Ehud Olmert Appeals Holyland Bribery Conviction

Former Israeli prime minister was sentenced to six years in prison and fined $292,400.

Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Ehud Olmert in court, May 13, 2014.
Ehud Olmert in court, May 13, 2014.Credit: Yotam Ronen
Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday appealed his conviction in the Holyland bribery case to the Supreme Court. Olmert was convicted in March of accepting bribes from state’s witness Shmuel Dechner, now deceased, through his bureau chief Shula Zaken and on behalf of his own brother, Yossi Olmert. In May he was sentenced to six years in prison and fined 1 million shekels ($292,400). While appeals must generally be filed within 45 days, Olmert got an extension so that his new attorneys, Iris Niv Sabag and Navit Negev, could familiarize themselves with the case.

The appeal argues that Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rozen, who presided over the case, relied on the testimony of the state’s witness to convict Olmert, even though Dechner died before he could be cross-examined and Rozen had said he was unreliable. Olmert’s attorneys argued that the only testimony to the effect that Olmert had asked Dechner to give Yossi Olmert 500,000 shekels was that of Dechner himself.

Referring to Olmert’s crimes before reading out his verdict in March, Rozen said, “Olmert served as prime minister of Israel. From this lofty and honored job, the most important one there could be, he reached the position of someone convicted of crimes and offenses that are contemptible and grave beyond measure. … A public servant who takes bribes is akin to a traitor, someone who betrayed the trust placed in him, trust without which there cannot be proper public service.”

Rozen added, “It’s important to note the corrupt relationship between Ehud Olmert and Dechner, the state’s witness. The state’s witness provided significant assistance to [Olmert’s] election campaign. Olmert exploited his lofty position to advance his interests while in his job as a public servant and received enormous amounts of money. Olmert turned to the ‘treasure troves’ that were put at his disposal and exploited his position to take money from a developer who needed his help.”

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott