(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert left Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle Monday for the first time since he started serving his 19-month sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice in February.
Olmert first visited the offices of Taavura, Israel’s largest road haulage and logistics company, which appointed him chairman in 2008 when he resigned as prime minister.
A party was held for him there, organized by Olmert’s friend tycoon Avraham Livneh, and attended by friends, including former IDF deputy chief of staff Moshe Kaplinsky.
Olmert then went to the Tel Aviv home of his son Ariel, where he met his new 10-day-old granddaughter, who is his 12th grandchild.
The rest of Olmert’s family came to Ariel’s home to spend the day with the former prime minister and eat a meal that was prepared in his honor.
According to the provisions of his 48-hour prison furlough, the former prime minister was required to spend the night at his home in the Jerusalem suburb of Mozza Illit. During his time out of prison, Olmert’s Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) protection that he receives as a former prime minister returned.
Olmert greeted friends, including his former colleagues in politics, at his home on Tuesday ahead of his return to prison on Wednesday morning.
“What he is going through is horrible, but he is a strong man and he will overcome this,” said one MK who spoke to him Tuesday.
The MK revealed that Olmert said his next furlough will be in three weeks.
More than three dozen of Olmert’s friends have visited him in prison, exploiting regulations that permit any member of the Israel Bar Association to declare himself Olmert’s attorney.
Like all prisoners, Olmert became eligible to request a furlough after serving a fourth of his sentence.
His request for a furlough in March to attend the funeral of former Mossad chief Meir Dagan was denied because he had not yet served that minimum.Olmert, who is an avid soccer fan, was up late the night before his furlough watching the UEFA European Championship that was won by Portugal.
“Israel permits Hamas security prisoners to watch soccer, and the former prime minister deserves nothing less,” a source close to Olmert said.