who discounted the evidence, who blamed the accusers—and learn. And to think that Olmert could have stayed in power if he had succeeded in carrying out a nefarious plan, which is in the main an unconditional withdrawal from the land of our life and the destruction of Jewish settlement. This made most of the Israeli media happy, the media that turned then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from an enemy into a beloved figure and preached that he must be carefully protected.

Olmert would have met a similar fate if he had managed to implement the mad vision he sold us with the fervency of one who has found the faith, who has seen the light after long years of darkness in the national camp. Be sure that the chief protector would have guarded him as well as Sharon, who after all wanted to put into action what most of the media had been harping on for years, without anyone listening. How silly we are.

So the Kadima Party was formed, which also came to an end yesterday in a moment of silence. Because what was Kadima? A corrupt political party intended to steal votes from the majority of the public to benefit the desire of a small cult that dreamt of annihilating Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel.

Who protected Olmert for years, even though everyone knew what he was up to? Of course, Yedioth Ahronoth, the newspaper that once had its own nation, and after that nation was stolen from it, kept Olmert as a trophy of the crime: he might be exonerated and once again take power. Look at who gathered around that newspaper: people accused and convicted of crimes and those who were let off on reasonable doubt—the whole gang that could have given the Left a change to regain power. These were people versed in tricks and dirty tricks, since the end—eradicating Jewish settlement, which for some reason is called “the peace process”—justifies any means.

Now, think about how this scandal would have ended if it hadn’t been for Israel Hayom. Not only Yedioth Ahronoth, but also Maariv of those days and other media outlets provided Olmert with a protective screen. Even yesterday attempts to downplay the gravity of the matter could be detected among a few devoted followers: “He didn’t pocket the money; he gave it to his brother, who didn't have a home. Is there no room for mercy?” and so on.

I’ve already written that as far as I am concerned, the diplomatic proposal that Olmert left in the hands of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas—in which he went further than any other Israeli leader—was enough to destine him to be wiped off the pages of history. But no one is tried for abandoning the Land of Israel. Quite the opposite: In the case of Sharon, he is turned into a founding father, and in the case of Minister Tzipi Livni, she has turned into the new Shimon Peres. So a charge was found that would stick—bribery. Who says history isn’t ironic?

Nevertheless, the charge of bribery would not have made it to court if Israel Hayom hadn’t come into the world. Throughout the process, the newspaper took a consistent line of dissent against most of the large media outlets. It’s strange, but the “shushers” who want to clip Israel Hayom’s wings, have forgotten—some of them anyway—what our public arena looked like not long ago. In the summer of 2005, for example, when Yedioth Ahronoth and the overwhelming media majority quashed any opposition to the evil disengagement plan and demonized the Gaza Strip settlers, good farmers who made barren land bloom and earned a living through manual labor. (“Jews don’t throw acid on Jews,” a Yedioth Ahronoth headline screamed, even though that was a complete lie!)

This is a lesson for those lovers of Israel who view the foolish bill intended to harm the main vehicle of expression of the nation’s majority with equanimity. Minister Naftali Bennett, my friend, take a look at the bush you’re hiding behind. This is a bush that seeks to burn our mutual dream (if you still put ideology over politics).

The medieval rabbi Rashi, commenting on the biblical verse “when a ruler sins, and does through error any one of all the things that the Lord his God has commanded not to be done, and is guilty” (Leviticus 4:22), remarked, “Fortunate is the generation whose leader is concerned to bring an atonement for his inadvertent sins, all the more so would he regret his intentional sins.”

Dror Eydar

We might not have reached the stage of regret and atonement, but when Olmert was convicted of bribery, we took one step further on the path toward it.

This op-ed first appeared in Israel Hayom, whose English-language content is distributed exclusively by JNS.org.

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Posted on April 2, 2014 and filed under Israel, Opinion.