a different side of Israel

Tag: money

Trouble in Kadima

I attended a political event a few months ago where the speaker stated emphatically, and what may be construed as presumptuously, that if anybody wants to make a difference in Israel politically, there are only two parties to join. One is Likud, and the other is Labor. Anticipating the question, he immediately addressed the subject of Kadima, which, he said, would slip out of existence in the coming years.

I wasn’t sure if I believed him or not. I simply preferred to sit back and see if he was right. Well, two pieces of news came out today that are inching in that direction.

MollaFirst, is a story you’ve probably heard before. A Knesset Member pocketing campaign donations, and even charity donations, from US organizations. Well, who doesn’t these days? Or otherwise misuse earmarked funds for some such thing – apartment renovations (Dalia Itzik, former Knesset Speaker), inordinate travel expenditures, whatever. The case here is that of Kadima MK Shlomo Molla, who, sadly, is the only Ethiopian parliamentarian in the Knesset today. As such, I hate to see him get himself into this mess, because the Ethiopian community really needs strengthening, and doesn’t need its representative embroiled in scandals. But what’s done is done, allegedly of course.

Here’s the scoop. Molla was first caught lying about a BA he received from Bar Ilan University, when in fact he never finished the degree. While that’s annoying, it’s not exactly horrible scandalous. But now, he is accused of pocketing money from private organizations that supported his campaign. Instead of using the money for the campaign, he bought presents for his family. Well, you could argue that he would have used his own money, which would now have been dedicated to the campaign, but you can’t really prove that.

He also took a $17,000 donation from a Jews for Jesus group, who gave him the money on condition that $10,000 would go towards the needs of the Ethiopian community in Israel. Allegedly, the money was transferred to his personal savings account instead. A source close to Molla said that he kept saying that “…it was not important, that the money only came from Jews for Jesus and not from real Jews,” and that “He tried to make them sound ugly so that no one would care about what happened to the money.”

On a more holistic Kadima front, the editor-in-chief of the party’s website, Amir Segal, wrote an op-ed piece on the site. It was about Kadima head and opposition leader Tzipi Livni. “The de-legitimization Livni is suffering from is not just her private problem,” he wrote. “It radiates onto the entire party. More and more Knesset Members and central activists feel comfortable challenging, criticizing or showing contempt for their chairwoman.”

So we’ll see what happens there. ‘Tis hard to tell whether Kadima will survive, or split. Maybe they will, maybe not. And maybe Labor will come shooting back if Kadima trips. Or maybe the Messiah will come in the meantime or something. I give him 10 minutes.

Africa Israel Can’t Pay its Debts

A second Israeli giant is on his way down. After Arkadi Gaydamak, the Russian billionaire, unceremoniously fled the country with his tail between his legs and renounced his Israel citizenship after a miserable failure of an attempt to run for mayor of Jerusalem by courting the Arab vote, Lev Leviev, another Russian billionaire and owner of Africa Israel, is suffering. The company lost over 1.3 billion shekels in the last quarter, and stock in his company has plummeted. He recently announced that the company will not be able to repay their debts starting in 2011. His biggest mistake? Investing in the US.

Leviev2009 debts are about 600 million, with 2010 being about one billion shekels, which they will be able to meet. After that, it all depends on where the global economy stands.

In big trouble from this crisis is Bank HaPoalim, which has significant investments in Leviev’s company, and if Africa Israel indeed can’t repay what they owe the bank, then the Israeli banking system could take quite a hit, as HaPoalim is the lead domino in what could be a continuous fall. Commission paid to banks in Israel is high as it is already, and HaPoalim has lost a lot of money in recent years. Just wait until Leviev’s drop comes around and then see what happens to bank fees. It’s not going to be pretty.

The encouraging news is that Israel is one of the first countries to officially exit the global recession, with economic growth small, but measured in the last quarter. Hopefully, it will be enough to offset this, and perhaps the giant can recover in time for the upswing. Until such is determined, it will be an interesting next few years. Is it ever not?

I wonder who the next Russian billionaire to get some stress will be. Leviev has admitted to flowing a billion shekels of his own money into the company to keep it afloat, and tells of working 20 hour days recently in a frantic frenzy to keep above water.

RABBI SHLOIME Stranded in Malaysia

Looks like Rabbi Shloime (AKA Adam Logan) is stuck in Malaysia with a $1,400 hotel tab (must have raided the minibar)…. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!!

Am in hurry writing you this short message and I am sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling. I traveled to Malaysia and i got my self stranded. I am really stranded in Malaysia because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport, documents, cell phone which i have all my contacts and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me. I am now owning a hotel bill of $1,400 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon else they will have to hand me over to the Hotel Management, I need this help from you urgently to help me back home, I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $2,300 to feed and help myself back home so please can you help me with a sum of $3,700 USD to sort out my problems here. I am sending you this e-mail from the city Library, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and I promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home. So please use the details of one of the hotel managers below to transfer the money to me through Western Union money transfer or money gram because that is the only way i could be able to get it fast and leave since he has a valid ID to pick up the money for me from the western union. This is the detail below….

Name: Adam LOGAN
Address: 19A Jalan Chow, Bandar Ipoh, Malaysia
Text Question: To whom

After you have send the money, email to me the western union money transfer control number or you can attach and forward to me the western union money transfer receipt so that i can pick up the money fast and leave. Right now, i dont have any acess to phone communications because the phone in my hotel room had been disconnected due to too much bills imposed on me, i only have acess to the computer at the library where am sending you this email right now.

Hope to hear from you soon. The embassy here has already promised to give me a covering traveling papers that i will need to have my way back home, all i need right now is the money to settle up the bills and leave.

Thanks and get back to me soon.

Best Regards,


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