Real estate financier Morris Talansky, 75, from Long Island, is believed to be the man behind the new investigation launched against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Talansky's involvement in the case was made public Thursday night, after the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court revised the gag order put on the police investigation of the prime minister, allowing for his inedtity – among other details – to be revealed.
Among the North American Jewish community, Talansky, an Orthodox, Zionist millionaire, is a well known as a philanthropist and political contributor. He is revered by many politicians, lobbyists and public establishment in Israel for his substantial abilities as a fund raiser.
In the US, Talansky is a registered democrat, but he is known for contributing to campaigns of non- democrats as well. In the past he has contributed to the election campaigns of US President George W. Bush, Former US President Bill Clinton, Senator Edwards Kennedy and Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
According to the New York Times, Talansky was ordained as a rabbi in the 1950s. He turned his energy to business and his attention to philanthropic endeavors, becoming a great contributor to the Yeshiva University in New York and the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem – to name a few.
An enthused Zionist. Talansky (Photo: Guy Asyag)
Twice married, he is the father of three. One of his sons, Allen, resides in the same neighborhood as Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in Jerusalem. The son refused to comment on the case, telling reporters that "surely, you have parents too; you can understand the need to protect them."
Talansky's testimony in the case is said to be backed by various documentation; however sources close to him were adamant that he was "under no suspicion, nor was he accused of anything." Talansky, they added, has no knowledge of any of the case details. "He is under no restriction and has agreed on his own accord not to leave Israel before his deposition."
Talansky allowed reported and photographers to come to his Jerusalem home Thursday afternoon, for a photo-op; but refused to answer any questions.