Olmert entering courtroom
Olmert entering courtroom Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, after recently being convicted on charges of breach of trust in several of the corruption cases against him, has reportedly decided that the court's decision to send him home was vindication enough to justify his return to politics. As a result, sources close to Olmert said, the former Prime Minister was considering forming a new political party with former Kadima head Tzipi Livni, and prospective Prime Ministerial candidate Yair Lapid.

A report on Channel Ten Wednesday said that both Livni and Olmert were anxious to return to politics. Both are former heads of Kadima, which is now chaired by Shaul Mofaz.

Olmert received a reprimand in three of the four court cases against him last month, with the court finding that he was mainly guilty of breach of trust in the Rishontours and Investment Center scandals, both of which concerned events that took place when Olmert was Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor a decade ago. Olmert was accused of using his office to advance the interests of business associates in return for in-kind compensation.

Still open against Olmert is a case in which he is accused of receiving favors in return for enabling contractors to run roughshod over zoning laws at a large Jerusalem apartment complex.

It is not clear if Olmert and Livni will jointly establish their own party, sources said. According to the report, Livni is considering using the already-approved Hetz name and symbol for her new party. Hetz, which has been defunct for the past several years, was established by former Shinui member Avraham Poraz in 2006. The advantage for Livni in using an already-approved party name, the report said, was the time saved in getting a new name approved, and the possibility of increasing funding for the party, since it is a “veteran party,” as opposed to a newcomer. Yair Lapid was likely to retain leadership of his own Yesh Atid party in the arrangement, the report added.

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