The Supreme Court ruled last week that the former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, is convicted of accepting bribes amounting in tens of thousands of dollars, and sentences him to 1.5 years of imprisonment. For the first time in Israeli history, a former prime minister is sent to jail.
This trial doesn’t only revolve around Olmert. It’s a trial of a political and public culture that is fit to disappear. When a former prime minister is sent to jail, for him it’s an indelible stain, but for the Israeli society it’s a defining and maturing moment. It is also a certificate of respect for the judicial system and law enforcements in Israel, who aren’t afraid to indict who used to be the most powerful person in Israel, in light of his betrayal of the public’s trust and misuse of the precious mandate given to him.
Beyond Olmert and his lawyers’ indifferent facade, it’s important to remember that this coming February, a new and kept wing will be opened in Ma’asiyahu Prison, built especially for the former PM’s needs. Furthermore, Olmert will leave the prison only to attend hearings regarding other offences he is accused of, and for police investigations regarding witness tampering and abstraction of procedures.
This is a sad day mixed with a slight hope for a better, more just future in Israel. There is a clear message for our public officials: Fulfil your duties honorably, transparently and with a sense of mission.
The public’s eyes are open – stop the corruption.