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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Scandales israéliens

by Jacques Coubard

Israeli Scandals

Translated Friday 25 August 2006, by Henry Crapo

Tel-Aviv: Charges against top government officials exacerbate the crisis.

Police seizing the computers of the head of state, questioning him for six hours, the day after a complaint that may lead to an accusation of sexual abuse or of rape — this is what makes headlines in Israel’s daily newspapers these days.

President Moshe Katsay is also accused by the victim, his former assistant, a single mother, of blackmail by threats of firing. Protected by a law that excludes any possible condemnation, even after his exercise of political office, Katsay risks nothing but the end of his political career.

But several affairs concern government ministers, including the top official of the government, add to the political crisis that came to a boil following the aggression against Lebanon.

The controller of state accounting is investigating an exceptional kick-back of 500,000 dollars to Ehud Olmert and his wife Aliza for the purchase of an apartment in Jerusalem, a benefit believed to be linked to his function as prime minister.

A deputy in his party, former minister of environment and employment, is charged with false testimony and corruption for having distributed jobs to his friends in the Likoud, of which he was member at the time, without having made the contracts open to public bidding, as required by law.

The minister of justice, Haïm Ramon, was forced to resign. He had forced a civil servant to kiss him.

Finally, the commander in chief of the armies, General Dan Halutz, is still under investigation for having sold all his stock three hours after the capture of two Israeli soldiers by the Hezbollah.

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