Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert slammed the current government in a speech on Monday, but did not reveal whether he intends to run in the upcoming Knesset elections.
"The government under my leadership took action, unlike this government, which is all talk," Olmert said during a conference on international laws of war at Tel Aviv University. "In the practical sense, the government requires much improvement. It knows how to talk, but not how to act."
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Olmert dismissed reported deadlines for his return to politics as "incorrect" and joked about contending in the elections, but did not offer clues as to his plans.
Olmert on Monday (Photo: Zvika Tishler)
The former leader entered the lecture hall accompanied by bodyguards, clearly enjoying the attention of the media that gathered to hear him speak. He shook hands with acquaintances and shared a hug with Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz, who served as the chief of the IDF during the Second Lebanon War.
"I must apologize for the little commotion," he said upon taking to the podium, sarcastically referring to the onslaught of reporters.
"The media outlets in Israel are very serious," he continued. "They never miss a discussion on topics like international law or Israeli wars. Anyone who thinks that they are here for any other reason is mistaken. You are allowed to make mistakes."
Convening with Livni
Addressing Israeli conflicts, Olmert said that the international community is overly sensitive to the Jewish state's military operations.
"When it comes to Israel, the sensitivity threshold is lower. It isn't justified," he said. "Especially… in events when Israel had to deal with forces that don't adhere to international laws, events that required Israeli response after its citizens were attacked within its own sovereign territory."
Last week, Olmert held a secret meeting with former Kadima Chairman Tzipi Livni to coordinate their positions ahead of deciding whether to return to public life. Sources in Kadima speculated that Olmert is unlikely to run in the next elections due to the state prosecution's decision to appeal his acquittal in a corruption case.
Livni, meanwhile, is contemplating whether to make a political comeback, and if so, which party to join. The two are expected to meet again.
"Recently I've been hearing in the media that there is no alternative to Netanyahu," he said. "I entirely disagree with this assertion. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is better than Netanyahu, former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan, who I hope gets well soon, is better than Netanyahu. Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is better than Netanyahu and former Kadima Chairwoman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is better than Netanyahu, as is your humble servant."
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