November 03, 2009

Israel was all too willing to sell out for Gaydamak's billions

Landmine victims in Angola play soccer
Photo: Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation
Ha'aretz - Anshel Pfeffer
October 30, 2009

...Arcadi Gaydamak has been sentenced to six years in prison and a hefty fine for selling hundreds of millions of dollars of arms to war-torn Angola [
whose weapons had kept one of Africa's most murderous conflicts going for years]. Not that he is planning to serve any time. The millionaire is holed up in Moscow where as long as he does nothing to anger the Kremlin, he is safe from extradition...

...Gaydamak was feted by the entire country [Israel] ... politicians, senior officers, journalists and businessmen all flocked to his extravagant parties... town council members joined his nonexistent political party in the belief that he would sweep them to electoral victory - first on the local level, then the national. How thousands went into a frenzy, cheering for him in Jerusalem's soccer stadium and at the mass Independence Day party he organized.

his very first blatant attempt to buy political power, almost four years ago... Gaydamak signed an agreement with then-chairman of the Jewish Agency, Zeev Bielski, by which the Russian businessman was to donate $50 million over a five-year period to a Jewish education fund to be administered jointly with the Agency. In return, Gaydamak was to receive a seat on the Agency's most senior decision-making panels...

Gaydamak is not the only Jewish tycoon in recent years who tried to change the course of Israeli politics and society by force of his money. Casino owner Sheldon Adelson has poured millions into a new free newspaper, Yisrael Hayom, currently the second-highest circulation paper in the country, with a singular agenda - pushing Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister and, once there, keeping him in power. Angolan diamond dealer Lev Leviev, by offering free teaching assistants, managed to get secular primary schools around the country to teach a Lubavitch-inspired Orthodox curriculum of Jewish studies. Full story

No comments:

Post a Comment