Olmert flies to US for medical reasons as court postpones Rishon Tours hearing

Former PM's medical condition reportedly deteriorated.

olmert worried 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
olmert worried 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert is due to fly Monday to the US for medical consultations regarding his prostate cancer, after High Court Justice Miriam Na'or ordered a hearing for his lawyers on the Rishon Tours allegations, scheduled for April 19, to be deferred until at least May 10. On Sunday, Yediot Aharonot published a front-page story declaring that Olmert's condition had deteriorated since his original diagnosis was announced on October 27, 2007. At that time, one of his doctors, Yaacov Ramon, said Olmert had a "limited growth" that posed no short-term threat. Olmert himself said the malignant growth was "microscopic" in size and did not require immediate radiation or chemotherapy. Aside from what was described as a minor procedure at the time, Olmert did not take off time from his duties as premier to take any other steps regarding the growth. A source close to the former prime minister said he believed the reports of a deterioration in Olmert's condition were exaggerated. What appears to be the case, th source said, is that the prime minister was concerned there could be a sudden spread of the growth that would endanger his life. He indicated that now that Olmert no longer has state responsibilities and has time to look after his medical condition, he intends to consult with doctors in the US to determine what action he should take to avoid a sudden outburst of the growth. Last week, Olmert petitioned the High Court of Justice, asking it to postpone a hearing scheduled to take place between his lawyers and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on April 19 regarding the Rishon Tours affair. One of the arguments that the lawyers, headed by attorney Eli Zohar, raised in asking for the postponement, was the fact that Olmert was due to fly to the US six days prior to the hearing for medical treatment, The lawyers also asked for an interim injunction to postpone the hearing until the court ruled on the petition. In his response to the petition, Mazuz, who refused to grant the postponement at the request of Olmert's lawyers, told the court he had already agreed to several postponements at the lawyers' request and that he had given the lawyers five months to prepare for the hearing. Mazuz also argued that the hearing involves only Olmert's lawyers and the attorney-general and that Olmert was not meant to attend it even if he were in Israel. Nevertheless, Na'or decided to partially grant the request for an interim injunction, ruling that the hearing would not be held until at least May 10. Earlier, Justice Salim Joubran ordered the state to reply to the main body of the petition by the end of April.