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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Tishrei 3, 5769, 10/2/2008

      Olmert's Silence Speaks Volumes



      Today's interrogation was the eighth time that Olmert has been questioned by police - in the process setting a new personal and political record for Israeli premiers.
      What a difference a couple of days can make.

      On Monday, the eve of Rosh Hashana, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave an extensive interview to the daily Yediot Aharonot in which he tossed more than a few bombshells, from publicly stating that Israel should give eastern Jerusalem and the Golan to the Arabs, to mocking the idea that the Jewish state could possibly bomb Iran to prevent the latter from building nuclear weapons.

      It was the kind of rambling performance that makes one wince with embarassment that such a person could possibly serve as head of Israel's government.

      But as much as Olmert may have found his voice when talking to the reporters from Yediot, he seems to have fallen silent today when he was visited by police investigators looking into allegations of corruption against him.

      According to media reports, Olmert "refused to respond to questions" when the police asked him about a particular case that has come to be known as the "Rishon Tours Affair" (in which Olmert is accused of using state money to pay for his family's vacations overseas).

      Today's interrogation was the eighth time that Olmert has been questioned by police - in the process setting a new personal and political record for Israeli premiers.

      But his silence speaks volumes - and only underlines how crucial it is to the future of the country that the Olmert regime become a thing of the distant past as soon as possible.