Olmert’s career: Four decades of highlights and lowlights
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Olmert’s career: Four decades of highlights and lowlights

An MK at 28; prime minister 33 years later; and now the first PM in Israel’s history to go to jail

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert speaks to the press at the Supreme Court on December 29, 2015. The court reduced Olmert's sentence to 18 months, following a conviction on corruption charges in the Holyland affair. (Noam Moskowitz/Pool)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert speaks to the press at the Supreme Court on December 29, 2015. The court reduced Olmert's sentence to 18 months, following a conviction on corruption charges in the Holyland affair. (Noam Moskowitz/Pool)

Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday reduced former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s sentence in a bribery case dating back to years before he became the premier, sending him to prison for 18 months instead of six years.

Olmert, 70, who is to start serving his sentence in February 2016, will become the first Israeli head of government to be imprisoned.

Here’s a look at Olmert’s four-decade political career:

1973 — Olmert, 28, follows in his father’s footsteps and is elected to parliament as member of the nationalist Likud party.

1988 — Olmert joins the cabinet of hawkish prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.

1993 — Olmert is elected mayor of Jerusalem, beating legendary longtime mayor Teddy Kollek.

Former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek shaking hands with then-mayor Ehud Olmert. 1996. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
Former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek shaking hands with then-mayor Ehud Olmert. 1996. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

1996 — Olmert supervises completion of an archaeological tunnel near a sensitive Jerusalem holy site, triggering deadly Palestinian riots.

2003 — Olmert serves as vice premier in prime minister Ariel Sharon’s Cabinet.

December 2003 — Olmert gives interview that runs counter to Likud ideology saying he believes Israel must pull out of much of the land it captured from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 Six Day War, which Palestinians want for a state. It set the stage for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank in 2005.

Prime minister Ariel Sharon sits beside Ehud Olmert at a cabinet meeting in the Prime Minister's office, September 26, 2004 (Sharon Perry/Flash 90)
Prime minister Ariel Sharon sits beside Ehud Olmert at a cabinet meeting in the Prime Minister’s office, September 26, 2004 (Sharon Perry/Flash 90)

November 2005 — Olmert breaks away from Likud to form centrist Kadima party along with Sharon.

January 2006 — Olmert becomes acting prime minister after Sharon suffers stroke.

March 2006 — Olmert leads Kadima to victory in parliamentary elections on a platform of pushing further peace moves with the Palestinians.

July 2006 — Olmert leads Israel in unpopular monthlong war in Lebanon after Hezbollah guerrillas capture two Israeli soldiers in cross-border raid.

2007 — Olmert relaunches US-backed peace talks with the Palestinians in Annapolis, Maryland. Olmert claims to make great progress, though more than a year of talks ended without a deal.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) speaking with his chief negotiator, former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Queria, in a round table meeting in Annapolis in November 2007 with US president George Bush and US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and the Israeli side led by prime minister Ehud Olmert (2,R), foreign minister Tzipi Livni and defense minister Ehud Barak. At right is Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad. (Photo credit: Avi Ohayon, GPO/Flash90)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) speaking with his chief negotiator, former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Queria, in a round table meeting in Annapolis in November 2007 with US president George Bush and US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and the Israeli side led by prime minister Ehud Olmert (2,R), foreign minister Tzipi Livni and defense minister Ehud Barak. At right is Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad. (Photo credit: Avi Ohayon, GPO/Flash90)

September 2007 — A nuclear facility in Syria is destroyed in an airstrike that Israel is widely suspected of carrying out.

September 2008 — Olmert announces resignation to face corruption allegations.

December 2008 — Olmert leads three-week military offensive against Hamas in Gaza in response to rocket attacks on Israel. The campaign draws international criticism because of its heavy civilian death toll.

March 2009 — Olmert leaves office after Benjamin Netanyahu becomes prime minister.

2012 — Olmert is acquitted of most serious allegations in corruption trial, raising hopes for a political comeback.

Back to it? Former PM Ehud Olmert was investigated Monday by prosecutors on new charges. In this photo from March 31, 2014, Olmert is in the courtroom where he was found guilty of accepting bribes (photo credit: Ido Erez/POOL/FLASH90)
Former PM Ehud Olmert in court March 31, 2014, where he was found guilty of accepting bribes (Ido Erez/POOL/FLASH90)

March 2014 — Court convicts Olmert in a separate bribery trial.

May 2014 — Olmert sentenced to six years in jail in bribery case. Olmert vows appeal but is ordered to report to prison on Sept. 1.

September 2014 — Supreme Court rules Olmert can stay out of prison until verdict in the bribery case appeal.

March 2015 — Court finds Olmert guilty on charges of fraud, breach of trust and unlawfully accepting money in a case involving allegations he accepted cash-stuffed envelopes from an American supporter.

May 2015 — Court sentences Olmert to eight months in prison. His lawyers say they will appeal.

December 2015 — Supreme Court reduces Olmert’s bribery case sentence to 18 months, clearing him of the main bribery charge against him. The court orders Olmert to begin his sentence on February 15.

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on December 29, 2015 (Gil Yohanan/POOL)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on December 29, 2015 (Gil Yohanan/POOL)
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