VIDEO - "A wave of rumors has been sweeping the country since Wednesday; some of those rumors are wicked and malicious," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
said Sunday, referring to the recent police investigation against him and the reactions it has prompted.
"I guarantee that once things are cleared up by the relevant authorities, the affair will be put in its accurate context and this will put a stop to the rumors," he added at the opening of Sunday's cabinet meeting.
"Until then, we have a national agenda, and I have an agenda to follow as Israel's prime minister."
The prime minister was questioned under caution at his Jerusalem residence on Friday regarding alleged bribery offenses.
Olmert stated that the police probe will
not prevent him from continuing to fulfill his duties. "I plan to carry out what I need to do both in the national and the diplomatic arenas," he stressed. "I met with (US secretary of State Condoleezza) Rice yesterday, and will meet with (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas tomorrow."
However, despite his attempts to convey a "business as usual" atmosphere, the prime minister cancelled on Sunday special interviews he was scheduled to give to various media outlets ahead of Independence Day, fearing the interviews will focus on the recent investigation.
Deputy Prime Minister and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai urged his fellow ministers to remain silent on the issue for now: "We should stop gloating over others' misfortunes and wait for things to clear up. Let's wait patiently, we're not in a hurry to get anywhere."
Meanwhile, tensions have been rising high at the Prime Minister's Office, and Olmert's aides are concerned that this new affair might deal a fatal blow to Kadima. "The worst thing is that we can't present the Prime Minister's Office's version regarding these vicious suspicions because of the gag order," one associate explained.
Olmert's urgent probe, proxy of a special order issued Thursday night by Mazuz, was the opening act in another investigation launched against Olmert, this time for allegedly receiving bribed from an American businessman based in Israel - before he was elected prime minister.