A former finance minister who was convicted of stealing millions of shekels from a trade union was given an early release from prison on Wednesday morning.
Avraham Hirschson, who served in the Finance Ministry 2006-2007 as a member of the Kadima party, walked free from Hermon Prison after serving three years and five months behind bars for embezzling NIS 1.9 million ($510,000).
“I am going to thank God for bringing me out in good health, to embrace my family, and thank close friends who helped me,” Hirschson declared as he left the detention facility. “As far as anything else goes, the time and place will come when I’ll say what I want to say.”
Last month, the Israel Prison Services Parole Board decided to wipe a third off Hirschson’s more than five-year sentence. The board noted the prisoner’s good behavior in its reasons for his early release.
Police launched a fraud investigation against Hirschson in 2007, prompting his resignation. He was convicted in 2009. The former Likud party member, who left to join the Kadima party, was found guilty of embezzling millions from the National Labor Federation in Eretz-Israel, a right-wing alternative to the far-larger Histadrut labor federation. In addition to his prison sentence, Hirchson was also fined NIS 450,000 ($120,000).
In 2011, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Hirschson in which he argued that the money he received from the National Labor Federation was a wage and that he had neglected to report it because as a member of Knesset he was not entitled to receive additional wages. The court rejected the notion for being “in contradiction not only with financial realities but also with common sense.”