(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The massive protest planned for President Moshe Katsav's appearance in the Knesset's opening session next week was downsized Tuesday to a smaller walkout by six MKs.
Labor MKs Nadia Hilu and Yoram Marciano, Arye Eldad (NU-NRP), Ruhama Avraham (Kadima), Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) and Ya'acov Margi (Shas) have announced that if the president attends the opening plenum session, they would leave the room to protest what they term "the dishonorable president."
Traditionally, the president attends the first day of every Knesset session and is honored by MKs during his entrance and exit to the plenum. The six MKs had originally planned a larger protest, but found that their fellow lawmakers were not willing to participate in protesting the president.
"We believe more MKs will join us as the date of the opening session looms close," said a Meretz Party spokesman. A report by the Knesset Channel said 70 of the 120 MKs have said they will attend the session.
Katsav has not yet announced if he will take part in the session, but his spokeswoman said he "has the date marked in his planner."
"All the MKs who spoke out against him appearing in the first session have been silenced in the past week," said the spokeswoman. "The president has received a lot of support. The talk of a walkout may evaporate into nothing."
Meanwhile, although it seemed that an indictment against the president was looming in the future, sources close to the president said there was still at least one major stumbling block in the completion of the police investigation.
The sources cited a document submitted by the president's legal team of attorney Zion Amir and Professor David Libai which reportedly contains about 20 points that they claim poke holes in the case that could be presented by a potential prosecution.
The document focuses on casting doubt on primary complainant A.'s believability, accusing her of serving others' interests in making the claims against the president.
A.'s believability has been a battleground of allegations since the first days of the case. In fact, the case was first made public when the president approached police, telling them he believed he was being blackmailed by a former employee, A. Only after Katsav approached police did A. come forward with her side of the story. The police investigation into the blackmail allegations has been held separately but parallel to the investigation into the growing number of allegations against the president.