Remember this guy? He used to be President of the State of Israel, who resigned his position lest than a month before his term was to officially end. That’s right, he’s none other than Moshe Katsav, now private citizen Katsav, whose legal consuls appeared in court today in order for the Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz (to determine whether the former President should actually face charges for a number of sexual related crimes, including rape.
The issue centered around six petitions that had been presented in order to convince Mazuz to cancel the plea bargaining agreement made last July with Katsav in which he would formerly resign the Presidency, be given a one year suspended sentence and pay a fine of NS 50,000 to the women he has been accused of harming. Beinish upheld Maziz’s agreement with Katsav, which dropped virtually all the serious allegations against Katsav including at least two allegations of rape. These include the ones by the lady known as “A” who claims he had his way with her during the period she worked for him in the Tourism Ministry office.
Katsav had been suspended from formerly serving the last six months of his presidency, and Knesset speaker Dalia Itzick had filled in for him in this post until the new president, Shimon Peres, took office in July, 2007. Beinish was reported to have been in favor of at least two of the petitions, but in the end, a majority of the Justices voted to uphold the plea bargaining agreement. There still appears to be an air of questionability concerning the entire issue, and in the end, Katsav appears to have had more influence in having his way than the women he is accused of having indecent relationships with, who tried to get organizations like the Rape Crises Center on their side.
All this goes to show is that men still have the edge over women in Israel when it comes to sexually related crimes; especially if the perpetrator happens to be a government official. The Haim Ramon case is a good example of this kind of situation as Ramon not only got off very lightly for his advances to a female Army officer, but is even back in the government. Katsav appearing in court might have proven to be too much of an embarrassment to the government and this is part of the reason why the decision appears to have been made to shelve the issue, especially since Katsav would have bought many people to court, including members of his own family to act as character witnesses on his behalf. Requiring the former President’s alleged victims to “take the stand” might have been too much of an embarrassment as well. The moral to this story is that, in Israel anyway, it’s still a man’s world.