The Beersheba Magistrate's Court on Thursday convicted Kiryat Malachi Mayor Moti Malcha of sexual harassment against two different women, violating conflict of interest rules in involvement in construction and breach of public trust as part of a plea bargain deal.

Malachi was given a suspended sentence, community service and ordered to pay NIS 60,000 to the women who he harassed.

An unusually defensive statement by the prosecution said that it only agreed to the plea bargain deal, which some might view as lenient in light of the original indictment, after Malcha agreed to resign as mayor and that he would not compete in the next round of elections.

The prosecution also explained that head prosecutor Moshe Lador, even before the plea bargain, had specifically disqualified initial more serious potential charges against Malcha, such as rape, because of a lack of evidence.

Next, the prosecution made an obscure statement that there were many other factors behind its decision to make a deal, using wording which possibly alluded to the difficulties of getting women to testify publicly against those who have sexually harassed or otherwise harmed them.

Finally, the statement said that the deal was appropriate since the victims did not object to it and because it served the public interest of removing Malcha from office.

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