For the first time in Israel’s history a former prime minister will be going to jail.
Ehud Olmert, who also long served as mayor of Jerusalem, will begin his 18-month sentence on February 15.
Israel’s Supreme Court did partially accept Olmert’s appeal of his May 2014 conviction by reducing his sentence from six years.
Olmert and six others, including another former Jerusalem mayor, Uri Lupolianski, were convicted of accepting bribes in connection to the Holyland apartment development in the Israeli capital.
Israeli media also highlighted the fact that a Jewish prime minister had been sent to jail by an Arab Christian judge, as it was Justice Salim Joubran who read out the sentence, once again challenging the notion of Israel as an “apartheid” state.
For his part, Olmert maintained his innocence, and expressed satisfaction that the primary bribery charge against him had been dropped, thus leading to his reduced sentence.
Corruption in Israel has become a national plague, especially among the upper echelons of government. On the other hand, this phenomenon has firmly demonstrated that Israel’s legal system makes no exceptions, not even for a prime minister.