Angling for a Comeback? Olmert Asks State to Wipe Criminal Record

Convicted of a number of crimes, former prime minister cannot yet return to the public arena unless the Justice Ministry agrees to his request

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaking in Tel Aviv, February 7, 2018.
Meged Gozani

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has petitioned the Justice Ministry to wipe his criminal record. If the ministry agrees, it would remove constraints on Olmert's return to politics. His chances are not believed to be good.

The law prohibits anyone convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude from returning to the public arena for seven years.

Olmert had been convicted in 2014 of a number of crimes, including accepting bribes and obstruction of justice. In his autobiography, "B'guf rishon," ("In the first person"), written while in prison, he claims to have bene innocent in all the cases.

In parallel, Olmert has petitioned the office of Israel's president for a pardon. The office says that once the required legal opinions are provided, the president will consider the request.

The President's Residence confirmed that the request had been received, adding that President Reuven Rivlin will consider it once the legal necessary legal opinions are submitted. 

The law grants the president the authority to issue pardons, but according to established practice, he must first receive the recommendations of the justice minister and the Justice Ministry's relevant department.

According to sources in the Justice Ministry and President's Residence, the state prosecutor's office and Rivlin are expected to oppose Olmert's request, but it is not yet clear what position Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked will take.