President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday granted the first pardon resulting from a special process for Israelis who are in debt because of unpaid fines and are in financial difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pardon request came from a single mother of three children, two of whom are handicapped, who suffered domestic abuse and had outstanding fines from when she was addicted to drugs and engaged in sex work. Today, the applicant is supported by disability benefits and is engaged in long-term rehabilitation.
Because of the need to deal with the implications of the coronavirus pandemic, the applicant’s expenses have grown and her debts have consequently mounted. She was under the threat of eviction from her home and forced to rely on donations. The applicant met all the requirements of the special process, and since she had made efforts to pay off her debts and made some of the payments, the president decided to cancel the remainder of her debt, totaling thousands of shekels.
Just over a week ago, President Rivlin and Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn announced a special pardon process for those in debt because of fines who are in financial difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic. The process was drafted by attorney Udit Corinaldi-Sirkis, the legal counsel to Beit HaNasi (the presidential residence), and by attorney Noch Politis, head of the pardons department at the Justice Ministry. Among other cases are individuals who are in debt because of fines imposed in the past and who are in severe financial difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic and are finding it difficult to pay their debts now.
It should be noted that this process will not consider applications for reductions in fines imposed for breaking the pandemic guidelines, parking fines, and charges and dues which are outside the president’s purview. The process applies only to those requests for reduction in fines imposed for criminal or traffic violations which have accumulated late fees, where the applicant has made efforts to pay through a payment plan.