The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court sentenced Ehud Olmert's
former bureau chief Shula Zaken to four months of community service on Wednesday for her role in the Tax Authority corruption scandal.
Last February Zaken was convicted of fraud and breach of trust in the Tax Authority affair. The court said she took advantage of her position as the head of Olmert's bureau during his tenures as finance minister and prime minister to promote her brother's business interests.
Judge Haim Li-Ran said that Zaken had "breached the public's trust" but stressed that "ultimately she is a secretary."
The judge said the courts do not treat the transgressions of "office clerks" and "senior ministers" with the same severity, adding that Zaken was a one-time offender and therefore could not receive the same sentence as "other defendants in the affair" who are repeat offenders.
State prosecutors sought jail time for Zaken, calling her actions a betrayal of the public’s trust.
After the sentencing, Zaken leveled harsh criticism at the State Prosecutor's Office, saying "if this is the face of the State of Israel
– I am ashamed.
"I thanked the judge for allowing me to celebrate my youngest son's bar-mitzvah," she told reporters outside the courtroom. I am going back to my children and family. We are people of faith. G-d willing, everything will be fine."
Her lawyer, Micha Fetman said the prosecution's demand for jail time was "disgraceful."
Former Tax Authority director Jackie Matza was convicted in 2011 of breach of trust and assisting in granting a bribe.
The primary finding of the investigation was that during his tenure as Tax Authority director, Matza involved two businessmen - Kobi Ben-Gur and Yoram Karashi - in Tax Authority appointments.
Karashi is Shula Zaken's brother.
Matza admitted that Ben-Gur and Karashi advanced his appointment as Tax Authority chief and later demanded his assistance in promoting Tax Authority employees.
Matza was sentenced to a year in prison and another year’s suspended sentence. Zaken's brother, Yoram Karashi, was sentenced to seven months in prison for his role in the affair. Ben-Gur was sentenced to community service.
Aviel Magnezi contributed to the report