Friday, 30 October 2009


Gaydamak, Chen and Fanan – Abuse & Corruption Roundup...

There were key milestone positive developments in three scandals in Israel this past week.

Israeli-Russian-French Billionaire, and latterly a candidate for Mayor of Jerusalem, Arcadi Gaydamak, was found guilty in absentia by a French court, of illegally trafficking arms to Angola and sentenced to 6 years in prison. Gaydamak recently left Israel, leaving a deposit, and an open charge sheet for laundering hundreds of millions of shekels behind him. Gaydamak is believed to be in Russia.

“Rabbi” Elior Chen, the spiritual leader of an ultra-Orthodox sect in Jerusalem suspected of severe child abuse, arrived in Israel this week after being extradited from Brazil. Chen and several of his followers allegedly used knives, hammers and other instruments to abuse children as young as 3 and 4 years old – reportedly one of the most horrific child abuse cases in recent times.

And the mysterious suicide of Moni Fanan, a celebrity manager of the Maccabi Basketball football team, has led to police investigation into an illegal banking and investments operation involving Fanan and the disgraced London financier Nicholas Levene. The case resembles the Meydoff scam, with a ‘club’ of people who invested via Fanan and Levene in a scheme which netted the greedy ‘investors’ with double figure returns. Until the money dried up, and Fanan hanged himself. Both Israeli tax authorities and the UK Serious Fraud Squad are investigating. “Disappeared” money is reportedly around $20m in Fanan’s case, and over $200m in Levene’s.

These three multinational cases are showing that, though tardy, the forces of law and order in Israel, in cooperation with those of other nations, can eventually track down and catch abusers and fraudsters. The criminals can run, but - all being well - they cannot hide.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Tempest in the Temple

Tempest In the Temple – Jewish Communities & Child Sex Scandals
Brandeis University Press; Edited by Amy Neustein

"I couldn't put it down", "reads like a Dan Brown novel…", etc hardly sound like descriptions of a Brandeis University Publication, an academic analysis of Jewish Communities & Child Sex Scandals.

Tempest in the Temple is the first-ever comprehensive book on this painful & controversial subject, and as such is 'important' in every sense.

The most immediate factor I found with Tempest in the Temple was how very readable ("user friendly")  it is, even to the layman such as myself. With each chapter by a different expert contributor, and written from a different professional angle, on this pretty hair-raising subject, the book itself was compelling to read.

Each of the nine chapters addresses an 'angle' on the topic. Some are direct stories, narratives, such as Loel Weiss and Mark Itzkovitz' "Unholy Waters". This chapter tells the story of how a temple's beloved and veteran chazzan/cantor being accused of repeatedly raping a mentally handicapped girl – and the dramatic stage-by-stage response of the temple as an organization, and its key officers. To me, the most impressive detail is the responsible steps taken - including by the rabbi who did not personally believe the accusations were even true, until the chazzan himself confessed in court – including their immediately reporting the suspicions to the police, working closely to support the whole community through the trauma, whilst dealing with the long legal battles which ensued…

Another powerful narrative is "The Fugitive and the Forgotten" by Michael Lesher (who has recently written an article for this blog), an attorney specializing in child protection, in which he describes his role in the case of alleged multiple child attacker, Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz. Mondrowitz was indicted by a Brooklyn grand jury on child sex charges in 1985 and fled from the USA to Israel. In spite of some 25 years of stalling by various authorities in the USA and Israel, and many genuine legal obstacles, Mondrowitz was finally arrested in Israel in 2007 and is now in custody pending extradition to the USA.
I found one of the most striking details in the account was that only non-Jewish victims had come forward to testify against Mondrowitz in the 1980's, whereas today Jewish victims (who were allegedly by far the majority) are coming forward, some quarter-century later, in order that the Mondrowitz will finally face justice.

Rabbi Mark Dratch, founder of JSAFE, writes "A Community of Co-Enablers" – a halachik treatise addressing the response of many orthodox communities – "Why Are Jews Ignoring Traditional Jewish Law by Protecting the Abuser?" For example, R.Dratch addresses Loshen Hora (derogatory/slanderous speech), Mesirah (betrayal of Jews to non-Jewish authorities) and Hillul Hashem (the desecration of G-d's name) – being the three main halachik justifications used to cover-up, deny or evade mandatory reporting of child abuse cases in orthodox communities. I found R.Dratch's conclusions about practical, positive steps communities should take to better protect their children, to be particularly constructive and helpful.

Amy Neustein showed editorial flair, by inviting Barbara Blaine, founder of SNAP (Survivor Networks of those Abused by Priests) to tell her personal story of "How I Challenged the Catholic Church Hierarchy to Atone for their Sins against Me and Other Abuse Victims". The story starts with one victim of rape, at the hands of a Catholic Priest  - the author – who initiated a survivors support group, which grew to 9000 members, in over 60 cities, and culminated in the exposure and arrest of dozens of molesting priests in Boston in 2002 – and legal proceedings against hundreds of Catholic clerics throughout the USA. Civil damages cases have cost the Catholic Church over $1 Billion.
The exposure of the systemic protection and enablement of pedophile Catholic Clerics by the Church, generated an awareness which has begun the process of examining some parallel policies within Jewish communities – and, incidentally, has led to the writing of Tempest in the Temple.

Psychiatrist, Michelle Friedman, delves into the unique factors of a Rabbi's role, and asks "What Makes A Rabbi Violate Sexual Boundaries And What Can Be Done About It?". Although the focus is upon rabbis, and indeed Friedman is director of pastoral counseling at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinic School in New York, the observations about blurring and then progressing to abusing of professional boundaries is also applicable in many other spheres of life – the manager and his secretary, the professor and his students, the sports coach and the kids….

Robert Weiss, a clinical social worker and the executive director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, explains more about the criminology of sex abusers in general, including a helpful explanation of commonly used terminology (eg. what is the difference between a pedophile and a child molester?). Weiss categorises sexual offenders in three groups: The Dedicated or Fixated Child Offender  (adult loner who hangs out with kids and transitions the kids from social to sexual relationships – although Weiss doesn't mention him as an example, from biographical reports, I observe that Michael Jackson seems to have fitted this category); The Situational or Regressed Child Offender (a 'normal guy' who redirects his adult sexual frustrations onto children); and The Sexually Addicted Offender (compulsive, addictive sexual behavior which can include illegal and abusive sexual activities). Weiss highlights the first category as being the least likely to respond positively to available therapy – and holds out positive hopes for enabling the second two categories of offenders to lead offense-free lives.

Dr Joyanna Silberg and Stephanie Dallam, both of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence in Baltimore, in their joint article "Out of the Jewish Closet" examine the   scope and nature of child abuse in orthodox communities, particularly drawing on their experience in Baltimore. For generations, sex abuse was treated as a taboo subject or concern in these communities; in the past few years significant progress has been made in removing the taboo status and honestly assessing and addressing the issue. The first formal study of the extent of child sex abuse in Jewish orthodox communities has been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, in 2007, which surveyed orthodox women, and reports that around one-in-four of the orthodox women who responded to the survey reported they had suffered sex abuse as a child. This mirrors similar studies in the general population (see my posting "So How Common is Sex Abuse.."). The Baltimore Jewish Times has also taken a leading role in bringing awareness of the scale and gravity of the problem ("murder of the soul") to the general public.  The authors also describe the process of increasing awareness in the non-Jewish world, over the past century, and the various backlash movements, which includes moves to discredit the testimony of abuse survivors. The differentials of the orthodox community to the general population are also highlighted. The chapter concludes on a forward looking, positive note, highlighting programs in Baltimore and in Los Angeles which are uniting communities in a shared objective of "promoting healing and prevention".

The two chapters "Straying the Course" by Erica Brown and "Justice Interrupted" by Amy Neustein and Michael Lesher describe, document and assess some of the past failings of Jewish communities in appropriately handling and preventing child abuse, and propose some practical steps for detecting and responding to such cases.

Brown focuses on abuse by rabbis or other authoritative moral figures, observing that, whereas there can be distinctions drawn between private morality and public functionality, a rabbi (or priest) have elected to pursue a career which sets them up as specifically moral role models. Therefore standards are set higher, and private failings become a betrayal of their professional persona. Brown suggests therefore that regular assessments/evaluations of the rabbi by the lay leadership should be standard procedure in communities (as is standard in many workplaces).

Neustein and Lesher's "Justice Interrupted" reviews the case of Rabbi Solomon Hafner who was "cleared" of abuse charges by the Bobov Bet Din (religious court) while the alleged victim was chased out of town; they also explore the Mondrowitz case and Rabbi Yehuda Kolko.In all three cases, the DA, Charles "Joe" Hynes seems to have participated in whitewashing, or obfuscating, due apparently to political considerations. Neustein and Lesher examine the legalities of Hynes behavior and that of the rabbinical courts, and bring federal civil law to challenge the legitimacy of these policies.

Conclusion: Tempest in the Temple is a pioneering book, offering a broad range of highly readable, thorough, balanced, professional studies and first hand accounts concerning the chosen subject matter of Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals. It is my recommendation that Tempest in the Temple should be read particularly by those involved in Jewish community life, including Jewish social services, education, congregational management. and rabbinical training.  
(Tempest in the Temple can be ordered on-line directly from Brandeis University Press )     

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Final Solution to the Palestinian Problem?

In the darkest times of The Cold War (1959) Tom Lehrer's black humour song went:

For if the bomb that drops on you
Gets your friends and neighbours too,
There'll be nobody left behind to grieve….

We will all go together when we go,
All suffused with an incandescent glow.

Have you ever wondered why the Palestinians are not Israel's allies when it comes to opposing the nuclear weapons program in Iran? After all, as Tom so memorably sang "We will all go together when we go".
A nuclear holocaust visited upon me and my family, here in Israel, will also get my neighbors, Ahmed and his family, living in a West Bank/Judea village just five minutes drive from my front door.

Iran is solely developing nuclear weapons to bomb Israel with, and this would also be the Final Solution for the Palestinian Problem.

There is no contradication between destroying Israel together with Arab Palestine  - and all the occupants of our region, both Jews and Arabs together "all suffused with an incandescent glow" – with the Iranian + Palestinian objective of "liberating Palestine".

How is this, you may ask – surely the destruction of Palestine is the polar opposite of what the Palestinians and Iranians want? Why else would they have sacrificed so much for the claims to "an independent Palestinian State, living in peace side by side with Israel"?

However, my friend, you and almost the entire world have mistaken the Palestinians' and their supporters' (such as Iran) true objectives.

They have sacrificed a lot, it is true, for their objectives. Palestinians have given their children to two intifadas (over 5000 Palestinian 'martyrs'). But their objective is NOT a peaceful Palestinian State, living side by side in peace with Israel.

Their objective is, and always has been, the destruction of the State of Israel, and the annihalation of the Jews/Israelis. Yes, some Palesatinians have sometimes voiced support for a partial Palestinian State, but only within the context of this being a tactical step towards that final goal.

And if you doubt me, then consider: why do the Palestinians support an Iranian Bomb?

They support it, because an Iranian Bomb, dropped on Israel will achieve their objective. The destruction of Israel and the annihalation of the Six Million Jews/Israelis. And the simultaneous and glorious martyrdom of two million Palestinians. What greater fulfillment could any devout Moslem aspire to – what could be even more glorious than sacrificing just five thousand of their own children - than the sacrifice of two million? If you believe this is far fetched, recall a world just fifty years ago, where two superpowers faced off, armed with thousands of nuclear bombs, apparently each willing to sacrifice the whole planet and all of its inhabitants for their ideals.

We will all go together when we go,
All suffused with an incandescent glow.


P.S. Those culturally impoverished souls who are unfamiliar with Tom Lehrer's brilliantly ironic song can watch & hear him sing it:

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Did Barak Overspend?

Scathing report slams conduct of defense minister's convoy to Air Show in France during times of recession, says most expensive hotel chosen, some of rooms booked were not used by anyone.,7340,L-3790095,00.html 

The Chief Comptrollers latest report severely criticized Defence Minister Ehud Barak for the "excessive spending" on this year's Defence Ministry Delegation to the Paris Air Show.

Barak's political opponents have jumped on this stating Barak "has proven himself once more unworthy of leading the Labor Party."

In the details, the following facts have been revealed:

Total cost of the delegation: $250,000

Hotel Expenses: $80,000

Number of attendees: 57 representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Defence travelled to the Exhibition, including the Defence Minister. 

Micha Lindenstrauss, the Chief Comptroller, highlights mess-ups with the bookings, leading to high prices at this, the 100th Anniversary Paris Air Show. Barak's hotel room at the exclusive Intercontinental Hotel in central Paris was $2500/night. 

Background: The bi-annual Paris Air Show is arguably the world's largest aerospace exhibition. Israel has for many years had its own exhibition hall at the show (when other major countries hosting Air Shows even refused to grant Israeli companies the right to exhibit!); it is here that Israel's leading defence contractors, such as Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael, Elbit, Israel Military Industries, as well as smaller manufacturers, show their wares, and many large sales contracts are inked at the show. 

Israel's defence industry accounts for around $6 billion/a in exports, placing Israel in the world's top ten defence exporters; this business is thriving, relatively untouched by the global economic recession. Over 80% of the turnover of Israel's defence industries goes to export markets.

Israel's military strategic edge is largely reliant upon Israel's own defence industries, providing mission-ready systems, at affordable (even for a small country) costs. The local market alone cannot sustain this, and so defence exports enable Israel's Defence Forces to maintain a critical qualitative edge. A strong defence industry also allows us a certain level of independence from boycotts by supplier countries (as happened with France and the UK in the past).

Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence is itself a major customer, particularly for US Aerospace manufacturers – with over $2 Billion/a in US Defence Aid being spent back in the USA by Israel's MoD. The Israel Air Force, for example, is totally reliant upon US manufactured fighter aircraft, such as F-16's and the upcoming Joint Strike Fighter, which will ensure Israel's fighting capability for the coming decade. All the main US manufacturers are present, such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, et al, together with their top executives

In this perspective, for the Ministry of Defence to spend $250,000 on having a highest level presence at the Paris Air Show, seems a reasonable national investment. Even the minister's $2500/night suite would seem to be proportionate to his status.

So, whereas Micha Lindenstrausse beady eye on government spending is to be welcomed, and will hopefully prevent excess – and hopefully as a result of this latest report the boys in the MoD will be more careful with their hotel bookings in future – I do not see this as a cause for Barak to stand-down or even, frankly, to apologise. The main excess here, methinks, is political opponents within the Labour Party absurdly stating that, by these expenses " Barak has proven himself once more unworthy of leading the Labor Party."

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

This card can save ONE HUNDRED LIVES each year!

Considering the outstandingly generous and charitable nature of the Jewish People, and the espoused centrality of saving human lives ("pikuach nefesh") it is curious that when it comes to donating life-saving organs to dying patients, we Jews are apparently one of the stingiest nations on earth.

In Israel, the percentage of people who hold an organ donation card is only 10 percent; in Western countries the rate is 30-40 percent. The rate of agreement to organ donation is only 45 percent, which is 50 percent lower than the rate in most Western countries.

As a result, there are about 1,000 Israelis currently on the "waiting list" for organs, and it is estimated that roughly 10% [100 people!!] of them die annually due to a lack of donations. (Wikipedia).

Two landmark Organ Donation laws were passed in Israel in 2008, one defining the moment of death and the mechanism for determining this, and the other permitting limited compensation/incentive to donors while outlawing the "business" of out-of-country organ transplants.    

As the Hebrew readers will see from my ADI organ donor card (which I carry on me with my ID card), I have ticked the boxes for:
"any organ which can aid in saving a life"
"this is conditional upon the permission of a cleric of the choice of my family after my death."
"My donation is for the purposes of transplant only".

There are halachik opinions against organ transplants, particularly regarding those performed after "death" (defining that is the main point of debate); indeed it is this religion-based objection which is reportedly the dominant factor in the low donor rate in Israel. However, increasingly rabbonim are promoting organ donations, due to the ever clearer and urgent life-saving potential.

In the case of my ADI Organ Donors card, that halachik decision can wait until "lemaisah", after my demise. 

Rav Soloveichik – you will have a long, long while, I hope, to further research and contemplate this topic!!

To sign up now for your Israeli organ donor card (a simple form in English), click here:

You can forward this post to whoever you believe may also be interested in Saving One Hundred Lives!

Tizku lemitzvos!!

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Third Temple as a Political Objective

This week’s riots in Jerusalem reminded us that the most volatile location in the Middle East (and arguably in the World) is Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

In September 1996, the opening of the exit of the Western Wall Tunnels resulted in false rumours being spread around the world (CNN, BBC et al) that the Tunnels were directly under the Dome of the Rock, and were aimed to undermine and destroy the building. The riots which ensued claimed over 80 dead, and almost started what later became the 2nd Intifada. (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nifty footwork, encircling Ramallah with Israeli tanks, prevented the riots spreading).

On 28th September 2000, then Prime Minister Arik Sharon’s visit to Temple Mount , was seen as the actual start to the 2nd (“Al Aksa”) Intifada – a terror war which cost 5500 Arabs and over 1000 Israeli dead.

So when around 15 Jews entered Temple Mount on Sunday 27th September, 2009, and Arabs started rioting, the potential consequences were a cause for concern. Secondary riots indeed started in other East Jerusalem locations, and abroad, reaching even Istanbul, Turkey (from where I write this piece). Israel is still in a state of alert, lest riots again spread around the country.

Considering the centrality of Temple Mount to the political and security situation in Israel, it is astounding that Israel does not seem to have forward-looking strategic policy about the status of the Mount.

Whereas Jews are highly restricted from visiting the site, by the Israeli authorities, including being forbidden to pray there, this is a tactical response to the volatility of the location, rather than a strategy.

Rav Elyashiv, accompanied improbably by President Shimon Peres, reaffirmed this week that he holds that it is forbidden by halacha to visit Temple Mount.

On the other hand, increasing numbers of rabbonim now permit, and even encourage, observant Jews to go up to Temple Mount – such as the group of 15 “settlers” who went up last week (athough I saw a report they were French tourists).

Again, these responses seem to me to be a tactical, rather than a strategic, approach.

Surprisingly, the nearest Israel has come to a forward-looking diplomatic position regarding Temple Mount was during the ill-fated, last-ditch negotiations at Taba in 2001, between Ehud Barak, as Prime Minister, and Yasser Arafat.

Having offered Arafat 97% of land East of the Green Line, including the re-division of Jerusalem into Al Kuds/Yerushalaim - the break-point was reached when the issue of Temple Mount was addressed.

Barak made strong statements back in 2001, regarding Temple Mount, saying “my government will not agree to transfer the Temple Mount to foreign sovereignty: Two thousand years ago, there was no mosque or church on the Temple Mount, but only the Jews' Holy Temple... This holy place is a fundamental anchor of our Zionist and Jewish essence."

According to Ron Pundak, an extreme left wing negotiator of the Oslo Accords, and who was critical of Barak’s handling of the negotiations at Taba:

Barak added fuel to the fire in the form of an Israel demand to change the status in the area of Haram El-Sharif [ed = Temple Mount] by building a Jewish synagogue within the boundaries of the sacred compound. Such an act had not bee contemplated for 2000 years since the destruction of the Temple in 70 ad.

Interestingly, the synagogue on Temple Mount plan was raised again, just this week, by Balad leader Dr. Jamal Zahalka who asserted that “recent conspiracy theories may not be unfounded, speculating that Israel was possibly "planning to build a synagogue" on the Temple Mount.” (JPost)

Aside from this, I am not aware of any discussions or negotiations in over 20 years of on-off dialog between Israel and the Palestinians, which have addressed the future status of Temple Mount.

The only other political figure who I am aware has stated a strategic plan for Temple Mount, is from the other end of the political spectrum, Moshe Feiglin of Manhigut Yehudit/Likud, who has stated:
"if I become prime minister I will take away control over the Temple Mount from the Wakf [the Islamic trust] and reinstate Jewish sovereignty over the entire mount and, hopefully, rebuild the Temple."

I do not believe that any of the major Israeli political parties have a declared strategy or policy regarding the future of Temple Mount in their manifestoes, nor the Israeli Foreign Office have a Policy Paper on the subject.

So, with trepidation, given the unique and critical importance & sanctity of the location, and the dearth of forward-looking political strategy being discussed openly or promoted, I offer the following thoughts about a political objective for the future of Temple Mount.

It is undeniable that “Peace Negotiations” will take place between Israel and the Palestinians. And it is inevitable that these negotiations will focus on a quid-pro-quo arrangement. You do this, and we’ll do that.

And Territory will be on that negotiating table; the final lines of partition between Israel and Palestine will be a matter for speculation - .but the Israeli built security barrier today looks and feels like a national border for tomorrow.

I do not know whether these strategic ‘peace’ negotiations will take place in a month, or in ten years, or longer… But to deny the overwhelming probability of the event itself, is to defy 30 years of Israel’s diplomatic history and all future rational projections.

In the split between Jewish Israel and Arab Palestine, Temple Mount will be discussed again, as it was by Barak and Arafat.

I propose that Israel’s red-line position in these negotiation should be an inviolable demand for half of Temple Mount.

Half, because the whole substance of the negotiations will be division of assets and the splitting up or halving of Eretz Yisrael itself.

To be more specific, the Israeli demand should be for the Northern Half of Temple Mount.

This would give the Arabs the Al-Aksa Mosque, on the South, which is the holiest site on Temple Mount for Moslems.

And it would give Israel the site of the Kedosh Hakedoshim (Holy of Holies). The beautiful (but less sacred than the Al-Aksa for the Moslems) Dome of the Rock could be moved several meters South.

And I would agree with Moshe Feiglin’s bottom-line political objective: Building the Third Temple.

Like building a Jewish State itself, this project can not rely upon the hands-on support of the Litvish rabbonim and their followers. For they will surely oppose the building project – as indeed Rav Elyashiv has joined with Shimon Peres in forbidding Jewish entry to the Mount today.

The difference between the strategic political approach proposed here, and that of Moshe Feiglin, is that it is the unfortunate reality that Moshe is very unlikely to be Israel’s Prime Minister, and even if he is, he would lack the political forces, nationally and internationally, required to implement his building plan. The confrontation against every other country in the world, and the internal opposition in Israel, would render such a plan unachievable.

On the other hand, negotiations are (regretfully) very likely to take place between Israel and the Palestinians, and Temple Mount will inevitably feature. In the future as it did in the past.

While Moshe and likeminded friends will be outside in the streets, defiantly protesting, the strategic future of Temple Mount will be handed over to the responsibility of Ehud Barak, or worse.

That darkest moment in Israel’s diplomatic history, severing Eretz Yisrael, can, ironically, be the most promising moment in our 2000 history of galut, to justly, fairly and openly demand our National Heritage and most fundamental Religious Right.

Just Half of Temple Mount. And a Building Permit.

A Third Beit Hamikdash.

And think about it for a moment - what would YOU be willing to give up, if you were at that negotiating table, to achieve that?

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Will Gaydamak Be Back?

Israeli mogul and owner of the Betar Jerusalem Football Club Arkadi Gaydamak was hit Thursday with an indictment alleging he laundered some NIS 650 million. Nahum Galmor, Gaydamak's business partner, and two senior executives in Poalim Trust, Haim Shamir and Shlomo Recht, were also indicted.

…………. Gaydamak is currently on a trip to Russia. He left NIS 4 million as bail when he left the country. In case he fails to return to Israel, it will be confiscated. (JPost.)

Arkady Gaydamak is usually described as a “Russian/Israeli billionaire”. He has a dramatic rags-to-riches biography – making aliya from Russia aged 20, then working as a sailor for ZIM shipping lines, then moving to France where he worked as a gardener and bricklayer. Gaydamak became a successful businessman in France, but often courted controversy and legal challenges.

Gaydamak is wanted by police in France on charges connected to the illegal exporting of arms to Angola, and tax evasion. In Israel, where Gaydamak has been living since leaving France in around 2004, allegations of misdemeanor have been gathering since 2006.

Gaydamak reached his peak of popularity in Israel during the 2nd Lebanon War when he initiated and funded an emergency evacuee-camp on the beach for Israeli families who left the war-torn North of Israel. (I, together with Lema’an Achai, ran a similar program in Bet Shemesh, regretfully garnering less publicity!).

In 2007 Gaydamak went into Israeli politics establishing “Social Justice” – a new party. In 2008, Gaydamak flopped as a candidate for Jerusalem mayor, attracting just 3% of the vote.

With charges of fraud and money laundering, to the tune of 650M NIS, now issued by police in Israel against Gayadamak and his partners, and leaving a measly 4m NIS as deposit before hopping to Russia, I can see no good reason for Gaydamak to return any time soon to Israel.

Can you?

Thursday, 1 October 2009