The Lod District court rejected former president Moshe Katsav’s request for a 24-hour prison furlough for the Passover Seder on Thursday.
In the ruling, the judge maintained that inmates cannot take two vacations within a 60-day span, and since the former president was released for 42 hours for Purim, he would not be permitted to return home for the holiday next week.
“I do not accept his request since his petition does not constitute ‘special circumstances’ and his concerns are no different from any other Jewish observant inmate,” Judge Avraham Tal wrote in the decision.
Tal said that granting him leave would “damage the principle of equality, especially with regard to other Jewish prisoners,” and insisted Katsav was aware of this law before he took his Purim vacation.
Katsav is serving a sentence for rape, sexual assault and harassment of a number of female employees while tourism minister and president.
Under Israeli law, prisoners are granted periodic breaks if they serve over a quarter of his prison sentence with no disturbances, participate in a rehabilitation workshop, and are found not to be a danger to the public.
In addition to Katsav’s Purim release, the former president was granted leave in 2012 for his son’s wedding, returned to his hometown of Kiryat Malachi for 24 hours in September 2013, and in October attended his grandson’s wedding.