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Ehud Olmert

Prime Minister of Israel / Political Figure

Born: 30 September 1945
Birthplace: Binyamina, Palestine (now Israel)
Best known as:

The Israeli prime minister convicted of bribery in 2014

Ehud Olmert became prime minister of Israel in 2006, resigned under a cloud of scandal in September of 2008 and was eventually sent to prison for bribery. 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 Olmert was sworn in as PM on May 4th of that year. Olmert was first 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 20 August 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.

Extra credit:

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... In April of 2006, the Israeli cabinet declared Ariel Sharon "permanently incapacitated," moving Olmert from acting prime minister to prime minister -- although by that time, he had already been made prime minister-elect by Kadima's victory in the March elections.

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