Dear Friends of Israel,
On December 30th, after an investigation lasting more than 4 years, Moshe Katsav, the 8th president of Israel, was found guilty of rape, sexual harassment, and obscene behavior with the use of violence. It was a day of disgrace and embarrassment for Israel, as it made headlines all over the world, particularly in the Arabic world hostile toward Israel.
The chief prosecutor, Ronit Amiel, contradicted that perspective when she explained that Katsav’s conviction is also a reason for Israel to be proud, because it shows that the justice system and democracy work in Israel. In the eyes of the law everyone is equal, and when the need arises, even heads of state must stand trial like any other citizen. She also praised the primary victim and most important witness, who, in spite of anonymous, threatening letters, stood firm throughout the entire process.
Likewise, during a press conference, State’s Attorney Moshe Lador also stated that it was a difficult day in the history of Israel. Nevertheless, the day also cast a positive light on democracy in Israel. Only a select, few nations and democracies can put their presidents on trial for rape and punish them with the full force of the law.
Of course, this case raises the question: How was it possible that such a high ranking official as the President of Israel could fall so low? First it must be noted that Katsav’s case is not a singular event. Israeli society is traditionally led by males, which explains why the Army, a predominantly male domain, plays such an important role in Israel. Obviously that does not in any way justify that women are looked upon as fair game. Unfortunately in such a society , that is frequently the way to “fit in.”
It can now happily be said that changes are coming in these attitudes. Women are no longer willing to tolerate the macho behavior of men, and they have the courage to say, “No.” Regrettably, there will always be some men who will never understand .
It is a pity that Israel achieved “distinction” in this way. However, there are signs that Israel wants to show decisively that it is no longer willing to protect the reputation of a man, because such assaults are truly becoming a plague. At first the prosecution suggested a monetary settlement. However, Katsav himself turned that offer down, and went on the offensive. That turned out to be his undoing.
It is now hoped that Israel, through the imposition of a just punishment, that doesn’t take the person’s standing into consideration, can achieve world-wide distinction as a nation whose justice system can’t be bent and whose citizens are equal in the eyes of the law, even when it concerns its head of state, for it is written in Isaiah 1:26-27: “I will restore your judges as in days of old, your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City. Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness.”
In the certainty that God will keep His promises, you are greeted with a heartfelt “Shalom” from Israel.