Katsav: Victims' Victory

Today Israel is reeling in shock from the Moshe Katsav guilty verdict.

Like everyone else, my initial reaction to this first-impact shock is transient, and is unlikely to resemble my thoughts and feelings in a week, a month or a year.

That said, here we go…

The victims were heard.

Even above the voice of Moshe Katsav, the President of Israel himself, his expensive lawyers, Establishment support and hitherto popularity.

A mere secretary, and an 18 year old national service volunteer, had the tremendous guts to accuse the most prestigious man in the country of disgusting crimes - but for which there were no other witnesses.

Her word, against His.

On this absolutely uneven playing field, these women stuck to their guns, and remarkably the legal system found their word to be true, and Him to be a liar and sex offender.

This represents a tremendous Victory for Sex Abuse Victims Everywhere.

It also is a remarkable victory for Israel’s system of Justice.

The President is the highest position of honour in the State of Israel. He is the symbol of the Establishment. The values which are the very foundations of the State. The fact he was the first sephardi president of Israel, was an additional source of pride for the Presidential institution

Nevertheless, the Justice system treated Moshe Katsav like any other alleged criminal.

I hope this will encourage the thousands of other sex-abuse victims, who have not yet had the courage to stand up and now bring formal complaints against their abusers, all of who seem 'presidential' (stronger, higher authority, more credible, etc) in the eyes of their abused victims.

In Israel, sex crime victims WILL be heard, and justice CAN be done. However powerful the offender.

Overwhelming Arrogance

One must also acknowledge the overwhelming arrogance of this sex offender.

In June 2007, Moshe Katsav was offered a plea bargain which, in retrospect, was outrageously generous to the ex-President. According to the deal, Katsav would plead guilty to several counts of sexual harassment and indecent acts and receive a suspended jail sentence, and pay compensation to two of his victims.

However, Katsav rejected the deal, and his lawyers resigned.

Katzav knew the truth, and he knew he was guilty. Nevertheless, he exhibited mind boggling arrogance in rejecting that plea bargain, insisting that he was totally innocent of the charges, and would prove that in court.

Such arrogance is not unusual amongst abusers – I have myself seen such men, guilty as sin, with overwhelming evidence against them, yet they claim self-righteousness to such a degree, they apparently believe their own lies.

So, this day, today,  is a day of both shame and pride for we Israelis.

Shame that a President of Israel is a vile sex offender – and will presumably sit in prison for many years for his despicable crimes.

And pride, that the small voice of the abused women was heard and heeded, above the awe of the President’s position - by the Israeli Justice system.


  1. why did sex predator haim ramon get off with a job promotion?

  2. Very well written, David! It is absolutely an example of "tzedek tzedek."
    While it is shameful, I am proud of our country today. Being an "Or L'Goyim" isn't always about behaving better than others (because we're not) but by aspiring to BE better, and punishing those who mistreat others, rather than sweeping these issues under the carpet.

    As for Chaim Ramon, stealing an unwanted kiss, while certainly unacceptable, is not comparable to Katsav, is it?

  3. Asher Lipner, Ph.D.31 December 2010 at 22:50

    Great article, David.

    While I am proud to be a Jew on a day that the State of Israel shows integrity and justice and compassion for the weak, I am still angry and ashamed that as an Orthodox Jew our rabbinic leadership has not.

    As a psychologist who works with Orthodox victims of sexual abuse in America and a child's avocate that works with those all over the world, I hope that our rabbis will be inspired by this tragedy/victory to stop covering up among their own ranks.

    When will they stop hiding Rabbi Gershon Kranczer and force him to come back to the States to face justice for raping his daughters? When will the Gerrer Rebbe stop protecting Mondrowitz and Lazerovits? When will Ner Yisroel stop protecting Rabbi Moshe Eiseman? When will Agudas Yisroel and Torah Umesorah stop protecting the dozens of molesters they know about but are keeping "Hush"? When will our rabbis begin to act like rabbis and not priests, R"L?

    Answer: When each and every one of us demands it. When victims of abuse are given support by families, friends and other Jews who care. When parents wake up and realize that it is their G-d given responsibilty to protect their own children, and not the community's reputation, or the rabbi's feelings.

    Today's news is a big step forward for the jewish people.

    Chazak V'ematz!

    Asher Lipner
    Executive Vice President, Jewish Board of Advocates for Children


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