Not soon enough for some.
CNN (as well as everyone else) is reporting that in a special address this evening in Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert announced that “he will not be his party’s leader going into the next election.”
Citing “a wave of investigations and criticism” at the hands of his political opponents, he said he will resign once his Kadima party elects a new chairman… “I am not doing this out of a feeling that I cannot do my job … I believe in my ability to continue,” he said at a news conference at his official residence… “When forced to choose between my own personal standing and considerations that relate to the welfare of the state, it is the latter that will take precedence.”
Olmert’s party, Kadima will be choosing a new leader on September 17th. General elections will be held some time next year although no date has been set. Olmert seems to have gone back on his previous assertion that he would resign only if he is indicted on corruption charges.
Recent peace overtures with Syria and the Palestine Authority, which many have claimed were a stunt meant to deflect attention from corruption investigations, will probably be stalled as Israel deals with being lead by a lame duck leader.
I have to say this whole affair, and the general corruption one finds amongst many of our elected leaders has been kind of, well… embarrassing. The image of Olmert chowing down on lobster with his son in New York at a meal paid for with scads of cash provided by Moshe Talansky, a shul going Modern Orthodox New York Jew is like, just tip of the iceberg. Will this embarrassment, this national shame be the straw that broke the camels back? Will it lead to much needed electoral reform and a system of checks and balances in the justice system that will help ensure that this never happens again? I hope so, otherwise we’ll just keep plotzing along – condemned to living in what is effectively a banana republic run by a corrupt, materialistic and greedy political elite.