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"A penny for your thoughts"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No-Confidence vote on Israeli Prime Minister

In May 2008, Olmert went under investigation for alleged briberies. Talansky is one of two pivotal witnesses in the investigation that alleges that Olmert unlawfully received millions of shekels in illegal campaign funding over a period of 15 years. The other major witness in the case, Olmert's long-time associate and former partner in their Jerusalem law firm, attorney Uri Messer allegedly handled the transfer of cash between Talansky and Olmert.

Morris Talansky(left)

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Monday 14th July 2008. Under Israeli law, the government must be dissolved if 61 legislators vote in favor of a no-confidence motion. The motion against Olmert was defeated by 47 votes to 42.

Olmert spokesman told reporters in Paris that Olmert did not intend to fire Labour ministers who voted against the government. This would be unfavorable to Olmert leaving him without a legislative majority and open the door to an early election.

Olmert denies the allegations of taking bribes from an American Jewish businessman. (An American multi-millionaire, Morris Talansky, who earlier told police that over the years he had given Olmert hundreds of thousands of dollars in envelopes stuffed with cash for campaign funds which were used for expensive items and vacations. Talansky also claims he gave Olmert loans which were never re-paid.)Investigations are also on whether he made duplicate claims for travel expenses.

Although Morris Talansky is a known fundraiser for and contributor to Jewish causes in the United States and Israel, nobody seems to know how he made his money. Talansky now lives with his second wife, Helen, in Woodsburgh, Long Island. He also has an apartment in the Wolfson Towers - a modern high-rise luxury apartment complex overlooking the Knesset and government ministries. Talansky makes some of his money by fundraising and consulting for Israeli and Jewish charity organizations. Among other things, he held a key post in the New Jerusalem Fund's U.S. office; in the past, he also raised money for the ORT network. However, Talansky made his name largely due to the funds he raised as executive director of the American Committee over 20 years for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, which solicits overseas donations for the Jerusalem hospital. He concentrated on big contributions according to a Jewish activist in Brooklyn. Talansky was "the main New York activist for Shaare Zedek. In his heyday, he raised millions of dollars for the hospital." Professor Yonatan Halevy, Shaare Zedek's director, said Talansky stopped working for the hospital in 1997. Sources in American Friends of Shaare Zedek confirmed this. However, American tax records indicate that Talansky received $90,000 from American Friends of Shaare Zedek for consulting work in 2004 and 2005.

Millionaire financier Morris Talansky,75-year-old - who runs an investment firm (CEO of the Global Resources Group, a self-described financial-investment firm. ) out of his home in Woodmere - allegedly passed money to Olmert while the politician was mayor of Jerusalem in the '90s, sources said. Talansky - a philanthropist and political contributor to everyone from Rudy Giuliani to Bill Clinton since the 1980s, the American tax records show,. He mostly donated sums of $1,000.

Morris Talansky,served as treasurer for the New Jerusalem Foundation, a charity Olmert founded in 1999 as mayor of the city. The nonprofit New Jerusalem Foundation was set up as an alternative to the long-established Jerusalem Foundation, which did not operate directly under mayoral control.

Political rivals long accused Olmert of using its funds for political purposes instead of helping local charities.

US tax reports for the New Jerusalem Foundation in 2000 show it was registered to a post office box in Manchester, NH, and had a $390,000 budget. Olmert is listed as president and Talansky as treasurer.

Olmert could be replaced by an internal vote in September by his Kadima party

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