Ehud Olmert
Overview
Ehud Olmert is an Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

. He served as Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003.

In 2003 Olmert was re-elected to the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 (he had earlier served eight terms), and became a Cabinet Minister and Acting Prime Minister in the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

.
Quotations

The day will come when the two-state solution collapses and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights. As soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished. The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us, because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents. – Olmert, Financial Times (30 NOV 2007)

Encyclopedia
Ehud Olmert is an Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

. He served as Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003.

In 2003 Olmert was re-elected to the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 (he had earlier served eight terms), and became a Cabinet Minister and Acting Prime Minister in the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

. On 4 January 2006, after Sharon suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke, Olmert began exercising the powers of the office of Prime Minister. Olmert led Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

 to a victory in the March 2006 elections (just two months after Sharon had suffered his stroke), and continued on as Acting Prime Minister. On 14 April, two weeks after the election, Sharon was declared permanently incapacitated, allowing Olmert to legally become Interim Prime Minister. Less than a month later, on 4 May, Olmert and his new, post-election government were approved by the Knesset, thus Olmert officially became Prime Minister of Israel.

Olmert and his government enjoyed healthy relations with the Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

-led Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

, which culminated in November 2007 at the Annapolis Conference
Annapolis Conference
-Attendees:U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice organized and hosted the conference. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and U.S. President George W. Bush attended the meeting...

. However, during his tenure as Prime Minister, there were major military conflicts with both Hezbollah and Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 (predominately in the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

). Olmert and Minister of Defense Amir Peretz
Amir Peretz
Amir Peretz is an Israeli politician and member of the Knesset for the Labour Party. He is a former Defense Minister of Israel and former leader of the Labour Party, having left those positions in June 2007....

 were heavily criticized for their handling of the 2006 Lebanon War. In late 2008, a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel ended, which led to the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict
2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict
The Gaza War, known as Operation Cast Lead in Israel and as the Gaza Massacre in the Arab world, was a three-week bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel, and hundreds of rocket attacks on south of Israel which...

. Olmert declared that the Israeli Defense Force would target the Hamas leadership and infrastructure in the war.

Throughout his premiership, Olmert was accused of corruption
Corruption
Corruption usually refers to spiritual or moral impurity.Corruption may also refer to:* Corruption , an American crime film* Corruption , a British horror film...

. Facing a challenge for the leadership of Kadima from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Tzipporah Malkah "Tzipi" Livni is an Israeli lawyer and politician. She is the current Israeli Opposition Leader and leader of Kadima, the largest party in the Knesset. Raised an ardent nationalist, Livni has become one of her nation's leading voices for the two-state solution. In Israel she has...

, on 30 July 2008, Olmert announced that he would not seek re-election as party leader and that he would resign from his position as Prime Minister immediately after a new Kadima leader was named. Livni won the contest
Kadima leadership election, 2008
An election for the leadership of Kadima was held on 17 September 2008 as a concession to Kadima's coalition partner, Labour, which had threatened to bring down the government if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert didn't stand aside following police investigations into alleged corruption during his terms...

 and sought to form a new government in September of that year. However, Livni's attempts at forming a new government were unsuccessful, and instead an election was scheduled for February 2009
Israeli legislative election, 2009
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...

. On 20 February, Israeli President Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 chose Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

 to become the new Prime Minister and asked him to form a Coalition Government, after there was no clear victory in the elections. Netanyahu succeeded Olmert on 31 March 2009.

On 30 August 2009 an indictment
Indictment
An indictment , in the common-law legal system, is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that maintain the concept of felonies, the serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that lack the concept of felonies often use that of an indictable offence—an...

 against former prime minister Ehud Olmert was served at the Jerusalem District Court. The indictment includes the following five criminal counts: obtaining by fraud under aggravating circumstances, fraud
Fraud
In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

, breach of trust
Breach of Trust
Breach of Trust is a Canadian alternative rock band originally from La Ronge, Saskatchewan. The band currently consists of vocalist Marty Ballentyne, guitarist Donovan Bruyere, bass guitarist Colin Cheechoo and drummer William Aubut...

, falsifying corporate documents, and tax evasion
Tax evasion
Tax evasion is the general term for efforts by individuals, corporations, trusts and other entities to evade taxes by illegal means. Tax evasion usually entails taxpayers deliberately misrepresenting or concealing the true state of their affairs to the tax authorities to reduce their tax liability,...

. The indictment refers to three out of the four corruption-related cases outstanding against him: 'Rishontours', 'Talansky' (also known as the 'money envelopes' affair), and the 'Investment Center'.

Early life

Olmert was born near Binyamina in the British Mandate of Palestine
Mandate Palestine
Mandate Palestine existed while the British Mandate for Palestine, which formally began in September 1923 and terminated in May 1948, was in effect...

. According to Olmert, his parents, Bella and Mordechai
Mordechai Olmert
Mordechai Olmert was an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Herut between 1955 and 1961. He was also the father of Ehud Olmert, who served as Prime Minister between 2006 and 2009.-Biography:...

 escaped "persecution in Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, and found sanctuary in Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. They emigrated to Israel to fulfill their dream of building a Jewish and democratic state living in peace in the land of our ancestors." His father later became a member of the Knesset for Herut
Herut
Herut was the major right-wing political party in Israel from the 1940s until its formal merger into Likud in 1988, and an adherent of Revisionist Zionism.-History:...

.

Olmert's childhood included membership in the Beitar Youth Organization
Betar
The Betar Movement is a Revisionist Zionist youth movement founded in 1923 in Riga, Latvia, by Vladimir Jabotinsky. It has been traditionally linked to the original Herut and then Likud political parties of Israel, and was closely affiliated with the pre-Israel Revisionist Zionist splinter group...

 and dealing with the fact that his parents were often blacklisted and alienated due to their affiliation with the Jewish militia group the Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

. They were also part of Herut
Herut
Herut was the major right-wing political party in Israel from the 1940s until its formal merger into Likud in 1988, and an adherent of Revisionist Zionism.-History:...

, the opposition to the long-ruling Mapai
Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

 party. However, by the 1970s this was proving less detrimental to one's career than during the 1950s.

Education and military service

Olmert graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...

 with degrees in psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

. He opened a successful law partnership in Jerusalem.

Olmert served with the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 in the Golani Brigade
Golani Brigade
The Golani Brigade is an Israeli infantry brigade that is subordinated to the 36th Division and traditionally associated with the Northern Command. Its symbol is a green tree on a yellow background, and its soldiers wear a brown beret. It is one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the...

. While in service he was injured and temporarily released. He underwent many treatments, and later completed his military duties as a journalist
Journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 for the IDF magazine BaMahane
Bamahane
Bamahane is a Hebrew-language weekly magazine published by the Israel Defense Forces...

. During the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 he joined the headquarters of Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 as a military correspondent. Already a member of the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

, he decided to go through an officer's course in 1980 at the age of 35.

MK and Minister

In 1966, during the Gahal
Gahal
Gahal , lit. Herut-Liberals Bloc) was the major right-wing political faction in Israel led by Menachem Begin from its founding in 1965 until it merged into Likud in 1973.-Background:...

 party convention (a predecessor to today's Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

), party leader Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 was challenged by the young Olmert, who called for his resignation. Begin announced that he would retire from party leadership, but soon reversed his decision when the crowd emotionally pleaded with him to stay.

Olmert was first elected to the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 in 1973 at the age of 28, and was re-elected seven consecutive times. Between 1981 and 1989, he served as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and served on the Finance, Education and Defense Budget Committees. He served as Minister without Portfolio
Minister without Portfolio
A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister that does not head a particular ministry...

, responsible for minority affairs between 1988 and 1990, and as Minister of Health from 1990 until 1992. Following Likud's defeat in the 1992 election, instead of remaining a Knesset member in the opposition, he successfully ran for mayor of Jerusalem in November 1993.

Mayor of Jerusalem

Between 1993 and 2003, Olmert served two terms as Mayor of Jerusalem, the first member of Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 or its precursors to hold the position. During his term in office, he devoted himself to the initiation and advancement of major projects in the city, the development and improvement of the education system, and the development of road infrastructure. He also spearheaded the development of the light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 system in Jerusalem, and the investment of millions of shekels
Israeli new sheqel
The Israeli New Shekel is the currency of the State of Israel. The shekel is divided into 100 agorot...

 in the development of mass transportation options for the city.

While Mayor of Jerusalem, Olmert was an invited speaker at an international conflict resolution conference held in Derry
Derry
Derry or Londonderry is the second-biggest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-biggest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Doire or Doire Cholmcille meaning "oak-wood of Colmcille"...

, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. In his address, he spoke of how "Political leaders can help change the psychological climate which affects the quality of relationships among people." His speech concluded with reflections on the importance of political process in overcoming differences: "How are fears born? They are born because of differences in tradition and history; they are born because of differences in emotional, political and national circumstances. Because of such differences, people fear they cannot live together. If we are to overcome such fear, a credible and healthy political process must be carefully and painfully developed. A political process that does not aim to change the other or to overcome differences, but that allows each side to live peacefully in spite of their differences."

Deputy leader of Israel

Olmert was elected as a member of the sixteenth Knesset in January 2003. He served as the head of the election campaign for Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 in the elections, and subsequently was the chief negotiator of the coalition agreement. Following the elections he was appointed as Designated Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor
Industry, Trade and Labour Minister of Israel
The Industry, Trade and Labour Minister of Israel is the political head of the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour and a position in the Israeli cabinet....

. From 2003 to 2004, he also served as Minister of Communications
Communications Minister of Israel
The Communications Minister of Israel is the political head of the Israeli Ministry of Communications and a relatively minor position in the Israeli cabinet. The post was established in 1952, and until 1970 was known as the Minister of Postal Services...

.

On 7 August 2005, Olmert was appointed acting Finance Minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

, who had resigned in protest against the planned Israeli withdrawal
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

 from the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

.

Olmert, who had originally opposed withdrawing from land captured in the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, and who had voted against the Camp David Peace Accords in 1978, was a vocal supporter of the Gaza pullout. After his appointment, Olmert said:
"I voted against Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

, I told him it was a historic mistake, how dangerous it would be, and so on and so on. Now I am sorry he is not alive for me to be able to publicly recognize his wisdom and my mistake. He was right and I was wrong. Thank God we pulled out of the Sinai."


When Sharon announced he was leaving Likud to form a new party, Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

, Olmert was one of the first to join him.

Acting Prime Minister

On 4 January 2006, as the designated Acting Prime Minister, Olmert became Acting Prime Minister as a result of the serious stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

 suffered by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. This occurred after consultations took place between Cabinet Secretary
Cabinet Secretary
A Cabinet Secretary is almost always a senior official who provides services and advice to a Cabinet of Ministers. In many countries, the position can have considerably wider functions and powers, including general responsibility for the entire civil service...

 Yisrael Maimon
Yisrael Maimon
Israel Maimon is a lawyer and former Cabinet Secretary of Israel.Maimon graduated from Blich High School in Ramat Hen, Ramat Gan. In 1984, he became a member of the Golani Brigade, before attaining the rank of Company Commander at the school for Section Commanders...

 and Attorney General
Attorney General of Israel
The Attorney General of Israel stands at the head of the legal system of the executive branch and the head of the public legal establishment, in charge of protecting the rule of law and as such entrusted with protecting the public interest from possible harm by government authorities...

 Menachem Mazuz
Menachem Mazuz
Menachem Mazuz is an Israeli jurist, who served as the Israeli Attorney General in the years 2004-2010. Mazuz was born in Djerba, Tunisia, the fourth in a family of nine children of the rabbi of one of the island's Jewish communities...

, who declared Sharon "temporarily incapable to carry out the duties of his office", while only officially in office. Then, Olmert and the cabinet reaffirmed in an announcement that the 28 March elections
Israel legislative election, 2006
Elections for the 17th Knesset were held in Israel on 28 March 2006. The voting resulted in a plurality of seats for the then-new Kadima party, followed by the Labour Party, and a major loss for the Likud party....

 would be held as scheduled.

During the days following the stroke, Olmert met with Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 and other Sharon supporters to try to convince them to stay with Kadima, rather than return to Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 or, in Peres' case, Labor. On 16 January 2006 Olmert was elected chairman of Kadima, and Kadima's candidate for Prime Minister in the upcoming election. In his first major policy address after becoming caretaker Prime Minister, on 24 January 2006 Olmert stated that he backed the creation of a Palestinian state, and that Israel would have to relinquish parts of the West Bank to maintain its Jewish majority. At the same time, he said, "We firmly stand by the historic right of the people of Israel to the entire Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

." In a number of interviews he also introduced his convergence plan.

Wins national election

In the election, Kadima won 29 seats, making it the largest party. On 6 April Olmert was officially asked by President Moshe Katsav
Moshe Katsav
Moshe Katsav is an Israeli politician. He served as the eighth President of Israel, a leading Likud member of the Israeli Knesset, and a Cabinet Minister in its government....

 to form a government. Olmert had an initial period of 28 days to form a governing coalition
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

, with a possible two-week extension. On 11 April the Israeli Cabinet deemed that Sharon was incapacitated. The 100-day replacement deadline was extended due to the Jewish festival of Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

, and a provision was made that, should Sharon's condition improve between 11 April and 14 April, the declaration would not take effect. Therefore, the official declaration took effect on 14 April, formally ending Sharon's term as Prime Minister and making Olmert the country's new Interim Prime Minister in office (he would not become the official Prime Minister until he formed a government).

Prime Minister

On 4 May 2006 Olmert presented his new government to the Knesset. Olmert became Prime Minister and Minister for Welfare. The control over Welfare Ministry was expected to be given to United Torah Judaism
United Torah Judaism
United Torah Judaism is an alliance of Degel HaTorah and Agudat Israel, two small Israeli Haredi political parties in the Knesset. It was first formed in 1992.The two parties have not always agreed with each other about policy matters...

 if it would join the government. The post was later given to Labor's Isaac Herzog.

Addresses U.S. Congress

On 24 May 2006 Olmert was invited to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. He stated that his government would proceed with the disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

 if it could not come to agreement with the Palestinians. Olmert was the third Israeli Prime Minister to have been invited to speak at a joint session of Congress.

Loses popularity, controversial statements

Following the 2006 Lebanon War, Olmert's popularity ratings fell, and on 15 September 2006, former chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon is an Israeli politician and former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. He currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Likud, as well as the country's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs.-Early life:...

 publicly stated that Olmert should resign. In May 2007, Olmert's approval rating fell to 3 percent, and he became the subject of a Google Bomb
Google bomb
The terms Google bomb and Googlewashing refer to practices, such as creating large numbers of links, that cause a web page to have a high ranking for searches on unrelated or off topic keyword phrases, often for comical or satirical purposes...

 for the Hebrew for "miserable failure".

On 9 December 2006 Olmert stated that he could not rule out the possibility of a military attack against Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and called for the international community to step up action against that country. He called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated threats to destroy Israel "absolutely criminal", and said that he expected "more dramatic steps to be taken."

In an interview with German TV network Sat.1
Sat.1
Sat.1 is a privately owned German television broadcasting station. Sat.1 was the first privately owned television broadcasting station in Germany, having started one day before RTL Television....

 on 11 December 2006, he appeared to include Israel in a list of nuclear powers, a statement which his office has characterized as an unintentional mistake in translation. He has nonetheless come under harsh criticism from both ends of the Israeli political spectrum due to the perceived threat to Israel's policy of ambiguity
Policy of deliberate ambiguity
A policy of deliberate ambiguity is the practice by a country of being intentionally ambiguous on certain aspects of its foreign policy or whether it possesses certain weapons of mass destruction...

 regarding its nuclear status
Israel and weapons of mass destruction
Israel is widely believed to possess weapons of mass destruction, and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

.

On 2 May 2007, the Winograd Commission
Winograd Commission
The Winograd Commission is an Israeli government-appointed commission of inquiry, chaired by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, which investigated and drew lessons from the Israel-Hezbollah War...

 accused Olmert of failing to properly manage the 2006 Lebanese War, which prompted a mass rally of over 100,000 people calling for his resignation.

Seeks peace at Annapolis

Olmert welcomed the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

's 2007 re-endorsement of the Arab Peace Initiative
Arab Peace Initiative
The Beirut Summit was a meeting of the Arab League in Beirut, Lebanon in March 2002 to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The meeting became especially noteworthy for the adoption, by the Arab states attending, of a proposal offering a comprehensive peace between the Arab countries and...

. Olmert wrote in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 newspaper that Israel was ready to make "painful concessions" to achieve peace with the Palestinians. "I take the offer of full normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world seriously; and I am ready to discuss the Arab peace initiative in an open and sincere manner. Working with our Jordanian and Egyptian partners, and hopefully other Arab states, we must pursue a comprehensive peace with energy and vision.... But the talks must be a discussion, not an ultimatum."

On 4 November 2007, he declared Israel's intention to negotiate with the Palestinians about all issues, stating, "Annapolis will be the jumping-off point for continued serious and in-depth negotiations, which will not avoid any issue or ignore any division that has clouded our relations with the Palestinian people for many years." On 29 November 2007, he warned of the end of Israel in case a two-state solution is not eventually found for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. "If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished", Olmert said on the last day of the Annapolis Conference
Annapolis Conference
-Attendees:U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice organized and hosted the conference. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and U.S. President George W. Bush attended the meeting...

. "The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us", Olmert said, "because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents." He would later state that President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 had offered to accept 100,000 Palestinian refugees as American citizens instead of having them return to Israel.

Gaza rocket attacks increase

Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian terrorists from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Israel occurred frequently throughout the spring and summer of 2008, until a ceasefire was agreed between Hamas and Israel in June. Rocket attacks increased sharply in November after an Israeli raid on an Hamas-built smuggling tunnel. The ceasefire expired in December 2008 and negotiations stalled between the two parties to renew the ceasefire. On 24 December, the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 was hit by more than 60 mortar shells and Katyusha and Qassam rocket
Qassam rocket
The Qassam rocket is a simple steel artillery rocket developed and deployed by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas. Three models have been produced and used between 2001 and 2011....

s, and the IDF was given a green light to operate. Hamas claimed to have fired a total of 87 rockets and mortar rounds that day at Israel, code-naming the firing "Operation Oil Stain".

IDF bombs, invades Gaza

On 25 December, Olmert delivered a 'last minute' warning to Gaza in direct appeal to Gaza's people via the Arabic language satellite channel al-Arabiya, to pressure their leaders to stop the barrages. "I am telling them now, it may be the last minute, I'm telling them stop it. We are stronger", he said. The attacks did not stop and Israel launched its military operation, codenamed Operation Cast Lead, on the morning of 27 December, when more than 50 fighter jets and attack helicopter
Attack helicopter
An attack helicopter is a military helicopter with the primary role of an attack aircraft, with the capability of engaging targets on the ground, such as enemy infantry and armored vehicles...

s began to bomb strategic targets. Air strikes continued for days, when on 3 January 2009 the IDF began a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. On 1 February, Olmert stated

Controversial UN vote

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on 8 January 2009 calling for an immediate ceasefire to the hostilities in the Gaza Strip. It passed 14–0–1, with one abstention from the United States. Olmert told reporters, "[U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

] was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she did not vote in favor. In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the Secretary of State wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favor. I said 'get me President Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 on the phone'. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn't care. 'I need to talk to him now'. He got off the podium and spoke to me. I told him the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution. He immediately called the Secretary of State and told her not to vote in favor." When asked about the comments, a White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 spokesman said that Olmert's version of events were "inaccurate".

The war finally ended on 18 January 2009. A day before, Israeli officials announced a unilateral
Unilateralism
Unilateralism is any doctrine or agenda that supports one-sided action. Such action may be in disregard for other parties, or as an expression of a commitment toward a direction which other parties may find agreeable...

 ceasefire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

, without an agreement with Hamas. In a press conference, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert declared the ceasefire effective that night, at 00:00 GMT on 18th January.

Stepping down

On 30 July 2008 Olmert announced that he would not contest the Kadima party leadership election
Kadima leadership election, 2008
An election for the leadership of Kadima was held on 17 September 2008 as a concession to Kadima's coalition partner, Labour, which had threatened to bring down the government if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert didn't stand aside following police investigations into alleged corruption during his terms...

 in September, and would resign from office once his party elects a new leader. In his resignation speech, he addressed the cases of corruption of which he is being accused, saying he is "proud to be a citizen of a country in which a Prime Minister can be investigated like any other citizen", but also stated he "was forced to defend [himself] from ceaseless attacks by the self-appointed soldiers of justice, who sought to oust [him] from [his] position." The move has been interpreted as signaling the end of Olmert's political career.

Many politicians across the political spectrum praised Olmert's decision to resign. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Tzipporah Malkah "Tzipi" Livni is an Israeli lawyer and politician. She is the current Israeli Opposition Leader and leader of Kadima, the largest party in the Knesset. Raised an ardent nationalist, Livni has become one of her nation's leading voices for the two-state solution. In Israel she has...

 said "the personal decision was not simple, but it was a correct one. Kadima must continue to act in a way that will preserve its unity and ability to lead." Defense Minister and Labor
Labor (Israel)
The Israeli Labor Party , commonly known as HaAvoda , is a social-democratic and labour Zionist political party in Israel. The party is an observer member of both Socialist International and the Party of European Socialists. The Israeli Labor Party was established in 1968 by a merger of Mapai,...

 party leader Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

 called Olmert's announcement "a proper and responsible decision made at the right time." Opposition leaders called for the resignation to be followed by general elections. Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 party leader, Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

, called for snap election
Snap election
A snap election is an election called earlier than expected. Generally it refers to an election in a parliamentary system called when not required , usually to capitalize on a unique electoral opportunity or to decide a pressing issue...

s: "It doesn't matter who heads Kadima. They are all partners in this government's total failure. National responsibility requires a return to the people and new elections."

After Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Tzipporah Malkah "Tzipi" Livni is an Israeli lawyer and politician. She is the current Israeli Opposition Leader and leader of Kadima, the largest party in the Knesset. Raised an ardent nationalist, Livni has become one of her nation's leading voices for the two-state solution. In Israel she has...

 won the leadership election, Olmert officially resigned but remained Prime Minister, according to the dictates of the law. Even after an official resignation, he remains in power until a new Prime Minister is sworn in, in order to prevent a government void. Livni tried unsuccessfully to form a new coalition government. After Livni announced she could not form the new government, new parliamentary elections were set for 10 February 2009
Israeli legislative election, 2009
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...

, and Olmert remained in power until after the elections, just as the law dictates.

Corruption and bribery criminal investigations

On 7 March 2006, it was disclosed that an inquiry was being carried out on the 1999 sale and lease-back of Olmert's Jerusalem house, which allegedly was done on financial terms very favorable to Olmert, in what would amount to an illegal campaign contribution and/or bribe. A criminal investigation regarding the matter was formally launched on 24 September 2007.

On 16 January 2007, a criminal investigation was initiated against Olmert. The investigation focused on suspicions that during his tenure as Finance Minister, Olmert tried to steer the tender for the sale of Bank Leumi
Bank Leumi
Bank Leumi is an Israeli bank. It was founded in London as the Anglo Palestine Company on February 27, 1902, by members of the Zionist movement to promote the industry, construction, agriculture, and infrastructure of Palestine.-History:...

 in order to help Slovak
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

-born Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

 baron Frank Lowy
Frank Lowy
Frank Lowy, AC is an Australian-Israeli businessman. He is a co-founder of the Westfield Group, operator of over 100 shopping centres in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Great Britain...

, a close personal associate. Israeli Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Finance (Israel)
The Israeli Ministry of Finance is a part of the Israeli political system. It is responsible for planning and implementing the Government of Israel’s overall economic policy....

 Accountant General Dr. Yaron Zelicha was as a key witness, according to the State Comptroller's office. The State Comptroller testified against Olmert. Israeli Police who investigated the case eventually concluded that the evidence that was collected was insufficient for indictment, and no recommendations were made to press charges. In October 2007, he was questioned for five hours by three officers from the National Fraud Investigations Unit in his Jerusalem residence.

In April 2007 it was further alleged that, during his office as Minister of Trade, Industry and Labor, Olmert may have been guilty of criminal behavior by taking an active part in an investment center. During a parliamentary inquest in July 2007, Olmert flatly denied these accusations.

In May 2008, it became public that Olmert was the subject of another police investigation, concerning allegations of bribery
Bribery
Bribery, a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or...

. Olmert said that he took campaign contributions from Jewish-American businessman Morris Talansky when he was running for Mayor of Jerusalem, leadership of the Likud and candidacy in the Likud list for the Knesset. It was alleged that Olmert unlawfully received millions of shekels in illegal campaign funding from Talansky over a 15-year period. Olmert resisted calls to resign, and stated: "I never took bribes, I never took a penny for myself. I was elected by you, citizens of Israel, to be the Prime Minister and I don't intend to shirk this responsibility. If Attorney General
Attorney General of Israel
The Attorney General of Israel stands at the head of the legal system of the executive branch and the head of the public legal establishment, in charge of protecting the rule of law and as such entrusted with protecting the public interest from possible harm by government authorities...

 Meni Mazuz
Menachem Mazuz
Menachem Mazuz is an Israeli jurist, who served as the Israeli Attorney General in the years 2004-2010. Mazuz was born in Djerba, Tunisia, the fourth in a family of nine children of the rabbi of one of the island's Jewish communities...

, decides to file an indictment, I will resign from my position, even though the law does not oblige me to do so." On 2 May, head of the National Fraud Investigations Unit Brigadier-General Shlomi Ayalon and two investigatiors questioned Olmert for 90 minutes in his Jerusalem residence. On 23 May, National Fraud Investigations Unit officers interrogated Olmert for an hour in his Jerusalem residence. On 27 May Morris Talansky testified in front of court that over the last 15 years he gave Olmert more than $150,000 in cash in envelopes. On 6 September 2008, the Israel Police
Israel Police
The Israel Police is the civilian police force of Israel. As with most other police forces in the world, its duties include crime fighting, traffic control, maintaining public safety, and counter-terrorism...

 recommended that criminal charges should be brought against Olmert.

On 26 November 2008, Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz
Menachem Mazuz
Menachem Mazuz is an Israeli jurist, who served as the Israeli Attorney General in the years 2004-2010. Mazuz was born in Djerba, Tunisia, the fourth in a family of nine children of the rabbi of one of the island's Jewish communities...

 informed Olmert that he decided to file an indictment against him in what has come to be known as "Rishontours" affair, pending a hearing before the attorney general. The scheme allegedly worked as follows: Olmert would speak abroad on behalf of groups such as the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, a support group for the IDF or a charity for mentally disabled Israeli children. Rishon Tours then billed each group for the same trip as if they alone were paying, and placed the money in a special bank account allegedly for Olmert's personal use. However, legally, Olmert is presumed innocent until the trial's final verdict is in, and thus may continue to perform his duties as Prime Minister until a new Prime Minister is sworn in.

On 1 March 2009, Attorney General Mazuz informed Olmert's legal representatives that he had decided to file an indictment against him, in what has come to be known as the "cash envelopes" affair, pending a hearing before the attorney general.

Although a frequent target of corruption allegations, Olmert has yet to be convicted of a crime.

In 2010, it was cleared for publication that the National Fraud Investigations Unit suspected Olmert of involvement in the "Holyland Affair", where officials took bribes in exchange for promoting real estate projects, especially the Holyland housing project in southwest Jerusalem. As Mayor of Jerusalem, Olmert allegedly took thousands of shekels in bribe money from businessmen, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders.

Indicement and trial

On August 30, 2009 an indictment against Olmert was served at the Jerusalem District Court. The indictment includes the following counts: obtaining by fraud under aggravating circumstances, fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate documents, and tax evasion. The indictment refers to three out of the four corruption-related cases standing against him: 'Rishontours', 'Talansky' (Also known as 'Money envelopes' affair), and the 'Investment Center'. This was the first indictment of someone who has ever held the office of Israeli Prime Minister. In 2011, Olmert was indicted over the Holyland Affair.

On September 25, 2009, Olmert's trial opened. The court began hearing testimonies on 22 February 2010, with three discussions per week. The prosecution began arguing its case at the beginning of the trial, and the prosecution phase ended on 30 March 2011. The defense phase began on 31 May, and the began with Olmert testifying in his own defense. On 30 June, the prosecution began a cross-examination on the various charges.

Personal life

Olmert's wife, Aliza
Aliza Olmert
Aliza Olmert is an Israeli artist, photographer, author and social worker. Olmert is married to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.- Biography :...

, is a writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

 of novels and theater plays, as well as an artist. Aliza is more left-leaning in her politics than her husband. She claimed to have voted for him for the first time in 2006.

The couple has four biological children and an adopted daughter. The oldest daughter, Michal, holds a Masters in psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 and leads workshops in creative thinking. Their daughter Dana
Dana Olmert
Dana Olmert, born 26 December 1972, is an Israeli left wing activist, literary theorist and editor, and is a daughter of Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert....

 is a lecturer in literature at the Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University is a public university located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel. With nearly 30,000 students, TAU is Israel's largest university.-History:...

, and the editor of a literature series. She is a lesbian
Lesbian
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an...

, and lives with her partner in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. Her parents are accepting of her sexual orientation and partner. Dana is active in the Jerusalem branch of the Israeli human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 organization Machsom Watch
Machsom Watch
Machsom Watch, or Checkpoint Watch is a group of Israeli women who monitor checkpoints in the West Bank and the military courts, out of opposition to the Israeli occupation...

. In June 2006 she attended a march in Tel Aviv protesting alleged Israeli complicity in the Gaza beach blast
Gaza beach blast
The Gaza beach blast was an incident on June 9, 2006 in which eight Palestinians were killed and at least thirty others injured in an explosion on a beach near the municipality of Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip...

, which made her the subject of bitter criticism from right-wing personalities.

Their son Shaul Olmert married an Israeli artist, and lives in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. He is currently a Vice-President at Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon (TV channel)
Nickelodeon, often simply called Nick and originally named Pinwheel, is an American children's channel owned by MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom International. The channel is primarily aimed at children ages 7–17, with the exception of their weekday morning program block aimed at preschoolers...

. After Shaul had finished his military service, he signed a petition of the Israeli left-wing organization Yesh Gvul
Yesh Gvul
Yesh Gvul is a movement founded in 1982, by combat veterans, at the outbreak of the Lebanon War, who refused to serve in Lebanon and has expanded its opposition to the war in Lebanon to the negation of service in the occupied territories, reflected in the current Yesh Gvul...

. He later became the spokesman of Beitar Jerusalem, his father's favorite soccer team. This team is often associated with the Israeli right. Olmert's younger son Ariel, who did not serve in the IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

, studies French literature
French literature
French literature is, generally speaking, literature written in the French language, particularly by citizens of France; it may also refer to literature written by people living in France who speak traditional languages of France other than French. Literature written in French language, by citizens...

 at the Sorbonne
Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

 in Paris. Shuli is the Olmerts' adopted daughter; she was orphan
Orphan
An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of or abandoned by his or her parents. In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents is called an orphan...

ed from her mother at birth.

Olmert's father Mordechai, a pioneer of Israel's land settlement and a former member of the Second and Third Knessets, grew up in the Chinese city of Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

, where he led the local Betar
Betar
The Betar Movement is a Revisionist Zionist youth movement founded in 1923 in Riga, Latvia, by Vladimir Jabotinsky. It has been traditionally linked to the original Herut and then Likud political parties of Israel, and was closely affiliated with the pre-Israel Revisionist Zionist splinter group...

 youth movement. Olmert's grandfather J.J. Olmert settled in Harbin after fleeing post-World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 Russia. In 2004, Olmert visited China and paid his respects at the tomb of his grandfather in Harbin. Olmert said that his father had never forgotten his Chinese hometown after moving to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine, in 1933 at the age of 22. "When he died at the age of 88, he spoke his last words in Mandarin Chinese", he recalled.

In October 2007, Olmert announced that he had prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

. His doctors declared it to be a minor risk. In April 2009, Olmert's spokesman issued a statement indicating that Olmert's cancer had deteriorated.

In 2009, Olmert spoke at various colleges throughout the United States to mixed receptions. In October 2009, he visited Magnolia, Arkansas
Magnolia, Arkansas
Magnolia is a city in Columbia County, Arkansas, United States, that was founded in 1853. At the time of its incorporation in 1858, the city had a population of about 1,950. The city grew slowly as an agricultural and regional cotton market until the discovery of oil just east of the city in March,...

, and spoke about Israeli farming, technology and Israel's view on Iran. The speech was given at Southern Arkansas University
Southern Arkansas University
Southern Arkansas University is a public four-year institution located in Magnolia, the seat of Columbia County in Arkansas, United States, not far from the Louisiana state line.-Location:Southern Arkansas University is located in Magnolia, which, as of the census...

, where he also invited the rural university to form a partnership with Israel's Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

External links


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