Facts about Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert Biography
Ehud Olmert became the prime minister of Israel in 2006, resigned under a cloud of scandal in September of 2008 and eventually went to prison in 2016 for corruption.
A longtime member of the conservative Likud party, Ehud Olmert joined Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in founding a new centrist party, Kadima, late in 2005. After Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke on 4 January 2006, Olmert became Israel’s acting prime minister. “Acting” was removed after Kadima won national elections in March of 2006 and Ehud Olmert was sworn in as PM on May 4th of that year.
Olmert had first been elected to the Knesset in 1973, at the young age of 28. His long career in government service included a decade as the mayor of Jerusalem, from 1993 through 2003. He joined Sharon’s government as deputy prime minister in 2003 and later became minister of communications and finance. Ehud Olmert’s two years as prime minister were rocky, and he was dogged by allegations of bribery and cronyism that ran back to his days as Jerusalem’s mayor. Olmert announced in July of 2008 that he would resign his post once his party had elected a new leader. He confirmed his decision in September, after Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was chosen as Kadima’s new leader.
Livni lost the February 2009 election to Benjamin Netanyahu, and on August 20, 2009 Olmert was indicted on corruption charges. After a lengthy delay and a trial, he was acquitted of the main corruption charges, but convicted of a lesser charge of breach of trust, in July of 2012. In March of 2014 Olmert was convicted of bribery; he was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay $290,000 in fines. While appealing that conviction, Olmert was convicted on a separate corruption charge and sentenced in May of 2015 to an additional 8 months in prison. In December of 2015, Israel’s Supreme Court overturned parts of the bribery conviction, but upheld other parts. His sentence was reduced from six years to 19 months in prison, and he entered Ma’asiyahu Prison to begin serving that term on February 15, 2016. He was the first Israeli prime minister ever to be imprisoned.
Ehud Olmert announced in October 2007 that he had prostate cancer. Olmert had surgery and remained in office… Ehud Olmert has degrees in psychology (1968) and law (1973) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.