(photo credit: Channel 10)
Dr. Jacky Sarov, the former director of Ichilov Hospital's emergency room who was sentenced Sunday to 15 months in prison for accepting bribes from alleged crime boss Assi Abutbul, said Monday that he would appeal the sentence.
Judge Dorit Reich-Shapira agreed to delay implementing 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.
The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court in January convicted Sarov of taking sums ranging from NIS 800 to NIS 1,000, on three different occasions, to arrange examinations for Abutbul without an 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 unexpectedly pushed money into the doctor's pockets.
Reich-Shapira ruled Sunday that the offense was one of moral turpitude, and that the relatively low sums Sarov took were irrelevant since accepting a bribe at all harmed the reputation of hospitals and public sector workers.
"The circumstances under which the accused accepted the bribes are serious," she said. "He committed a crime against his position, and three times he abused the trust placed in 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 physician 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."