Daily Israel Report

Omri Sharon´s Datebook Reveals Corruption in Kadima

The publication of Omri Sharon's appointment calendar "has exposed to all the way in which Kadima was formed. No honest person can identify with a movement with these values," says Likud MK Erdan.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/7/2006, 2:53 PM / Last Update: 3/6/2006, 11:53 AM

Omri Sharon, son and behind-the-scenes schemer of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was instrumental in many official appointments - with the help of Ehud Olmert and other top Kadima figures.

Channel Ten exposed documents and an appointment calendar of former MK Omri Sharon, showing the extent of his involvement in appointments to governmental and official bodies. Ministers Olmert, Sha'ul Mofaz, Tzippy Livny and others were involved as well.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has opened an investigation into the matter, after receiving several complaints and requests to do so.

The documents are from the year 2004, when Sharon Jr. was a Likud Knesset Member. In August of that year, he jotted down a list of important people he felt he needed in order to win an important upcoming Likud Central Committee vote. The issue to be decided was the inclusion of the Labor Party in the coalition government, without which the government was liable to fall.

The documents appear to show that Omri Sharon acted like the "Director-General" of the country, in the words of journalist Yoav Yitzchak: advancing certain people in exchange for their support for his father, "maintaining" the Likud, and then creating Kadima. His lists show that he was involved in tenders, municipal appointments, directorates, and the like.

The list included, next to the names, jobs that Omri planned to obtain for them. Sample entries: "A directorate for Yigal Yosef." "A directorate for Shlomo Ben-Amra." "Housing Culture Association position for Rachamim Eden - why was it not signed yet?" "meeting with Rachamim Eden, mix him a little longer."

In fact, shortly afterwards, Eden was appointed to the directorate of the Housing Culture Association - in addition to this position as Likud Chapter Head of Kfar Saba. Shlomo Ben-Amra, a Central Committee member from Kiryat Ono, was soon appointed accountant of the Be'er Sheva Religious Council.

Elsewhere in Omri Sharon's lists, he wrote that Yigal Yosef, the Mayor and Likud Chapter Head of Rosh HaAyin, should be assigned to the "Planning and Construction Committee." Another entry about Yosef says, "Meeting with Ehud [Olmert] about Yigal Yosef and in general."

In fact, Olmert's name appears many times in Omri's lists; Olmert was the Minister of Industry and Trade at the time, and he was in a position to provide Omri - who did not have the authority to make these appointments himself - with significant help in this area. Yigal Yosef, for instance, one of those whose favor Omri wished to cultivate, was appointed as head of the Industry and Trade Ministry's Regional Administration for Industrial Development.

Other ministers mentioned in Sharon's notes include Sha'ul Mofaz, Meir Sheetrit, Tzippy Livny and others - all of whom are today in the Kadima Party.

Omri Sharon has been sentenced to nine months in prison for lying under oath, filing false affidavits, and violating campaign laws. He perpetrated these crimes in 1999 on behalf of his father's election campaign to become leader of the Likud. The sentence has been put on hold for several months because of Ariel Sharon's illness.

Some of the people mentioned in the appointment book denied that they were merely "political appointments." They said they received the positions after passing through a process including tenders and acceptance committees.

Responses
MK Gilad Erdan of the Likud, said,
"It has now been exposed to all the way in which Kadima was formed. The ministers of Kadima helped Omri in his political maintenance, at the expense of the public, and in return, Omri helped them with high-ranking places in Kadima and ministerial positions. No honest person can identify with a movement that has values like these."

The Labor Party reacted even more strongly, calling the publication of the papers a "moral and political earthquake," adding,
"Just a short time ago, [Kadima party minister Tzachi] Hanegbi was indicted on similar charges that we now see Omri involved in. The Attorney General must apply the same law to Ehud Olmert. It is not appropriate that a man like that [Olmert] serve in a public position."

Kadima campaign advisor Eyal Arad said today that the above type of wheeling-dealing is exactly the reason several MKs decided to leave the Likud and form Kadima. Likud spokesmen said in response that the people who left the Likud, such as Omri Sharon, were those who created the corruption in the Likud, and "we are happy that they have all left to Kadima."