Israeli sources reported that several Knesset members from different parties called on the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to resign or suspend his position after the state prosecution ordered police to open a criminal probe into Olmert’s involvement in the state's sale of a controlling interest in Bank Leumi.
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that as Olmert found himself in the midst of this political storm top officials of his party, Kadima, did not rush to his defense.
Haaretz added that Israel’s Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, and the former Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, both from the Labor Party, did not comment on the issue, despite the fact the Olmert would like to have Barak replacing Peretz as defense minister.
Member of Knesset Yossi Beilin, from Meretz party, called on Olmert to suspend himself immediately until the probe is over, and to transfer his authority to Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, since she is also the acting prime minister.
Beilin warned that if Olmert does not do so, Meretz will initiate proceedings in the Knesset requiring him to do so, Haaretz reported.Labor members of the Knesset said that this probe is an indicator “of the end of Olmert’s rule”.
Member of Knesset, Dany Yatom, from the Labor party, said that this issue brings the end of the current government closer. Yatom is running or the leadership of the Labor party. Also, MK Amy Ayalon, who is also a candidate for Labor party leadership, said that the part should prepare for the possibility of early elections, and that it should center its agenda on fighting corruption and defending the public.
National Religious Party member, MK Zevulun Orlev, also called on Olmert to resign. Also, Aryeh Eldad, from the National Union Party, stated that “Olmert must go”, Haaretz reported.
Likud member of Knesset, Yuval Steinitz, called for early elections and said that only elections can end “the government’s endless failures”. Only a few Kadima members defended Olmert.