In rare comments, ex-PM Olmert admits to making ‘quite a few’ mistakes
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In rare comments, ex-PM Olmert admits to making ‘quite a few’ mistakes

Five months after his release from prison, former premier defends his 2006 Lebanon war record and plugs a new tell-all book

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert speaking to alumni of the Shin Bet's Protected Persons Unit in December 2017. (Channel 10 screen capture)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert speaking to alumni of the Shin Bet's Protected Persons Unit in December 2017. (Channel 10 screen capture)

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert offered a rare public acknowledgement of his wrongdoing, five months after his release from prison.

“I’m willing to deal with my mistakes, and I’ve made quite a few, by the way, both in my personal actions and in my public ones,” he told a December gathering of alumni of the Shin Bet Protected Persons Unit, which guards prime ministers and other top officials, according to video from the event broadcast by Channel 10 news Saturday.

Olmert spoke of a new book that is set to be published soon. “I can’t avoid acknowledging these mistakes,” he said. “I talk about them in the book. I don’t want to let anyone off the hook, including myself.”

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert leaves Ramle’s Ma’asiyahu prison on July 2, 2017, following his release. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Olmert, who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009, was released from prison on July 2, 2017, after serving 16.5 months of a 19-month sentence for breach of trust and bribery in two separate corruption convictions.

In his comments last month, he also said he knew how to better allocate the nation’s resources and defended his record in the controversial 2006 Second Lebanon War.

“Many of us have the feeling that the division of resources in this country doesn’t represent our potential as a nation and our achievements and economy as a country,” he said. “This is something that has to change, and I think I know how this has to be done. I talk about these things in the book, the parameters or priorities that will ensure that security isn’t compromised — and the person saying this was forced several times in a relatively short time in office to make difficult decisions when it comes to security, and thank goodness there’s been complete quiet in the north for over 11 years. I don’t think there’s been any military encounter between us and our enemies in any theater in the history of Israel that gave us such a long period of stability and quiet.”

Olmert’s book is not yet out, but is said to take police and state prosecutors to task over their conduct in his corruption trials.

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