Ehud Olmert

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Ehud Olmert אהוד אולמרט is the Prime Minister of Israel, a position comparable to that of a president because it is filled through direct popular election rather than selection from parliament as is true in a parliamentary system. (The President of South Africa is a postion comparable to that of a prime minister because it is filled through selection by a parliament rather than direct popular election). Before becoming the 12th and current Prime Minister, Kadima party leader Olmert served as the Acting Prime Minister since January 4, 2006 when Ariel Sharon suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke.

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On the Iranian Threat/non-Threat

At the annual Herzliya conference on January 24, 2007 Olmert threatened Irean with nuclear atatck: "The Jewish people, with the scars of the Holocaust fresh on its body, cannot afford to allow itself to face threats of annihilation once again. Anyone who threatens us, who threatens our existence, must know that we have the determination and capability of defending ourselves, responding with force, discretion and with all the means at our disposal." However he also expressed the desire that "every country" (Code for the United States and various Western European states) share complicity for attacks against Iran: "It is the obligation of every country to act against this with all its might." Source: Steven Glutkin. "Olmert Calls For action against Iran." Associated Press & San Jose Mercury News. January 24, 2007. News Report

On April 22, 2007 Olmert sounded more reasonable on Isreal Radio: "I believe the international efforts will achieve the goals. There is no need to get caught up in any apocalyptic prophecies that have no basis in reality. Iran is far from crossing the nuclear threshold ... Unfortunately, it is not as far as I would like it to be but it is also not as close as it proclaims to be." Source: Aron Heller. "Olmert: Iran's Nukes Can Be Stopped." The Guardian. April 22, 2007. News Report

Disarray and Danger

Olmert has proven unable to make his party coalition government work effectively. According to Hebrew University professor Schlomo Avineri the relationship between Olmert and his Defense Minister, Labor Party leader Amir Peretz, is so poor that they are unable to control the security and intelligence services: "This is a government where the prime minister and defense minister don't really control their own people in the security services and don't feel strong enough to challenge them. Source: Steven Erlanger. "In a Weakened Israel, Split on Policy and Politics, Angry Words--or No Words at All." The New York Times. January 7, 2007. A9.

On May 2, 2007 Avigdor Itzhaki Kadima Party’s parliamentary delegation leader and chair of the governing coalition, told Isreali Army Radio he was attempting to "persuade Kadima members to ask the prime minister to resign."

Un-Popularity

In a Dahak Institute poll of 345 Kadima voters, Olmert scored poorly against everyone but poor Meir Sheetrit.

Tzipi Livni: 49.3%
Shaul Mofaz: 14.5%
"None of the above": 11.6%
Undecided: 10.1%
Ehud Olmert: 8.7%
Meir Sheetrit 5.8%

Source: Gil Hoffman. "Livni Crushes Olmert in Voter Poll." The Jerusalem Post. January 5, 2007.

Background

Previously, Olmert was the Vice Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, and Minister responsible for the Israel Lands Administration, as well as an ordinary member of the Knesset. Olmert was born on September 30, 1945.

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