Olmert visits the Montefiore

November 29, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert paid a visit to Sydney’s Montefiore Home in Randwick this week.

Este Maget, Aliza Olmert, Helen Mencel, Ehud Olmert pic: Henry Benjamin

Resident Este Maget, Aliza Olmert, resident Helen Mencel and Ehud Olmert pic: Henry Benjamin

Accompanied by his wife Aliza, Olmert was taken on a tour of the Home’s facilities by Montefiore Home president David Freeman ending the inspection in one of the Home’s lounges in which residents and their families were waiting to be addressed by the former Israeli leader.

He praised the community’s efforts in having established a care facility of the calibre of the Montefiore Home and told the audience that in Israel that there were similar homes but they were the responsibility of the Government.

olmert-3Olmert  said he would not be discussing current “complex geopolitical problems”. But he did tell the residents, 20 of whom were over 100, that although the latest peace talks he had been involved in had not worked out, “we were very close to a breakthrough”. He commented on the extreme elements in the Muslim world, singling our Iran, who are hell-bent on the destruction of Israel  mentioning the dangers of nuclear power “in the hands of Islamic fanatics.

He added: “Although it is frightening, I want to reassure you that we know how to deal with this. The existence of Israel will be secure. The destiny of Israel is that Jews will be secure and not be threatened as it was in the past”.

On a lighter note, he mentioned that”this is the largest audience I have had in many weeks.”

Ehud makes a point    pic: Henry Benjamin

Ehud makes a point pic: Henry Benjamin

Olmert, has avoided the media and granted only one interview to date with Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of  “The Australian”. Olmert is visitng Australia under the auspices of the Australia-Israel Culutral Exchange [AICE] and will participate in high-level briefings to the members of the Australian delegation to the Australia Israel Leadership Forum which will take place in Melbourne this week.

The former Prime Minister, who is facing corruption charges in Israel, told Sheridan that he had offered Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas “the most far-reaching and comprehensive peace deal any Israeli prime minister had offered.” The deal included 94% of the West Bank and all of Gaza and included a tunnel “under Palestinian control” linking the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. The offer failed to come to fruition.

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