Moshe Katsav 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former justice minister Yossi Beilin continued his unexpected defense of former
president Moshe Katsav in radio interviews on Wednesday when he suggested that
there are currently ministers and Knesset members who are also guilty of
Beilin said he heard rumors about Katsav before he was elected
president, but that he also heard rumors about other politicians back then and
current ministers and MKs. He defended a recommendation he made the night after
press time on Channel 1 when he called for Katsav to be pardoned shortly after
beginning serving a sentence for the rape conviction he received
“Justice has already been done,” Beilin said. “We Israelis
don’t deserve the punishment of having a man who was president for seven years
sitting in jail. I am not in favor of him, and therefore I can recommend a
proposal that I think is the right thing. Let him enter jail, so he can
experience being a prisoner and then after that give him a
Beilin said that Katsav would have to admit his crime and
apologize to his victims as a condition for the pardon.
Sources close to
Katsav endorsed Beilin’s idea and said the fact that it came from someone far
away from Katsav ideologically gave it credence.
Deputy Negev and Galilee
Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) became the first MK to call for a pardon
“We have to consider Israel’s image and how the country is
perceived in the world,” Kara said. “Having a president in jail is collective
punishment for all Israelis. We must defend the symbols of Israel and the
president is one of them. That’s why I join Yossi Beilin in calling for a pardon
for Moshe Katsav.”
Former Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On and women’s lobby
director-general Nurit Tzur reacted to Beilin’s suggestion with
“With all due respect to Beilin’s proposal, Moshe Katsav is a
citizen who committed a crime, and specifically because of his stature, he must
set an example, receive a punishment, and serve his sentence like any other
citizen who committed a crime.”
Pardons in Israel are granted by joint
decision of the president of the state and the minister of justice.
Theoretically, it is the president who actually grants the pardon while the
justice minister issues an “upholding order,” which is essentially an expression
of agreement with the president’s decision.
However, unless both the
president’s approval and the justice minister’s agreement are forthcoming, there
will be no pardon.
A convicted criminal may submit a pardon request to
either the president or the justice minister.
Regardless of which one
receives it, the matter will be referred to the justice ministry’s Pardons
Department, which will examine the request in detail. It will look into the
prisoner’s conduct in jail and consult with parole officers or psychologists who
know the applicant and can submit professional opinions.
will submit a recommendation as to whether to accept or reject the request to
the president and the justice minister. The president may also use his own staff
to examine the prisoner.
Neither the president nor the minister is
obliged to accept the Pardons Department recommendation.
they usually do. In the vast majority of cases, the president and the minister
also agree on whether or not to pardon the applicant.