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Monday, September 08, 2008

Somewhere pigs are flying

When Aryeh Eldad NU/NRP) a far right Knesset Member and Zehava Gal On (Meretz) a Knesset member from the far left, finally agree on something, I generally look out the window to see if pigs are flying. And this morning there is a high likelihood of porcine aviators outside.

After the Israeli police announced their recommendation that Prime Minister Olmert be indicted on bribery charges, these two lawmakers, who are normally on opposite sides of any given issue, both called for Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to move quickly to suspend the PM from office (a move that is well within his powers).

The reason for this odd confluence of interests is that it now appears that if an indictment is not issued before the Kadima primaries, we will be stuck with Olmert for the foreseeable future based on a combination of semantics and the laws governing transitional governments.

You see, once Kadima holds its internal elections, Olmert has pledged to quit. However, the moment he does this, he becomes the head of the transitional government until such time as his successor (or an MK from another party) is able to form a new government (which could take weeks, months or until new elections in the spring).

According to the law, no party or minister is allowed to quiet a transitional government... so once again we have all been outfoxed by Ehud Olmert. As MKs Eldad and Gal On have quite correctly pointed out, the only way out of this trap is for the Attorney General to step forward BEFORE the primaries and remove Olmert from office on the basis of the criminal indictment.

It appears to many observers that the reason the AG has not done so to this point is that he has wanted to spare the country the trauma of having the PM forcibly removed from office; preferring to wait until Olmert is a civilian to quietly deal with the legal consequences of his alleged actions. But at this point I can't imagine that Mazuz still views Olmert's removal as a potential public trauma. In fact, I imagine the public celebrations would rival Purim in many parts of the country.

Now we have to sit back and hope that these two disparate voices in the Knesset can rally enough pressure on the Attorney General to force him to act.

Posted by David Bogner on September 8, 2008 | Permalink


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I've been as big an anti-Olmert person as anyone, but I would slightly disagree. I think that Mazuz needs to either indict Olmert, or announce that he's not going to indict him, quickly. However, given that the police's conduct in all this has been, to put it nicely, less than saintly, I don't believe that Mazuz should suspend Olmert just based on the police recommendation.

Posted by: dfb1968 | Sep 8, 2008 2:26:58 PM

I wonder if Israelis would emotionally plead with Olmert to stay in power the same way they did for Menachem Begin in 66, and yet the irony, young Olmert called for Begin’s resignation then. Interesting how history repeats itself.

Posted by: Rami | Sep 8, 2008 2:48:33 PM

I do believe I hear the whine of swine rushing past my window.

Posted by: QuietusLeo | Sep 8, 2008 10:46:14 PM

Do you really want the Attorney General to have the power to unilaterally remove an elected Prime Minister, without a trial or even an indictment? Sounds like an awfully dangerous idea to me.

Posted by: Ben | Sep 9, 2008 12:32:49 AM

You know what they say about politics and bedfellows...

Posted by: psachya | Sep 9, 2008 3:58:37 PM

"no party or minister is allowed to quiet a transitional government"

The word is probably 'QUIT', not 'QUIET'. After you fix it, you can remove this comment...

Posted by: JFred | Sep 10, 2008 12:35:12 PM

Mazuz is the real problem. He has been controling Israel's justice system for much too long. He rules according to his agenda. In actuality, he's bigger than the Supreme Court.

but if you think about Eldad and Gal On working together, you could say that Olmert's bringing the Moshiach.

Posted by: Batya | Sep 10, 2008 3:50:57 PM


Actually, ZG has secretly done this before, working with the real right wing on some prisoner rights issues she felt they were just.

Posted by: Ben-Yehudah | Sep 14, 2008 11:11:55 AM

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