Katsav support demonstration, Knesset_311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Shas MKs are set to lead a discussion in the Knesset on Tuesday about allowing
former president and convicted rapist Moshe Katsav to serve the beginning of his
prison sentence under house arrest, despite the Knesset Presidency’s refusal to
address the topic and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch’s rejecting
MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) asked last week that the Knesset
Presidency authorize the topic for discussion in the Interior Affairs
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However, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin released a statement
opposing the idea the same day. In addition, Public Security Ministry officials
said that Aharonovitch would not allow for Katsav to serve his sentence under
Ze’ev pointed out that his proposal was only to keep Katsav
in his Kiryat Malachi home until the final appeal of his trial, scheduled for
January 8. He added that he felt Aharonovitch had responded negatively because
he’d misunderstood, thinking Ze’ev meant to keep the former president under
house arrest for his entire sevenyear sentence.
“If there’s a one in
1,000 chance that a former president won’t be put in prison, we should take it,”
Ze’ev told The Jerusalem Post, explaining the reason for his proposal.
Monday, before the Knesset Presidency could officially discuss the matter,
Interior Affairs Committee chairman Amnon Cohen (Shas) put the conditions of
Katsav’s imprisonment on the committee’s agenda.
refused to have the Knesset Presidency, which consists of the speaker and his
deputies, vote on authorizing the topic for the committee.
speaker said Ze’ev’s request for authorization was not procedural, but a way to
get what would appear to be public approval for his initiative.
the public security minister already announced his opposition to the idea, and
since it will be brought to a discussion in the committee tomorrow anyway, there
is no reason for the Knesset Presidency to give its opinion on the matter,”
Meanwhile, Ze’ev said he understood the Knesset
Presidency’s statement to be a matter of procedure, because the committee
“doesn’t need authorization” to discuss the issue.
At the end of the
discussion on Tuesday, the committee will vote on whether to recommend the
initiative to the Public Security Ministry.
“I think it’s possible [to
put Katsav under house arrest], because his house is surrounded by walls and the
Shin Bet protected his house in the past,” the Shas MK explained. “There
is even a security booth outside, where a prison guard can sit.”
added, “I’m not saying to set him free; we’re still taking away his freedom. I
think there is no reason not to adopt this idea for a short amount of
The MK also pointed out that Tuesday’s discussion would be a
general one on the conditions planned for Katsav in prison.
to be there for a long time – his conditions ought to be discussed,” Ze’ev said.