Holyland Trialto Begin on July 1

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert among dozens being charged in most serious graft case in Israel's history.

The Holyland corruption case trial will begin at the Tel Aviv District Court on July 1 with the state's witness' testimony, presiding judge David Rozen said on Monday. Rozen also decided that the hearings will take place four days a week, from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, top Jerusalem city officials and Israel Lands Administration officials are charged with bribery in what is seen as the most serious government-corruption case in the state's history.

Ehud Olmert -  Tomer Appelbaum - 14022012
Tomer Appelbaum

The 16 defendants include former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, Olmert's long-time former office manager Shula Zaken and several businesspeople.

Omert and Zaken did not come to Monday's hearing, as they both attended a hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, where another criminal case against them is in session.

On Monday, the defendants' attorneys asked for an extension to photocopy the huge amount of investigation material in the portfolio, stored in 170 dossiers. The trial will be held in District Court President Dvora Berliner's courtroom, due to the large number of defendants, attorneys and journalists.

Between 1999 and 2008 the Holyland Development Company and associated land developers paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to senior officials in the Jerusalem municipality, members of its Planning and Building Committee and ILA officials to advance the capital's Holyland Park luxury housing development, the indictment says.

Olmert is charged with receiving a NIS 1.5-million bribe for advancing the real estate developers' project during his term as Jerusalem mayor and later as industry, trade and employment minister, who is in charge of the ILA.