The former emergency room director of Ichilov Hospital was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Sunday for taking bribes from suspected crime boss Assi Abutbul.
In January, Dr. Jacky Sarov was convicted of taking a total of NIS 3,000 from Abutbul on several occasions.
On Sunday, Judge Dorith Reich of the Tel Aviv District court said Sarov's offenses carried moral turpitude, and that the authorities would have to decide whether he could work as a physician in the future. She also fined him NIS 15,000.
Sarov wept as the verdict was read. His friends and relatives expressed astonishment.
"I don't think anyone can possibly say the punishment was proportional or just ... it has no relation to what I did," he said after the court session. "I'm not in the right here, I committed an offense, but I never thought it would end with a prison sentence. I thought I would get community service ... I think even the prosecution is shocked."
Sarov was convicted of giving Abutbul a variety of favors, mostly ensuring he did not wait for treatment. Sarov claimed he took the money because he was afraid of Abutbul, but Reich ruled that Sarov made Abutbul expect preferential treatment, receiving money retroactively and on demand.
She also wrote that Sarov "left his duties to ensure Abutbul was treated by the best physicians ... making his failure even greater."
Sarov's attorney, Nevot Tel Tzur, said: "This is without a doubt an extraordinarily harsh sentence. Nobody, including the prosecution, expected this. We will have to study the verdict. I still believe he should be back at the hospital, not in jail. We have maintained throughout the trial that this is not a classic bribery case."
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