A senior Population and Immigration Authority official was sentenced on Sunday to nine months of community service for accepting sex bribes from three women and breaching private information in the organization's database.
Lior Solomon was accused of having sexual relationships with six women in return for helping them to help bring their families to Israel from Ethiopia but was only convicted on three of these counts.
Solomon reportedly initiated the relationships with these women, whom the court said were in economically difficult situations and without family in the country.
The requests of the women were advanced by Solomon, who reportedly did not notify his superiors of the relationship with the women.
In an unrelated charge, Solomon was also accused of helping a friend locate his ex-spouse by entering into the Immigration Authority's databases and sending him personal information.
The prosecution argued that Solomon had taken advantage of his authority and the plight of the women, and requested a prison sentence of two years and a suspended sentence of four.
Why was the punishment for the sex bribery so light?
The Public Defender's Office said that the light sentence and the acquittal of many of the charges reflected the view of the discriminatory nature of the charges against Solomon, who is of Ethiopian heritage. It was claimed that the charges against Solomon misinterpreted the relationships.
Solomon's defense also alleged that the prosecution had a witness who was the cousin of one of their team, which was not immediately revealed to the court. Other witnesses were treated differently and in a humiliating fashion due to their Ethiopian background, the Public Defender's Office alleged.
"In light of familiarity with all the evidence and material in the case, we are convinced that Lior is innocent and acted with complete loyalty in his sensitive work," said the Public Defender's Office.