Tension and despondence near the end of the Holyland trial

Surprisingly for those present in the courtroom, the case started with laughter.

By
May 14, 2014 07:53
1 minute read.
ehud olmert

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert leaves Tel Aviv District Court May 13, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

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

July 2012: Ehud Olmert and the other 12 defendants are laughing at the prosecution’s arguments and at state’s witness Shmuel Duchner’s allegations against them.

With so many defendants and double the number of defense lawyers in the room, the deafening laughter for those new to a courtroom could have sent a message that the state’s case was dead on arrival.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


They would have been surprised to see the same courtroom on Tuesday, with seven once-proud, tense and despondent defendants all being sentenced to at least three and a half years of jail time, some as many as seven years.

There was not a hint of laughter.

Judge David Rozen read the sentences in an understated tone, making little eye-contact, like a roll-call, along the order of each defendant’s court-designated number.

Before each defendant heard their sentence, you could see their whole body freeze.

Afterwards, some brushed tears from their eyes. Some, like Olmert and Meir Rabin, held their heads, avoiding eye-contact. All look profoundly serious, as if their lives were passing before them.



All were men of incredible power and privilege, used to getting their way.

None were accustomed to such an unflattering defeat and fate.

Also, the once-proud and full benches were half-empty.

Three defendants were acquitted and two are likely to get lesser sentences due to health problems.

The most noticeably missing person was Shula Zaken, whose absence was like a gaping hole in the wall.

For most of the court case, Olmert and Zaken were both present, hugging, joking and looking inseparable.

Zaken, who only in March crossed over to the prosecution’s side, is to be sentenced separately, and the prosecution will try to get her a more lenient 11-month sentence.

Her absence was as unnerving as the general despondence and may be a metaphor for how far this train has traveled, and how much things have changed now, near the end of the road.

Related Content

Riot
August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD