Former Olmert aide Zaken freed from prison after serving time for Holyland role

Olmert was convicted on two counts of bribery by Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rozen in March and sentenced to six years in prison in May.

January 26, 2015 09:45
1 minute read.
Shula Zaken



Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Shula Zaken was released by the Prisons Service on Monday following a parole board approval of her early release that cut substantial time off her sentence.

Zaken, who served as former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s bureau chief, was sentenced to 11 months in prison as part of a plea deal after she agreed to testify against him, but was in fact in jail for under seven months. She began serving her prison sentence in July.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Zaken emerged from Neveh Tirza Prison in Ramle giving her husband and son and two other family members big hugs.

She told the press, “My first words are ‘blessed is the one who frees the bound,’ thank you to God who made it possible for me to get through this experience, and I hope I endured it the right way.”

“I have a family, I have children, I have a mother who is waiting for me,” she said. “Please let me return to normal life.”

Responding curtly to questions about her experience in jail, Zaken she would discuss it “when the time is right.”

Zaken was convicted of multiple bribery charges in the Holyland real estate affair as part of the plea deal, but received a shorter sentence instead of the six years in prison she would have likely otherwise received.

In the plea deal she cut with the state, Zaken agreed to testify against Olmert and provide incriminating recordings that would assist the prosecution in its attempt to seek a retrial of the Talansky Affair, and to file a new indictment against Olmert for obstruction of justice in pushing her not to cooperate with the state.

The former bureau chief has provided prosecutors with a wide range of recorded telephone conversations with Olmert, and also took the stand against him and undercut his defenses, which had obtained him an acquittal in the original Talansky trial in July 2012.

The state prosecution recently received new evidence from Zaken to try to beat back Olmert’s appeal of his Holyland bribery conviction and six-year prison sentence in the Supreme Court.

Before turning state’s witness against Olmert, which Zaken said she did partially after Olmert’s lawyer called her “corrupt” on television, she had served Olmert faithfully in all of his political and private sector positions for over 30 years.

Related Content

Netta Barzilai performs after winning the Grand Final of Eurovision Song Contest 2018 at the Altice
August 16, 2018
Billionaire offers to help stage Eurovision in Israel