Resign, Mr Olmert
TheIsraelipublichas,unfortunately,developedastrong tolerance for corruption among their politicians. But there is a limit to what a nation can accept, and Ehud Olmert seems to have crossed far beyond that limit. The testimony of Morris Talansky this week has given us an insight into the life of a man fond of rather nauseating luxury. Mr Olmert, we have learned, likes firstclass travel, luxurious hotel suites, fine cigars — all bought with envelopes full of cash allegedly diverted from his election funds. Other countries suffer from their own problems with political corruption. But Israel is not in the same position as, for example, Italy, whose neighbours include no one more threatening than France or Switzerland. Israel needs to survive in a much less friendly region. And it cannot afford to allow such flagrant examples of political corruption to flourish when it has to combat real threats. Government needs to function and focus on real issues without the distractions and dangers of endless reams of sleaze. Mr Olmert has already led his people into a disastrous war, even though he managed to survive the damning criticism which followed it. As long as Mr Olmert stays in office, clinging on to eke out the very last shreds of his political life, he is weakening his country. Who or what may come after him is far from certain. But what is clear is that this torturous struggle both shames Israel’s leader and endangers its capabilities.