Kadima standing by Olmert


Senior members of Israel’s ruling Kadima Party voiced solidarity with Ehud Olmert despite his legal woes.

Olmert convened his Kadima faction Sunday for a closed-door discussion of party strategy amid a police
investigation into the prime minister’s finances.

Olmert’s announcement last week that he would resign if indicted in the case prompted speculation that his Kadima rivals could try to topple him, but Cabinet ministers from the centrist party were at pains to show they were closing ranks.

“The prime minister has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty,” said Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, according to political sources. “We must allow him to keep running the country.”

Similar sentiments were sounded by Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit, Construction Minister Zeev Boim and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter.

Notably silent, however, was Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who by law would succeed Olmert if he were to step down.

The prime minister has denied wrongdoing in his ties to Morris Talansky, an American fund-raiser at the
heart of an Israeli police probe of bribery suspicions.

“I have no reason to doubt in the proper functioning of the police and State Attorney’s Office,” Olmert told his
faction Sunday.

Recommended from JTA