The formal investigation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is the latest development in a series of scandals that are successfully convincing Israelis of their leadership's corruption.
Olmert, and other Israeli politicians are to be formally investigated after evidence of bribery, fraud and breach of trust is gathered by members of the Israeli police from the economic crimes unit.
The Israeli Prime Minister insists he is innocent in the affair, but if the evidence is substantiated he could face charges for the aforementioned crimes. It has also emerged that the Prime Minister's personal secretary is under house arrest as part of a corruption probe, and that the tax authority has experienced an extensive investigation into officials accepting bribes in return for tax breaks.
The inquiry into Olmert focuses on the privatisation of Bank Leumi, Israel's second largest bank. The allegations against him state that when he was the acting Finance Minister, he intervened in the wording of a tender to benefit close business associates. Moreover, the current Finance Minister, Avraham Hirshson, is currently under police investigation on suspicion of theft, fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
In light of these events, Michael Eitan, a Likud member of the Knesset, has said that "there is no hiding from corruption in Israel." Regarding Olmert's popularity,only 14 percent of those polled said they were satisfied with him.
David Landau, of Haaretz daily has said that "We've come up against a situation where people, even people of good will, don’t know where is right and where is wrong" This confusion is understandable considering the fact that Moshe Katsav, Israel's president, is facing allegations of rape and sexual assault, eavesdropping, fraud, breach of trust and improprieties in gift distribution.
In a recent Israeli poll, 85 per cent of the Israeli public believes their political leadership to be corrupt.