Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, now out of prison after serving a sentence for accepting bribes and obstruction of justice, has written a new book in which he claims that a haredi Kabbalist correctly predicted that Hezbollah would attack an Israeli missile boat during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. The war took place during Olmert's term as prime minister.
The Israeli navy's 'Hanit' missile boat was struck by a Hezbollah missile off the Lebanese coast in the war, killing four IDF soldiers.
It was the first direct strike on an Israeli warship in decades and Hezbollah celebrated it as among its biggest victories of the 34-day war.
OImert recalled how on the first Friday of the war, then-Shas head Eli Yishai demanded to see him urgently, despite it being close to Shabbat.
"Eli (referring to then minister Eli Yishai) came into my office. He has something strange to tell me, he said, and he feels obliged to do so: he consults with a rabbi about sensitive personal matters and the rabbi advises him on how to act," wrote Olmert. "The rabbi called and said that there was a danger that an Israeli ship would be hit this evening and suggested that Yishai give the information to the appropriate elements in the army."
"I asked who the rabbi was," continued Olmert. "Yishai said that the rabbi forbids him to reveal his name. This is a modest and unknown rabbi, whom Eli trusts so that he often acts on his advice. "
"I know it sounds hallucinatory, like stories about sorcery and miracles," admitted Olmert. "The natural inclination is to laugh, to say thank you, to humor the storyteller and try not to insult him."
However, "an hour and a half later, the missile boat 'Hanit' was hit," Olmert said, writing that "the strike was one of the most painful moments of the war, and put some wind into Hezbollah's sails."
A later investigation found that the missile hit the boat because Israeli intelligence did not believe Hezbollah had this level of sophisticated technology and so didn't turn on anti-missile systems.
Olmert first became prime minister in 2006 after Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke, and stayed in the post until he was felled by graft allegations in 2009.
In March 2014, he was convicted of bribery and began serving a 19-month sentence in Maasiyahu Prison before being granted an early release in 2017 for health reasons.
The ex-prison inmate former prime minister has gone on an interview blitz as part of a publicity campaign for his new book.
On Thursday, Olmert alleged in a bombshell interview that then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak inadvertently scuttled a deal with Hamas to release captured soldier Gilad Shalit in 2008.
As part of the film Ehud Olmert - First Interview, the former prime minister recounted that Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin had managed to agree to a deal with the Hamas terror group that would have arranged for Shalit's release, only to have Hamas harden their demands after Barak paid a public visit to the Shalit family.
"In those days there was a protest tent run by the Shalit family... on that decisive day, Yuval Diskin is in Cairo and Ehud Barak goes to the Shalit tent, and then the Shin Bet calls me and says, 'We're not going to have a deal' continued Olmert. "He said, 'I have absolute knowledge that they said if Barak came to the protest tent, then Israel it means can be pressured, we will remain recalcitrant and we won't agree to the deal."