JERUSALEM (JTA) — Shlomo Benizri, a former Israeli Cabinet minister released from prison, compared his time served to that of former captive soldier Gilad Shalit.
Benizri, of the haredi Orthodox Shas Party, was released from prison on March 1, one month before he was set to be paroled, as part of an early release for 600 prisoners, including 220 Palestinian prisoners, due to overcrowding. He had shared a cell with former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, who is serving a seven-year sentence for rape.
Benizri was jailed 2 1/2 years ago after being convicted of accepting bribes and obstruction of justice. He maintains his innocence and insists he was framed.
During his time in prison, Benizri said he thought about Shalit and compared his captivity to the young soldier’s.
"I understood his pain, I understood how he felt and his frustration, and I understood the pain, only that I think mine is greater” because while Shalit was being held by an enemy, Benizri said he was betrayed by friends.