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Bennett: Israel Less Corrupt, More Jewish After Olmert Decision

The conviction of Ehud Olmert has a silver lining, says Economics Minister Naftali Bennett - it will make Israel more moral and more Jewish.
By Yaakov Levi
First Publish: 3/31/2014, 5:33 PM

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Tel Aviv District Court
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Tel Aviv District Court
Flash 90

Speaking Monday, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said that the conviction of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on corruption charges showed that Israel was moving in the right direction.

“Israel today took a giant step in the direction of more moral leadership,” Bennett wrote in a Facebook posting. “Israel is divorcing itself from corruption.”

According to Bennett, “public officials must not even be suspected of corrupt practices.” Corruption, as far as Bennett is concerned, means “taking advantage of a public post in order to gain personally. As soon as a public servant stops working for the public and begins working for himself, he loses the public's trust,” and can no longer remain in office.

Corruption isn't just an annoyance; it's destructive, and could destroy Israel if it is not held in check.

“In Judaism, the leader – the king – must hold a Torah scroll by his side 24 hours a day, so that he does not forget that he is beholden to G-d. For 3,800 years, Judaism has taught us that when the leadership is corrupted, the country falls apart.

“Politics is a very complicated profession, and in order to advance your position and ideology you have to make contacts, leverage influence, give and take,” said Bennett. “Sometimes you have to be aggressive. King David, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, David Ben Gurion, and Menachem Begin all operated with a great deal of guile, and that is fine.

“But even though they fought for their views, they were honest, and that is the example we must follow. Hopefully, the conviction of Olmert will make Israel more moral, and therefore more Jewish.”