Ramon to resign as justice minister

Justice Minister Haim Ramon informed Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz over the weekend that he would submit his letter of resignation from the cabinet on Sunday and not ask the Knesset to affirm his parliamentary immunity. Ramon's decision paves the way for Mazuz to file the indictment he has already prepared, charging the outgoing minister with committing an indecent act against a female soldier who was working for a government ministry. Ramon has asked Mazuz to see to it that the trial begins immediately and that the hearings are held continuously so the procedure will end quickly. The alleged incident took place on July 12. The woman, identified as "Heh," charged that while the two were alone, Ramon used force to kiss her on the lips and insert his tongue into her mouth. Ramon's aides say the woman flirted with him and gave him her phone number after the alleged incident. Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said a temporary replacement for Ramon would be appointed on Tuesday, when his resignation takes effect. They said there were only two candidates for the position: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Construction and Housing Minister Meir Sheetrit. Interior Minister Roni Bar-On, who had been mentioned as a candidate, will not receive the post because Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided that he wanted it to go to a former justice minister. Bar-On is among the closest ministers to Olmert, but the prime minister decided the rebuilding of the North required a full-time interior minister.