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Jailed ex-PM Olmert hospitalized after complaining of chest pains

Former premier conscious and communicating, hospital says, but tests ongoing; TV report says he refused visit to prison doctor last week

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on February 10, 2016. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on February 10, 2016. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool)

Jailed former prime minister Ehud Olmert was rushed to the hospital Tuesday after suffering chest pains.

Arnon Afek of Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv said Olmert is “conscious, communicating with the doctors and undergoing medical tests.” He described his condition as “stable.”

He said he arrived in the hospital complaining of chest pains but would not elaborate further, saying examinations are still ongoing.

Olmert is serving a 27-month sentence for various corruption convictions and is currently attempting to win early release from prison.

Prison Service spokesman Assaf Librati said a doctor examined Olmert after he “didn’t feel well” Tuesday and instructed that he be taken to hospital.

According to a report by Channel 10, Olmert experienced chest pain after exercising Tuesday. It said he had asked to see his personal doctor last week but was offered the prison doctor instead, which he refused.

On Sunday, the Prisons Service parole board said it would announce next week whether it will grant an early release for Olmert, following a hearing with the one-time premier and former mayor of Jerusalem.

The announcement came days after the State Prosecutor’s Office asked police to open a criminal investigation into Olmert over his alleged divulging of sensitive information in memoirs he is writing.

It said the book Olmert is writing contains “sensitive security issues” and that his lawyer was caught leaving the prison with a chapter on “secret operations” not approved by the censor for publication.

Police searched the publishing house of the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, but not the paper itself, over the incident.

 

Olmert was one of eight former officials and businessmen convicted in March 2014 in the Holyland real estate corruption case, which has been characterized as among the largest graft cases in Israel’s history.

In September 2016, he was sentenced to an additional eight months behind bars for the so-called Talansky affair. In that case, a court upheld a 2015 conviction over his accepting envelopes full of cash from American businessman and fundraiser Morris Talansky, in exchange for political favors during his decade-long term as mayor from 1993 to 2003.

The Prisons Service refitted a wing in the Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle to house Olmert, the first former premier to serve jail time, keeping him in a separate complex shared only by carefully screened fellow convicts.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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