On the international stage, his peace efforts are attracting attention. But, at home, Ehud Olmert is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Corruption claims are mounting against the Israeli prime minister, strengthening speculation he will be forced to step down.
Olmert is suspected of falsifying travel expenses under the latest allegations. He denies any wrongdoing and nothing has been proven. But some members of the public seem to have already made up their minds.
“I feel cheated and betrayed,” said one woman in Tel Aviv. “I have no faith in the leadership. I wake up depressed every morning.” “Mr Olmert, our prime minister, must go home because he is a corrupt man. He is under investigation,” a man added.
The initial case focussed on testimony from US fundraiser Morris Talansky that he had given huge sums of cash to Olmert. The Israeli leader maintains any funds he received from the New York-based businessman were legitimate contributions to election campaigns.
As he pushes for Middle East peace, clearing his name may prove to be Ehud Olmert’s toughest challenge yet.