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Yossi Olmert

Yossi Olmert's Testimony In The Holyland Trial Supports State's Case Against His Brother Ehud

May 13, 2013


Yossi Olmert, the brother of  former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Winnipeg a number of times to speak  in 2006 and 2007.

As a journalist with extensive contacts in Israel and one who reads Hebrew newspapers I knew then that Yossi Olmert had fled Israel to the US  in 2004 since he  owed about NIS 3 million, including to black market figures. Although I suspect that few others in Winnipeg at the time knew this fact. (But I think it helps explain why Yossi Olmert ended up speaking here on several occassions--a rather tiny community to receive the attention of a brother of a sitting Prime Minister at the time.)

Last week, Yossi Olmert gave testimony in the the Holyland trial and it appears that he has, rather unintentionally, given dramatic evidence that supports the State's case against his brother Ehud.

Have a full read of this article on the subject in Ha'aretz  entitled " Holyland Trial Judge: Yoss Olmert's Testimony Support State Witness Version"

Or you can read the Jerusalem Post article entitled Former PM Olmert and his wayward brother.


After reading about this I had a look at an article I wrote about Yossi Olmert after hearing him when he was in Winnipeg in 2007.

What I remember most is that at the event itself  yossi had made said that "Arafat was a liar" and a "thief" but afterward he asked me to omit the reference since it was politically sensitive since his brother was trying to potentially negotiate with the PA. I took the line out of my story, but  the truth is that Arafat was a liar and a thief.


by Rhonda Spivak, Oct 2007  

I don't like the idea that we [Israel] will have to give up territory [in Judea and Samaria], but the realities are such that we will have to make concessions," said Dr. Yossi Olmert, an expert and published author on the Middle East, who is the younger brother of current Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Olmert, a director of communications for former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir and policy advisor to Defence Minister Moshe Arens, spoke to a group of Jewish community leaders in Winnipeg.

"Why do we Jews choose to refer to Judea and Samaria as the West Bank, a name that isn't Jewish?" he asked. "The west bank of what? The west bank of the mighty Jordan River? In reality, the Jordan River is a creek. Let's use the names that we Jews have for this land – Judea and Samaria," said Olmert, whose father, Mordechai, was an early member of the Knesset and one of the founding members of the Irgun Zvai Leumi.

According to Olmert, who received his PhD from the London School of Economics, the current Israeli government "is not going to shy away from making concessions in Judea and Samaria, but it is not a government that is going to sell out, either."

"The Palestinian civil war [between Hamas and Fatah] has created an actual partition between Gaza and the territories. The pressure is on Hamas. All international support has been withdrawn from the Hamas government. The Arab states are having a different approach [than before]. Now, Egypt and Jordan are saying, 'Let's strengthen Abbas,' " said Olmert, who participated in the Madrid Peace Conference and was a member of the Israeli delegation for peace talks with Syria.

Olmert, who speaks fluent Arabic, suggested that there are signs that Fatah's Palestinian Authority is behaving differently than it did a few years ago. "A short time ago, an Israeli officer lost his way and ended up in Jenin, and the Fatah forces in the PA ensured he wasn't harmed," he pointed out. "We remember five years ago when two Israeli soldiers ended up in Ramallah – they were lynched. There is a difference."

At the same time, he said that, although he backed efforts to support Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, he was "skeptical" as to whether Israel could reach an agreement with him.

As for Fatah-appointed Prime Minister Salem Fayad, Olmert added, "They view him favorably in Israel, as a serious, no nonsense guy, a good economist, who really tries to work for the benefit of his people."

Regarding the Israeli economy, Olmert observed, "In the first half of 2007, the GDP [gross domestic product] of Israel rose 6.6 per cent. This is our real victory over terrorism. The Israeli economy is the 18th-fastest growing economy in the world, and that's after 60 years of war.

Olmert noted it is important to see "what has happened on our side of the northern border after the war last year, versus what has happened on the Lebanese side. South Lebanon is in ruins. Northern Israel is not."

Olmert, who headed the Syrian and Lebanese desks at Tel-Aviv University's faculty of Mideast studies until 1989, also gave his assessment of the current situation in Lebanon.

"I think it's fair to say that the result of the conflict [the Second Lebanon War] was less good than it should have been and far better than what it is described to be," he said. "We defeated Hezbollah, but not completely. We pushed Hezbollah away about 25 kilometres from our northern border. Hezbollah is not in the Lebanese government and the fact that the Lebanese government stands up to Hezbollah is because of the war. The coastal area of Lebanon is blocked off in an effective way, but on the Syrian-Lebanese border, there is still smuggling. UNIFIL [the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] does more than what they did before, but they still need to do more."

As for the situation with Syria, Olmert observed, "There has been lots of tension recently, not because Syria thought that Israel lost the war in 2006, but because Syria thought that it would be attacked by Israel. After the war in 2006, Israeli army training was switched to the north. The Syrians thought it was a sign that Israel was preparing for war. With the participation of third parties, the Syrians became convinced that Israel doesn't have aggressive intentions."

Olmert also praised efforts to provide for the people of the Israeli town of Sderot. "There is no one who can put a good face on what's happening in Sderot," he said. "But there is no way any government in Israel can promise Sderot that we can stop Kassams 100 per cent. Ironically, the more primitive the weapon, the harder it is for us to stop it."

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.