Under fire himself, Olmert visits southern towns hit by rockets

Thursday, May 29, 2008 |  staff writer

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert retreated to perhaps the only place more under fire than his own office to curry the support of community leaders in Israel’s southern towns, bombarded on a daily basis by Palestinian rockets.

"I'll continue to function as prime minister; there are those who believe that the launching of any investigation demands a resignation, but I don't adhere to this notion and I will not step down," he said Wednesday, during a meeting with the heads of communities and towns located near Gaza.

Olmert is under investigation for accepting large amounts of cash from American Jewish financier, Morris Talansky, who testified on Tuesday. Yesterday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on Olmert to step aside and not try to run the country during the investigation. Members of Olmert’s own party, Kadima, have also called on him to step down.

Olmert tried to get the spotlight off his problems yesterday and instead dealt with the attacks in the South.

“We will find a solution, which will be either peaceful or involve military action; but in any case we are very close to making a decision, the details of which I cannot reveal,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Olmert aide, Shula Zaken, may be close to divulging what she knows about the Talansky affair in return for charges against her in another tax fraud case be dropped and the investigation closed. Zaken was allegedly the middleman between Talansky gave Olmert.

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