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The already beleaguered public image of President Moshe Katsav took yet another hit as another female complainant, a former employee, recounted her alleged ordeal while working for the president in an interview with the Italian daily Correira De La Sera on Saturday.
The woman, who was not identified, went on to say that over a period of time Katsav repeatedly inquired into her sexual habits.
Background: More media exposure than Katsav wanted
The boy next door
"Sometimes when I would enter the office," the woman told Correira De La Sera, "he would close the door and tell me 'I dreamt about you last night.'"
The complainant, who was interviewed by an Italian reporter at a coffee house in Tel Aviv, expressed her desire to take her case to court, saying, and "I hope I succeed in going to court, because when I see him I feel nauseous. Sometimes I hear people saying 'poor guy' and I feel like hitting them."
The woman went on to explain how the president would go out of his way, even when she was no longer working directly for him, to be in contact with her.
"Every morning he would say to me, 'you're so cute; I like your dress.' He looked for me in other rooms, even when I wasn't working for him directly. He found excuses to have me bring documents to his office," she said.
"I would try to respond with 'you have assistants for this.' One time [in his office] he told me 'I want to get to know you better, you're mysterious, interesting, and you have no idea what I could do for a beautiful girl like you.'"
According to the complainant, when Katsav offered her a promotion she accepted. "I did a good job," she said. "I deserved it. I had no intention of letting his overtures ruin my career. The new job brought me a lot of power."
Following her promotion, said the woman, Katsav would try speeding up her various assignments in order to return to talking to her about her personal life. "'Don't tell anyone about our talks,' he would say over and over."
During the interview the woman recalled that the alleged harassments started as soon as she began working at his office. "During the first three months after I arrived there, the president would try talking to me on the telephone - even when my job was different and there were supposed to be no more relations between us. He would call, and if my colleague would answer, he would hang up," she said.
After leaving her post at the president's office, the woman recalled "icy treatment" from the president after requesting a letter of recommendation for a new job. "After leaving [the president's office] I got in touch with him because I needed a letter of recommendation for a job interview. He responded by saying he wasn't interested in giving it to me. When I insisted, he said that in return I had to write a letter thanking him for the time I had worked for him. I did it. His letter of recommendation was cold and disconnected, as if only to fulfill an obligation. I felt insulted; I was considered one of the better secretaries."