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Ehud Olmert Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of Ehud Olmert, former prime minister of Israel.


Birth date: September 30, 1945

Birth place: Binyamina, British Mandate Palestine (now Israel)

Birth name: Ehud Olmert

Father: Mordechai Olmert, member of the Knesset

Mother: Bella Olmert

Marriage: Aliza Olmert, artist and playwright

Children: two sons: Ariel and Shaul, and three daughters: Dana, Michal and Shuli

Education: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, B.A., 1968 (psychology and philosophy), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, L.L.B., 1973 (law)

Military service: Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Combat Infantry Unit Officer

Religion: Jewish

Other Facts

Olmert grew up in Nahalat Jabotinsky, a village that was later incorporated into Binyamina.

Elected mayor of Jerusalem in 1993; Olmert defeated Teddy Kollek with 59% of the vote. Kollek had been mayor since 1965.

He was successfully treated for prostate cancer in 2007.


1971 – Completes military service in the IDF as a military correspondent for the journal “Bamachane.”

1973 – Becomes the youngest person ever elected to the Knesset.

1975-1978 – Practices law in a private firm.

1988-1990 – Olmert is appointed Minister without Portfolio, responsible for minority affairs, by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

1990-1992 – Minister of Health.

1993-2003 – Mayor of Jerusalem.

1998 – Resigns from the Knesset, in keeping with an amendment to the Basic Laws of Israel that forbids Knesset members from holding other public offices.

February 2003 – Is re-elected to the Knesset and named Vice Prime Minister. Olmert is also named Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor.

August 9, 2003-January 10, 2005 – Minister of Communication.

August 9-November 7, 2005 – Acting Minister of Finance, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu.

November 7, 2005 – Olmert is appointed Minister of Finance.

November 2005 – Leaves the Likud party and joins Ariel Sharon to form the new Kadima Party.

January 5, 2006 – Is named Acting Prime Minister after Sharon suffers a stroke.

March 28, 2006 – The Kadima party wins the largest number of parliamentary seats, ensuring that Olmert will be the next Prime Minister.

May 4, 2006 – Is sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of Israel.

May 26, 2006 – Addresses a joint meeting of the US Congress.

May 2008 – Israeli newspapers report that investigators have launched a probe into whether Olmert received money illegally while in office.

July 30, 2008 – Olmert announces he will resign as prime minister when Kadima elects a new chairman.

September 18, 2008 – Tzipi Livni becomes the leader of the Kadima Party.

September 21, 2008 – Resigns shortly after police recommend charges in corruption probes.

August 30, 2009 – Is indicted on charges including fraud and breach of trust in dual scandals called the Talansky affair and the Rishon Tours affair. The trial begins in September 2009.

January 5, 2012 – While on trial for fraud and breach of trust, Olmert is indicted for bribery in a separate case. The charge is related to three real estate projects, including a controversial housing development in Jerusalem called Holyland. The scandal becomes known as the Holyland affair.

July 10, 2012 – Olmert’s trial ends after almost three years. He is found guilty of breach of trust and acquitted on two corruption charges. He receives a one year suspended jail sentence and is ordered to pay a fine of 75,000 shekels (about $19,000).

March 31, 2014 – Is convicted of bribery charges in a trial related to the Holyland Affair. Olmert is sentenced to six years in prison and fined 1 million shekels ($289,000). His sentence is later reduced to 18 months by the Supreme Court.

August 6, 2014 – The Supreme Court orders a retrial in the Rishon Tours/Talansky case, as new evidence emerges, enabling prosecutors to challenge Olmert’s acquittals on corruption charges in 2012.

March 30, 2015 – Olmert is convicted of fraud and breach of trust in the retrial of the Rishon Tours/Talansky case. His total prison sentence for the Talansky/Rishon Tours case and the Holyland Affair is 27 months.

February 15, 2016 – Olmert arrives at prison.

July 2, 2017 – Olmert is released after serving 16 months, two-thirds of his original 27-month prison term.

September 3, 2020 – “Honorable Men,” a documentary about Olmert, premieres at Tel Aviv’s DocAviv documentary film festival.

May 6, 2021 – Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s family sue Olmert for defamation.

January 10, 2022 – The defamation trial between Olmert and the Netanyahu family begins.

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