Former prime minister Ehud Olmert and seven other public figures convicted in the Holyland case — Hillel Cherney, Avigdor Kelner, Meir Rabin, Uri Shitrit, Eliezer Simhayoff, Danny Dankner, and Uri Lupolianski — will not begin their prison sentences on September 1 as planned.
The eight, all of whom plan to appeal their convictions or have already begun to do so, will remain out of prison as the Supreme Court continues to deliberate their requests to postpone their sentences, as per a ruling issued Tuesday by Supreme Court President Justice Asher Grunis.
“The sentences will be delayed for the time being, until a ruling is made concerning the requests for postponement following the sitting that is planned to be held this September,” Grunis wrote.
Olmert was sentenced on May 13, 2014 to six years in prison, a two-year suspended term, and a fine of NIS 1 million ($289,000) for his involvement in the Holyland graft scandal.
Police and prosecutors have been pursuing additional charges that accuse him of attempting to interfere in the state’s case against him by tampering with witnesses. The state prosecutor, based on evidence provided by his former aide, Shula Zaken, has also reopened investigations into the Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs, two cases in which Olmert was cleared two years ago.
Seven other businessmen, developers and Jerusalem municipal officials were also sentenced in the Holyland case. The project’s developer, Cherney, was given 3.5 years in prison and a NIS 1 million fine. Kelner, a businessman who was convicted of making hefty payments to promote the Holyland project, was sentenced to three years in prison and a similar fine. Real estate developer Rabin, who was convicted of mediating the bribery in the affair, was sentenced to five years in prison. Former Jerusalem municipal engineer Shitrit, meanwhile, was sentenced to seven years in prison for taking bribes. Former Jerusalem deputy mayor Simhayoff was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail, and ex-Bank Hapoalim chairman Dankner was handed a three-year prison sentence.
In June, former Jerusalem mayor Lupolianski was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment and fined half a million shekels ($145,000) for accepting bribes in the affair. Zaken, meanwhile, began serving her 11-month sentence at the Neve Tizra Women’s Prison earlier this month.
The Holyland affair is regarded as one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history. At the center of the case was the Holyland housing development, a hulking hilltop project that Jerusalem residents long suspected was tainted by corruption.