Don’t Take Bribes

Perhaps Berlusconi is going to have company emptying bedpans in the Alzheimer’s ward: former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has been convicted of taking bribes while mayor of Jerusalem and sentenced to six years in prison. He has appealed and his lawyers are arguing he should be given community service instead.

In a case that analysts here said vindicated prosecutors whose campaigns against corruption had been criticized as overzealous and expensive, Mr. Olmert was found guilty six weeks after a sweeping, yearslong investigation into the planning process surrounding the hulking, hated apartment complex in southern Jerusalem known as Holyland. A judge in 2010 called it “one of the worst corruption affairs in Israeli history.”

When Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem, he gave a pompous lecture to my high school graduating class (we were spending the second semester of our senior year in Israel as a reward for 13 years of Jewish Day School) in which he said, “We don’t build walls; we tear them down.” Then he was elected Prime Minister and proceeded to build the Security Barrier, which is basically the Great Wall of China winding around the West Bank.

Now he’s going to prison — not for building walls but for taking bribes to help build “Holyland.” Justice is sweet. Remember kids, DON’T TAKE BRIBES.

picture by David King



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