President Reuven Rivlin
President Reuven Rivlin Flash 90

President Ruby Rivlin decided today to commute the prison sentence of an 81-year-old Holocaust survivor, replacing it with public service and an increased fine.

Real estate dealer Shaul Lagziel was convicted in February 2015 of bribing then-Ramat Gan Mayor Tzvi Bar to the tune of a quarter of a million shekels. He was sentenced at the time to eleven months in prison and a 300,000 shekel fine.

In what was widely a considered a harsh sentence, Bar himself was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison for receiving bribes from Lagziel and two others. He is the same age as Lagziel.

After an appeal to the Supreme Court, Justice Noam Silberg lowered Lagziel's sentence to nine months, and wrote: "Not easily is an elderly, unwell man sent to prison, and it would seem that the issue of imprisonment and appropriate punishment in such cases must be addressed… We have no interest in the slow death of elderly inmates in prison."

In light of Lagziel's worsening health, the Israel Prison Service concluded that jail time would be liable to endanger his life. Rivlin therefore decided that his nine-month prison sentence should be commuted to six months of public service, as well as an additional fine of 250,000 shekels.

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