Former PM Olmert Ranked Most Corrupt Leader In Israeli History

While just over half of Israelis think the Benjamin Netanyahu regime is just as corrupt as Ehud Olmert’s government was, the former prime minister won the contest for most corrupt ever, hands down.

According to a University of Haifa poll that is to be presented today at a conference, “Is Democracy in Crisis?,” marking the inauguration of a study program on democracy, 52% of Israelis feel the two governments were equally sordid. Only 18.7% of respondents said they thought the Netanyahu government was worse, while 29.5% said they thought Olmert’s was. University teachers Doron Navot and Daphna Canetti polled 804 adults in June 2009 in telephone interviews. Asked to rank Netanyahu’s government, 45% of respondents judged it to be “highly corrupt,” 25% thought it was “moderately corrupt” and a third thought it was only slightly or not tainted.

Olmert “won” the spot of most corrupt prime minister in Israeli history by a landslide, with 52% of the vote. Netanyahu placed second, with 17.8%, while Ariel Sharon was judged third-most corrupt.

They were followed by Yitzhak Rabin (3.7%), Shimon Peres (2.9%), David Ben-Gurion (2.2%), Golda Meir (1.7%) and Moshe Sharett (1%). Yitzhak Shamir and Levy Eshkol were considered the cleanest of the lot, with just 0.8% of respondents putting them at the top of the list.

Olmert faces charges that include fraud, breach of trust, forgery (of corporate documents) and failure to report income. He has denied all the charges. Olmert is the first prime minister in Israeli history to face graft charges.


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