Monday, May 19, 2008

CORRUPTION IN ISRAEL IS MORE FUN

RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, TIKUN OLAM The more you read about the Olmert bribery investigation and get to know the cast of characters, the more it resembles a very bad opera or perhaps even burlesque. There's the former Orthodox rabbi, Morris Talansky, become bag man for a prime minister. The former rabbi once recruited muscle to intimidate a disgruntled business partner at a Manhattan topless bar called, aptly enough, Scores. ABC alleges that Talansky may have bribed Olmert to erect a speed bump on his son's Jerusalem street. Was everything for sale when Olmert was mayor of the city? Even speed bumps??

The police question a billionaire Las Vegas gambling tycoon, Sheldon Adelson, who supports Olmert's political rival Bibi, about whether the current PM solicited business from the tycoon on behalf of the ex-rabbi turned mini-bar king.

The billionaire diet king, S. Daniel Abraham, is accused of stuffing cash into cases of Slim Fast and having them delivered by Olmert's New York limo driver to Olmert's hotel during his visits to the Big Apple. Talansky admits to having personally paid Olmert's $5,000 hotel bill. Not to be outdone, Bibi Netanyahu has also admitted that his admirers (or worse) paid at least one of his London hotel bills. Prime ministers and would be prime ministers certainly go in style and on their friends' tab.

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