Ehud Olmert punished by Israel Prison Service for possessing classified information


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Prison Service has punished former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for having classified documents in his possession in jail.

Olmert has lost telephone privileges and a planned furlough, the Israeli media reported over the weekend.

The first Israeli prime minister to serve time in prison and be sentenced to jail, Olmert reportedly transferred the materials to his attorney during a visit on Thursday. He reportedly is writing a book of his memoirs while in prison.

It is not known if the material was classified documents that Olmert had kept at home or material he had written and did not submit to censors as required, according to reports.

“Olmert does not need any authorization regarding his ties to Israel’s national security. He never leaked, either during his term or since, anything sensitive to security or intelligence matters that could have harmed the State of Israel,” the former prime minister’s lawyer said in a statement published on Ynet.

“During his prison sentence, Olmert wrote an autobiographical book about his life and his actions concerning social, economic and defense issues. This book was transferred in its entirety to (the Military) Censor over two months ago and no one, especially Mr. Olmert, has any intention to publish it without their approval.”

In March, President Reuven Rivlin rejected a pardon request for Olmert, who is scheduled to have a hearing before a parole board in June. The board could reduce his sentence by one-third.

Olmert resigned his post in September 2008 after police investigators recommended that he be indicted in multiple corruption scandals.

Olmert is serving a prison sentence for receiving bribes in the Holyland affair in what has been called the largest corruption scandal in Israel. Holyland involved the payment of bribes to government officials by the developers of a luxury high-rise apartment complex in Jerusalem.

Olmert also was sentenced to prison after being convicted for accepting cash-filled envelopes from an American-Jewish businessman, Morris Talansky, and using it for personal and not political expenses.

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