Moshe Katzav
Moshe KatzavKobi Gidon/Flash 90

Former President Moshe Katzav, who is serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted in 2010 on two counts of rape and other sexual crimes, is to be given a vacation from jail to spend the Passover seder with his family in Kiryat Malakhi.

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) said that "Katzav stands within the criterion" to be released for the holiday, and therefore will be let out for a brief reprieve.

The surprising decision comes after earlier this month Katzav had a parole request rejected, leading him to be put on suicide watch given his emotional response.

Katzav had asked to cut his sentence by one third, after having served four-and-a-half years. The court threw out his request, ordering to keep him behind bars until the end of 2018.

In particular the parole board noted that Katzav has not admitted to his guilt even after being convicted, and it further pointed to his total lack of remorse in presenting himself in hearings as a victim while ignoring the harm he inflicted on the women he abused.

Aside from Katzav, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto who is in jail on a one-year sentence for bribery is also to be let out for Passover on a loophole, as he is to attend his brother's wedding at 5 p.m. on Friday meaning he will be allowed to remain at home for the seder.

IPS estimates that Pinto, head of the Shuvu Yisrael sect, intentionally planned for the wedding's timing to fall as it does in order to be let out for the holiday.

Katzav and Pinto's cases throw in sharp contrast the case of Meir Ettinger, who has been held for over eight months on an administrative arrest without trial or charges even brought against him.

Just two weeks ago IPS refused to let Ettinger out for his firstborn son's brit milah(circumcision), in a shocking breach of his rights that was given backing by the court. In the past leftist governments have let out those in administrative arrest on similar conditions for a brit.