News / Middle East

    Former Israeli President Convicted of Rape

    Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, center, leaves a court in Tel Aviv, 30 Dec 2010
    Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, center, leaves a court in Tel Aviv, 30 Dec 2010

    Multimedia

    Audio

    A panel of Israeli judges has found former President Moshe Katsav guilty of rape and other sex crimes against several women. Mr. Katzav, who served from 2000 until 2007, faces a possible sentence of up to 16 years in prison.

    Former Israeli President Moshe Katzav had turned down a plea bargain and opted instead for a trial that he hoped would clear his name.

    On Thursday, a panel of judges in Tel Aviv said the former leader's testimony was riddled with lies and declared him guilty on two counts of raping an employee while he was a cabinet minister in the late 1990s.  The judges also convicted him of molesting or sexually harassing two other women during his time as president.

    Following the verdict, his son, Ariel Katzav, told reporters he believes his father is innocent.

    The younger Katzav called it a difficult hour for the family. He said the family will continue to be proud of their father. He called the trial immoral, and one that was based on emotions. He said the family will continue to proclaim to everyone that Moshe Katzav is "innocent".

    Israeli women's rights advocates welcomed the verdict.

    Mr. Katzav, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, left the court without making any comments.  

    The Prime Minister issued a statement calling it a sad day for the Jewish state.

    Mr. Katzav's conviction Thursday was the latest in a series of highly publicized scandals involving top Israeli officials. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who led the country at the time Katzav was President, currently faces corruption charges.

    The job of President in Israel is largely ceremonial but highly visible, and many Israelis see Mr. Katsav's conviction on sex offenses a national disgrace.

    However, Abraham Diskin, a politics professor at Hebrew University, tells VOA the fact that a sitting president was indicted and later convicted says much about the health of the Jewish state's democracy and institutions.

    "It's definitely I think a very clear sign of the power of the judicial branch in Israel. In order to have a real democracy, too many conditions are necessary and let me say that the first of all these is to be ready to stick to reality and to the truth," said Diskin.

    The head of the judges' panel that convicted Mr. Katzav is a member of Israel's Arab minority.

    The former president is due to be sentenced in January. Under Israeli law, rape carries a minimum penalty of four years in prison and a maximum of 16.

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora