Israel’s 60th Birthday


Wrong Kind of Corruption on Israel’s Birthday by Dave
May 7, 2008, 12:43 pm
Filed under: Ehud Olmert, Israel's 60th Birthday

Don’t you miss the glory days of Israel when leaders were leaders – not these corrupt baffoons we have now? Men of principle like Ben Gurion – the kind of guy you could rely on to screw everyone else over but never his fellow Jewish Israelis! Infact he screwed everyone else over to help them – an Israeli Robin Hood: robbing from the poor Palestinians to make Israelis rich. Actually I guess that makes him more like the evil sheriff of Nottingham or King John – still – what a guy! The following from AFP.

Torn by a political crisis that cast doubts over the future of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israel on Wednesday commemorated its fallen soldiers on the eve of its 60th anniversary.

Olmert, who is fighting off calls to step down over fresh corruption allegations, marked Remembrance Day with a call to fight for the survival of the Jewish state — a nation shaped by conflict.

“We remember our children who fought and gave their lives so Israel can live,” Olmert said in a radio broadcast.

“We commit ourselves to keep their memory alive, to fight for the survival of the state and to work for a better future,” he said.

“We reach our hand out for peace, but we are also ready to use our weapons,” said Olmert, commemorating the 22,437 soldiers killed in action and the 1,634 civilians who have died in militant attacks since May 1948.

The sombre commemoration was to turn into a joyous celebration at sunset, when Israel kicks off its birthday bash to mark its creation in 1948.

As Israelis stocked up for picnics and barbecues, the political establishment braced for a potential shakeup amid calls for Olmert to resign or at least step aside pending the outcome of the latest investigation.

Judicial authorities slapped a gag order over the case but allowed publication of the fact that the state prosecutor’s office wants to depose a foreign national who is the key witness in allegations against Olmert.

Anti-fraud investigators questioned Olmert for an hour on Friday at his official residence in Jerusalem.

The premier is already the subject of three police inquiries into suspected corruption involving potential conflicts of interest, fraudulent property transactions and abuse of power in connection with political appointments.

Olmert has denied any wrongdoing and insisted he will continue his duties as premier, but in a rare step he has cancelled all interviews he traditionally grants local media ahead of Israel’s anniversary celebrations.

Olmert dismisses any suggestion that he may be on the ropes, and hit back at what he called a “hysterical” campaign against him.

But his coalition partners are getting edgy.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak warned on Tuesday that his Labour party “must take into account the fact that in our current political situation the next elections could be called unexpectedly, and we have to be prepared.”

Meanwhile, security forces were on high alert amid concerns Palestinian militants could launch attacks during the celebrations, and authorities imposed a security lockdown on the West Bank until midnight (2100 GMT) on Thursday.

The Palestinians mark the anniversary of Israel’s creation by remembering the 700,000 or so of their fellow citizens who fled or were forced from their homes as the Jewish state was created and who, with their descendants, now form a UN-registered refugee population of more than 4.4 million.

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