Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday morning was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay a 1 million shekel ($290,000) fine after being convicted on several counts of corruption dating back to his time as mayor of Jerusalem.
During the sentence hearing, Judge David Rozen slammed Olmert and his co-conspirators as “traitors,” insisting that “without trust there can be no upstanding public service.”
For his part, Olmert maintained his innocence until the very last minute, and his lawyers vowed to continue appealing the conviction.
Last month, Olmert became the first Israeli prime minister to ever be convicted on bribery charges. During his tenure as mayor of Jerusalem from 1993–2003, Olmert and officials under him (including his successor, former mayor Uri Lupolianski) received hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay-offs and bribes in exchange for facilitating and promoting the “Holyland” housing development.
According to the judge’s decision, Olmert was personally provided in excess of $170,000, which he had sent to his debt-ridden brother, Yossi.
Polls have revealed that most Israelis are aware of the wide-spread corruption in their municipalities and national government, but believed there was little to be done about it. Israel’s Movement for Quality Government said it hoped the Olmert conviction would be a turning point for the nation and the beginning of a reversal of the phenomenon.