Pic: Yaki Assaig
Photo: Gil Yohanan
The comptroller
Photo: Gil Yohanan

A visit from the state comptroller

An imaginary (or not?) conversation with the comptroller

Is this Mr. Lapid?


This is the comptroller speaking

What comptroller?

The STATE comptroller



The man himself?


Yes sir, what can I do for you?

I hear that you recently interviewed the prime minister.



How much?

What, how much?

How much did you give him?

I didn’t give him anything.

Is this a denial?

Why should I give him anything?

Okay, if that is the way you want this to proceed.

What proceed? What needs to proceed? I went to his office, we met for a half-hour. I interviewed him and left. I’ve done this already 1,000 times.


And what about the envelope?

What envelope?

Let’s not play innocent sir. You met at his home, its big, office, lots of secretaries, people coming and going, couriers. You want to tell me that there was no envelope anywhere?

If you are presenting it like that, I don’t know, maybe there was.

First you said there was none and now you are suddenly saying there was?

And if there was?

Excuse me sir, but I ask the questions here.

Is this an investigation?

So you admit that there are grounds for one?

I don’t admit anything.

Except that there was an envelope.

Again the envelope?


You are kindly requested to refrain from shouting it ruins the microphone.

Are you recording me?

The State Comptroller records all of his conversations.

For the courts?

For TV Channel 10, they can’t afford to tape it.


Mr. Lindenstrauss, I am not interested in talking to you.

Too bad, I wanted to give you a chance.

What chance?

A senior journalist gives an envelope to the prime minister who is under suspicion of bribery and suddenly he has an exclusive interview and the prime minister buys himself an apartment in Tel Aviv.

The prime minister already has an apartment in Tel Aviv.

When did you buy it for him?

Are you serious? From where do I have the money to buy him an apartment?


Was it thick?

Was what thick?

The envelope you gave him.

For the last time, there was no envelope.

Sir, Yoav Yitzhaki (investigative journalist) has already uploaded the transcript of this conversation to his Internet site. You said and I quote: ‘I don’t know, maybe there was.’


It’s already on the Internet? I’ll sue!

Then what? You’ll spend three years in court, spend NIS 100,000 (USD 25,000) on lawyers fees and in the end, you’ll get a public apology that no one will read?

But how was it leaked so quickly?

Sir, the days of a mute state comptroller just sitting in his office are over. Lindenstrauss works differently. Lindenstrauss stands for transparency. Lindenstrauss thinks the public has a right to know everything.

Why are you speaking about yourself in the third person?

It’s easier for the typist at TV Channel 1.

What, they are there too?


So who helped you?

Helped me to do what?

To buy him the apartment.

I did not buy him an apartment.

Sir, again you are playing dumb. It’s written black and white on Yoav’s site you said ‘Where do I have the money to buy him an apartment?’ If you didn’t have the money, surely someone helped you.

Why should someone help me?

Why indeed. Maybe someone wanted you to avoid asking him about the sale of Bank Leumi.

But I did ask him.


Is my good sir acquainted with one Frank Lowey?

Remind me who he is?

The Australian who tried to buy the bank.

I thought he didn’t even submit a bid.

Mr. Lapid, I asked you a simple question. Do you know him?

I think I met him once, a few years ago at a wedding.

Under what circumstances?

Two people got married.

So it is just chance that for years you have been friendly with one of the investors in Bank Leumi. And just by chance you interview the prime minister on the subject. And just by chance there is an envelope on the desk and just by chance he bought an apartment in Tel Aviv. Excuse me Mr. Lapid but do you take us all for idiots?


Can I abstain from answering the question?

The attorney general will decide.

How is he involved?

If Lindenstrauss suspects bribery, then Lindenstrauss turns to the attorney general and tells him he has to open an investigation.

Who makes him?


And what if the attorney general thinks its based on meaningless gossip?

He will appoint an independent commission to investigate further.

What commission?

You need to ask?




May I ask his honor a question?

Wait a minute. The girl from IDF radio is activating her microphone. Okay, go ahead.

What piqued his honor’s suspicion regarding this incident?

The interview.

What specifically in the interview?

I turned on the TV. I see you all of a sudden interviewing the prime minister. I say to myself, why him of all people? There are so many fascinating people in this country, law abiding citizens, pursuers of justice, articulate, with beautiful manes of white hair, pink cheeks, former district judges with cynical smiles but kind hearts. But no, instead you prefer him, even you have to admit it is very suspicious.

There is merit to what you say.

It’s not too late to come clean.


May I first consult with my wife?


I’ll get back to you.

No need to.

Why not?

I’ll get the recording from my advisor on corruption, Borovsky.


פרסום ראשון: 11.16.06, 13:46
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