On June 29th the BBC News website published an article titled “Ehud Olmert, Israel’s jailed ex-PM, to be released early” on its Middle East page. That report remained in situ until July 2nd when it was replaced by a follow-up article titled “Ehud Olmert, Israel’s jailed ex-PM, is released early“.
The article tells readers that:
“Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been released from prison on parole after serving two-thirds of a 27-month sentence for fraud.”
“Earlier, the Israeli parole board said Olmert had undergone a “significant rehabilitation process” in prison and his behaviour had been largely “impeccable”.”
It does not clarify to audiences that Israeli law allows the possibility of reduction of a sentence by a third if certain conditions are met and so Olmert’s case is not exceptional. Neither are readers told of the terms of the parole.
If the appearance of two BBC reports on this topic in four days seems odd, it is worth noting that the BBC News website frequently displays a penchant for covering domestic Israeli stories involving public figures and legal or criminal issues.
Israel court extends ex-PM Ehud Olmert’s jail term by a month (10/2/16 to 11/2/16)
Sara Netanyahu: Israeli PM’s wife mistreated staff, court says (10/2/16 to 12/2/16)
Ehud Olmert jail term: Israel ex-PM begins sentence for bribery (15/2/16 to 16/2/16)
Israel’s Moshe Katsav to be freed on parole (18/12/16 to 19/12/16)
Israel’s Netanyahu denies wrongdoing ahead of investigation (30/12/16 to2/1/17)
Israeli police question PM Netanyahu in corruption probe (2/1/17 to 4/1/17)
Israel PM Netanyahu questioned again in corruption probe (5/1/17 to 8/1/17)
Israel bribery inquiry: ‘Audiotape’ adds to pressure on PM Netanyahu (8/1/17 to 9/1/17)
Netanyahus win libel case over car row in convoy story (11/6/17 to 14/6/17)
However, one story that would definitely fit into that category has not been covered at all by BBC News.
On the same day that Ehud Olmert was released, another former politician began serving a two-year prison sentence.
“Former Joint (Arab) List lawmaker Basel Ghattas on Sunday was set to begin his two-year prison sentence for smuggling contraband to Palestinian security prisoners in an Israeli jail.
In April, the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court accepted the plea bargain reached between state prosecutors and Ghattas, who was convicted of exploiting his position to sneak cellphones and notes to convicted Palestinian terrorists.
After accepting the deal, the court handed down a two-year prison term to Ghattas, as well as 18 months probation and a NIS 120,000 ($33,000) fine.
He will be incarcerated at the Gilboa Prison.
Ghattas’s conviction was found to carry moral turpitude, meaning he will be barred from serving in the Knesset for seven years after completing his sentence.”
Despite its usually lively interest in legal cases and criminal investigations involving Israeli politicians and public figures and although this story has been ongoing for over six months, the BBC News website has not found it at all newsworthy.