As Yaakov Smirnoff used to say: “What a country!” In how many other democracies in the world could a minister be convicted of French-kissing a subordinate outside the prime minister’s office and then return to the cabinet with a promotion? I tell you–you have to admire Israel’s willingness to forgive and forget–but mostly forget–the peccadillos of their leaders:
The Knesset approved Wednesday evening a cabinet reshuffle that makes former justice minister Haim Ramon, who resigned his post ahead of a conviction for sexual misconduct, vice premier. The move marks his return to political life.
…Ramon was also appointed minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, in charge of state policy and will be a member of the security cabinet.
This picture of Olmert and Ramon with million dollar smiles is so sickening I had to display it here. I wonder what’s the joke they’re laughing about: perhaps the “fast one” they’re both playing on the Israeli public: Olmert with a 2% approval rating and three criminal investigations for corruption in the works; and Ramon, who’s just done a virtual political Houdini act by serving his slap on the wrist sentence and returning to government as if nothing had happened.
I was tickled by the implications of this passage:
Ramon was forced to resign as justice minister after being indicted for forcibly kissing a female soldier. His conviction made it impossible for him to return to his former job…
I guess we should consider ourselves lucky Israeli law at least bars a convicted sex offender from becoming justice minister. Becoming vice-premier thus is a merciful substitute for something much worse. OK, sex offender may be too strong a term since it was just a little kiss among friends, right? How ’bout: sexual harasser?