(photo credit: Channel 10)
Dr. Jacky Sarov, the former director of Ichilov Hospital's emergency room, was sentenced Sunday to 15 months in jail for accepting bribes from alleged crime boss Assi Abutbul.
Judge Dorit Reich-Shapira decided to delay the prison term until April 19, but forbade the doctor from leaving the country. Sarov was also given a 15-month suspended sentence and fined NIS 15,000.
According to the conviction handed down by the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court in January, on three occasions, Sarov took sums ranging from NIS 800 to NIS 1,000 to arrange medical visits for Abutbul without appointment while the latter was under house arrest.
The court rejected Sarov's claim that he had been frightened of Abutbul and that the alleged crime boss had unilaterally and surprisingly pushed money into the doctor's pockets.
Reich-Shapira ruled Sunday that the offense included moral turpitude, and said that the relatively low sum Sarov took was irrelevant since the fact that he accepted a bribe at all harmed the reputation of hospitals and public sector workers.
"The circumstances under which the accused accepted the bribes are severe," she said. "He committed a crime against his position, and three times he abused the trust granted to him. Therefore, and in accordance with the law, moral turpitude must be attached to the offense."
She went on to clarify that Sarov's future as a practicing doctor would be determined "by the qualified bodies and in accordance with legal directives."
Sarov cried when he heard the sentence.
"I have committed a crime. I am not a righteous man, but I thought I'd get community service," he said. "I didn't expect a punishment like this. There is no correlation between the punishment and what I did. Even the prosecutor is in shock."