The Israeli prisoners in Sweden are unwilling to hear about a possibility of continuing to serve their sentence in an Israeli prison. The reason: Prisons in the Scandinavian country resemble a five-star hotel.
Israeli prisoners jailed worldwide usually beg authorities to extradite them to Israel in order to continue serving their sentence in their homeland. Despite their pleas, they are usually turned down.
In Sweden, however, it appears that the imprisonment conditions are so good that three Israelis jail there are not even considering leaving. Every prisoner has his own cell with a television airing the World Cup games for free; every six months, the prisoner gets to tour the streets of Stockholm accompanied by a police car; and the highlight – every prisoner has a the right to a three-day conjugal right in a three-room luxury apartment in the prison.
Israel and Sweden have signed an agreement enabling prisoners to serve the rest of their sentences in their homelands.
Jacob Shoshani, the Israeli consul-general to Stockholm, turned to the three Israelis held in the biggest Swedish prison Sodertalje, not far from the Swedish capital, and offered them to sign forms which will enable them to be transferred to an Israeli prison. He was surprised, however, when two of them avoided him and asked him to leave them alone and not bother them.
Sparkling clean cell, modern kitchen
The prisoners provided him with multiple and diverse reasons for their decision: The prison cell is sparkling clean, and over the weekend the prison does not serve food and each prisoner is allowed to order a variety of raw materials at a limited budget in order to fix himself a meal. One of the Israelis even told the consul that every Saturday he prepares great steaks for his fellow prisoners.
The kitchen is modern and sophisticated, like in a restaurant. In addition, the prisoners are offered a variety of activities such as football and basketball games.
Consul Shoshani approached one of the prison's commanders and asked why the prisoners are given such exaggerated conditions and whether this might not encourage people to commit crimes.
"I left with a feeling of a hotel, rather than a prison," Shoshani concluded in his report to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.