After the state attorney’s office appealed against the light sentence handed to the man, the high court today ‘increased’ the sentence of Yoram Karshi, one of the three main characters in the bribery scandal at the Israeli tax authority and replaced the original sentence of seven months in jail with a whole year. A whole year! God, you have destroyed the man’s life. In the United States, for economic corruption of the kind Karshi was involved in, he would have been given 20 years in jail without any particular effort on the side of the prosecution. According to the judges, they would have liked to increase Karshi’s sentence even further (oh, the aching heart…) but could not do that in view of the light sentences given to the others convicted as part of their vile plea bargains, which replaced in recent years all concept of proper trial in Israel’s judiciary system. The only one convicted apart from Karshi who is now in jail is Jacky Matza, who was also sentenced to one year. All the others involved were sentenced to service work and to conditional sentences. Sentences so deterring in their severity that it is likely we will never again see political and economic corruption in Israel.
The high court judge Eliezer Rivlin, one of the three judges that handled the attorney’s plea against Karshi, talked a lot about the severity of the criminal offences committed and the importance of the fight for clean government. I will leave it to you to read the full blurb in the media. His words of course contradict entirely the words of a senior figure in the attorney’s office who was quoted a few months ago in the media as saying that in the tax authority affair, the attorney’s office bowed to a “nearly violent” pressure from the court to sign plea bargains with the defendants.
I will not be surprised if when the time comes to sentence those accused in the Hollyland affair and other affairs linked to their names, the ridiculous sentences handed to those convicted in the tax authority affair will serve as a precedent with which the illustrious judges will line up. It all remains in the family after all. (To those not too familiar with Israeli corruption – Yoram Karshi is the brother of Shula Zaken, Ehud Olmert’s PA and co-accused).