The Supreme Court on Sunday denied former Minister Shlomo Benizri's appeal to postpone the start of his jail term until after the High Holidays. The Shas minister will therefore begin his sentence on September 1, after being convicted of taking a bribe, breach of trust, conspiring to commit a crime and disruption of proceedings.
About two months ago, the Supreme Court stunned Benizri when it decided to aggravate his sentence from 18 months in prison to four years. The former minister, who harshly slammed his judges last week, asked the court to postpone the beginning of his sentence, but was denied.
"The District Court sentenced the appellant about 16 months ago, and once the sentence was petitioned, we accepted his request and delayed the start of his jail term," said Supreme Court Judges Edmond Levy, Esther Hayut and Hanan Melcer.
Therefore, the judges ruled, "the appellant was given a delay of many months in order to prepare for his arrest, and we have not found in the current request anything which justifies another delay."
When the court decided to aggravate the punishment, Judge Levy mentioned the "phenomenon of growing corruption in the Israeli society, which has not skipped the government institutions, and accepting it would be like accepting corruptibility and complete lack of trust in the public administration.
"In order to deal with this disease and deter many people, words and flattery are no longer enough and it's time to do something. I do not believe that the sentence delivered by the District Court can meet this goal."