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(photo credit: Channel 2)
Former Justice Minister Haim Ramon testified in Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Wednesday that he willingly went along with the advances of Heh, the woman who accused him of forcibly kissing her, but that she took the initiative and surprised him with her boldness.
"I didn't reject her since I played a part in the situation," said Ramon. "Even so, I never experienced flirtation so blunt and daring and it surprised me."
Ramon took the stand at his trial and had the opportunity for the first time since the allegation surfaced in July to publicly tell his side of the story.
He accused the police, and particularly Dep.-Cmdr. Miri Golan, head of the police investigating team, of deliberately targeting him from the start.
"I have never been in a police interrogation," said Ramon. "Towards the end of it, they showed me a picture [which was taken after the controversial kiss]. I won't forget this scene for the rest of my life. The picture showed her smiling. I asked them why they didn't close the file immediately. Golan, who sat across from me, said, 'Don't you see that the smile is frozen and her eyes are brimming [with tears?]' That's when I understood. If the picture didn't convince them, then they had already decided that the girl was salt-of-the-earth and I'm garbage and shit that has to be thrown into prison."
Ramon also lost his temper at another point in his testimony, when he described the kiss itself.
"I held the plaintiff with my right hand for the picture, as I hold everyone who takes a picture with me," he said. "She hugged me with both arms and put her head on my chest. My hand was in my pocket and she pushed her hand in under mine. As you can see in the picture, I'm embarrassed, but I cooperated. Many women have had their pictures taken with me and I don't remember any of them doing it that way. And it wasn't a picture that took three seconds, but 10 seconds, with her asking for a second photo."
After the photos, Ramon entered the room of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's chief of staff, Yoram Turbovich.
"The plaintiff said something to me that I didn't hear, but assumed was a continuation of the flirtation," he continued. "Then she came up to me, standing only 10 to 20 centimeters away and raised her head with an inviting expression. I lowered my face to hers and she wasn't frightened away. Then we kissed for no more than two or three seconds. She cooperated with the kiss. I didn't mean to - and didn't - put my tongue in her mouth, but my mouth may have been slightly open and my tongue may have touched her lips."
Ramon then shouted, "And for this I'm standing trial, for this sentence in her testimony that during the kiss, she suddenly realized what had happened and recoiled."
"I have no doubt that the kiss was all part of the stream of events," said Ramon. "It didn't feel out of sequence. That's how I felt. There wasn't the slightest or most minute indication that she resisted or opposed it. It was obvious that this was a stolen kiss, a continuation of the flirting, like the blink of an eye, and it didn't continue."
Later, Ramon said, "The idea that I would touch a woman if I thought she didn't want it is the most horrible thought for me."
He added that after the kiss, Heh ran after him and slipped a piece of paper into his hand with her cell phone number, the cell phone she took with her on her trip to South America.
Ramon acknowledged that during the incident with Heh, he did not behave with the decorum appropriate to his position.
"It's true, I wasn't behaving like a minister," he said. "I'm very open and informal. I play soccer with my drivers. I speak frankly and curse openly. I assume that if someone had seen me then, it would have seemed to him as though my behavior wasn't appropriate."
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