The term "pardon" refers to an act "by the president of the state" of either reducing or waiving the jail sentence about to begin or the balance of a sentence already being served by a person convicted in court of a criminal act.
Furthermore, a person who has been sentenced to no more than a six-month jail term may apply to a prison official to be allowed to serve the sentence via public service rather than in prison.
The prison official is not obliged to grant the request. He must judge it on its individual merits, taking into consideration, for example, the threat the applicant poses to society if he is not behind bars.
Former MK Naomi Blumenthal was sentenced by Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court to eight months in jail for bribery and obstructing justice.
This was a sentence she would have had to serve out in jail, with a possible pardon for good behavior after completing two-thirds of the term.
In pardoning Blumenthal by reducing her sentence by "just" two months, President Shimon Peres automatically made her eligible for serving out the sentence in public service rather than jail. This, indeed, was the aim of the pardon.