Ehud Olmert, in court before sentencing
Ehud Olmert, in court before sentencing Flash90

Politicians convicted of offenses involving “moral turpitude” will be banned from holding office for 14 years, if a law approved Sunday by the Ministerial Law Committee is passed by the Knesset. The law would apply to a Knesset member, minister, deputy minister, or prime minister.

The law was proposed by MK Moshe Mizrahi (Labor). The law will include a “grandfather clause”, so it will not apply to any politician currently on trial, serving a sentence, or in a one year “cooling off” period after being released from prison.

The law doubles the current seven year period MKs convicted of such crimes must wait before running for office again. A “moral turpitude” offiense is generally defined as one that involves a “crime of shame” - sexual misconduct, severe financial crimes, etc. However, the assignment of moral turpitude to crimes has generally been subjective, depending on the court or judge presiding over a case.

In the 2012 Investment Center case against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, for example, the court found there was no moral turpitude involved, after he was found guilty of having a conflict of interest when he gave preferential treatment to companies run by a former business partner. However, Olmert's conviction last May in the Holyland case was one involving moral turpitude, the Tel Aviv District Court decided.