MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) said on Thursday that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should be given community service and be forced to pay a heavy fine, but should not be sent to prison.
Ze’ev spoke to Arutz Sheva two days after Olmert was sentenced to six years in jail and two more years' suspended sentence in the Holyland trial. The former Prime Minister was convicted on March 31 on two counts of receiving bribes.
MK Ze’ev explained his argument by saying that sending a former prime minister to jail hurts Israel’s image and embarrasses its citizens.
"First a president in jail and now a prime minister? The anti-Semites will celebrate this and say that it has been proven once again that Jews are thieves,” he said.
Ze’ev had criticism for Judge David Rosen who presided over the Holyland case and who used harsh language in describing the offences in which the former premier was convicted, describing them as a “malignant disease” that “must be rooted out.”
“All that was left was for him to open a bottle of whiskey and celebrate the great victory of the indictment and the prosecution,” said Ze’ev.
"I hope that Olmert is able to prove his innocence to the Supreme Court,” he added. “I have known him for many years, I was his deputy when he was mayor of Jerusalem, he has made a significant contribution to the country and to Jerusalem. It is forbidden to send a former prime minister to jail, give him community service and a heavy fine, but you shouldn’t treat him like an ordinary person.”