MideastWeb Middle East Web Log

log  archives  middle east  maps  history   documents   countries   books   encyclopedia   culture   dialogue   links    timeline   donations 

Search:

Israeli Scandal: Son of the Godfather and Sopranos returns

01/21/2004

[Jerusalem, January 21] A scandal that has been brewing for several months under the seat of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has inevitably boiled over. Likud kingmaker and consiglieri David Appel has been indicted for giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Ariel Sharon, to Gilad Sharon, his son, and to deputy PM Ehud Ohlmert during his campaign for Mayor of Jerusalem, in return for their help in promoting real estate deal deals. Appel told Sharon that his son would make a great deal of money through the deal, and hired him as a consultant at an inflated salary, though he knew that Gilad Sharon was totally unqualified for the job.

The Labor party has tendered a no-confidence motion in the government, though there is little chance of it passing. Under Israeli law, even an indictment against Sharon and Ohlmert themselves would not result in new elections necessarily, since the President could call on another Member of Knesset to form a government. If the PM is temporarily incapacitated, the deputy Prime Minister would take over the government. However, Ohlmert is the deputy PM, so there might be a constitutional crisis of both Sharon and Ohlmert are indicted.


The indictment alleges that Appel was willing to pay Gilad Sharon a salary of tens of thousands of shekels a month and a bonus of $3 million to advance Appel's project for a resort on a Greek island. According to the indictment, Appel actually paid Gilad Sharon $100,000 and transfered over NIS 2.5 million (over half a million dollars) to Ariel Sharon's Shiqmim Negev ranch.

The charges claim that "Appel and Gilad reached an agreement, though Appel knew that Gilad did not have the relevant professional skills. Appel came to an agreement with Gilad to pay out inflated amounts of money to Ariel Sharon's son for the purpose of influencing Ariel Sharon in his public stands."
The allegations state that Appel promised to support Ariel Sharon during the 1999 primaries for the Likud leadership, and also charges Appel with bribing Ohlmert to help with the Greek island project when Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem.

Interviewed on Israel radio, Appel's lawyer, Moshe Israel, categorically denied the charges. "There was no bribery, there was no giver and there was no taker," he said. Israel noted that previous bribery charges against Appel had not resulted in a conviction, and predicted the same end for the current case.

Though logically one might think that Sharon and Ohlmert should have been indicted as well, no such indictments were requested by the State prosecutor. Nonetheless, there is wide speculation that Sharon may have to resign or suspend himself. Ya'ad party MK Yossi Sarid said that Sharon should suspend himself, because the scandal would put great pressure on him. According to him, in the present situation, Sharon might start a war or another adventure in order to divert attention from the scandal.

Earlier Sharon was embarrassed when a former strategic consultant,"a private investigator apparently employed by him as a fixer, David Spector, released tapes showing that Sharon knew about foreign campaign contributions, despite previous denials.

Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz called the affair a "political earthquake," and stated that in a country of proper standards, the prime minister would have been forced to resign long ago. "There's Sopranos on television, and there's Sopranos in Israel," Pines-Paz is quoted as saying.

Sharon was re-elected despite numerous allegations of corruption and irregularities in his Likud primaries campaign. Likud MK Naomi Blumenthal has been indicted for favors handed out during the primaries campaign, but few have illusions that that is the entire extent of the corruption. An alleged Ramat Gan crime figure interviewed on Israeli radio explained how it came about that large numbers of voters, of the correct persuasion, had suddenly registered so they could vote in the Likud primaries. It went about like this, "Well you know how it is. When you are in business you do favors, and make friends. So the friends owe you favors. And the friends have friends who owe them favors. So all of my friends returned my favors..." No, this was not written by Mario Puzo. The conversation was in Hebrew on Israeli radio and it really happened - in Israel, and not in New Jersey.

Nonetheless, the Likud got 38 mandates in the elections and Sharon became prime minister. Israeli voters are no longer excited by such scandals, and it is unlikely that they will care about Sharon's latest problems. The alternative to Sharon is not a dovish government that will advance the peace process, but rather a Likud government headed by Sharon's right-wing rivals in the Likud, headed by hawkish and fiscally "conservative" Minister of Finance and former PM, Benjamin Nethanyahu. Appel himself has proven to be teflon coated, escaping conviction on bribery charges in the "Hebron-Bar On" scandal that rocked the Nethanyahu administration. In any case, legal cases in Israel can take many years. Likud politicos are publicly expressing confidence that Sharon will remain prime minister until 2007, and privately scrambling for better positions - just in case someone makes them an offer they cannot refuse.

Ami Isseroff

If you like this post - click to Reddit!
add to del.icio.usAdd to digg - digg it

Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000163.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 02:08 PM CST [Link]

NEWS

Middle East e-Zine

Midde East News

Opinion Digest

Late Updates

REFERENCE

Middle East Glossary

Middle East Maps

Middle East Books

Middle East Documents

Israel-Palestine History

Israel-Palestine Timeline

Middle East Countries

Middle East Economy

Middle East Population

Middle East Health

Zionism History

Palestinian Parties

Palestinian Refugees

Peace Plans

Water

Middle East

  

Blog Links

OneVoice - Israeli-Palestinian Peace Blog

Bravo411 -Info Freedom

Israel News

Oceanguy

Michael Brenner

Dutchblog Israel

Dutch - IMO (Israel & Midden-Oosten) Blog (NL)

GulfReporter

Israpundit

Alas, a Blog

Little Green Footballs

Blue Truth

Fresno Zionism

Reut Blog

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Blog

Simply Jews: Judaism and Israel

Jeff Weintraub - Commentaries and Controversies

Vital Perspective

ZioNation

Meretz USA Weblog

normblog

MIDEAST observer

On the Contrary

Blogger News Network- BNN

Google Sex Maps

Demediacratic Nation

Realistic Dove

Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.

On the Face

Israel Palestjnen (Dutch)

Middle East Analysis

Israel: Like This, As If

Middle East Analysis

Mid_East Journal

Z-Word Blog

Dvar Dea

SEO for Everyone


Web Sites & Pages

Israeli-Palestinian Procon

End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: One Voice

Democratiya

ATFP- American Task Force on Palestine

Americans For Peace Now

Shalom Achshav

Chicago Peace Now

Nemashim

Peacechild Israel

Bridges of Peace

PEACE Watch

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Z-Word

Zionism

Zionism and Israel

Zionism and Israel on the Web

Israel - Palestina:Midden-Oosten Conflict + Zionisme

IsraŽl in de Media

Euston Manifesto

New Year Peace

Jew

Christian Zionism

Jew Hate

Space Shuttle Blog

Israel News Magazine

SEO


My Ecosystem Details
International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Link 2 us
We link 2 U.
MidEastWeb- Middle East News & Views
MidEastWeb is not responsible for the content of linked Web sites



Please do not leave notes for MidEastWeb editors here. Hyperlinks are not displayed. We may delete or abridge comments that are longer than 250 words, or consist entirely of material copied from other sources, and we shall delete comments with obscene or racist content or commercial advertisements. Comments should adhere to Mideastweb Guidelines . IPs of offenders will be banned.

Powered By Greymatter

[Previous entry: "Conditions for victory in Iraq, continued: political vs. military"] Main Index [Next entry: "Israeli security barrier: back to the drawing boards?"]

ALL PREVIOUS MidEastWeb Middle East LOG ENTRIES

Thank you for visiting MidEastWeb - Middle East.
If you like what you see here, tell others about the MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log - www.mideastweb.org/log/.

Contact Us

Copyright

Editors' contributions are copyright by the authors and MidEastWeb for Coexistence RA.
Please link to main article pages and tell your friends about MidEastWeb. Do not copy MidEastWeb materials to your Web Site. That is a violation of our copyright. Click for copyright policy.
MidEastWeb and the editors are not responsible for content of visitors' comments.
Please report any comments that are offensive or racist.

Editors can log in by clicking here

Technorati Profile

RSS FeedRSS feed Add to Amphetadesk Add to Amphetadesk

USA Credit Card - Donate to MidEastWeb  On-Line - Help us live and grow