Mordechai: Vengeful politician trying to bring down Katsav

President Moshe Katsav was bolstered by an unsurprising ally this week - an ally he may not want - when former defense minister Yitzhak Mordechai alleged that a politician who wanted to prevent Katsav from running for prime minister was responsible for recent sexual harassment accusations made against the head of state. Katsav had recently given indications that he intended to return to politics and seek the leadership of the Likud Party after his term ends July 2007. The current scandal has apparently ended his political career before he had a chance to restart it. Mordechai himself fell from the pinnacle of Israeli politics due to sexual harassment charges that surfaced after he ran unsuccessfully for prime minister. He was acquitted of charges that he had harassed two women but was convicted of harassing a woman who came forward only after the original charges hit the press. He was sentenced to an 18-month suspended jail term in April 2001. In an interview with Channel 2's Ilana Dayan two weeks ago, Mordechai denied all the allegations that were made against him, said the court that convicted him had made "a very big mistake" and that he had been the victim of a political conspiracy. A mutual friend of Katsav and Mordechai met with Mordechai on Monday and described his mood as "stormy." He said Mordechai predicted that "another woman or two" would come forward and accuse Katsav of harassing them, as happened to him. As Mordechai predicted, the lead story in Ma'ariv on Tuesday and in Ha'aretz a day later were about other women who had worked with Katsav accusing him of harassment. Mordechai told The Jerusalem Post that he was not interested in commenting on the Katsav case to the press.