Witness: Aleph was attracted to Ramon

Court hears three final defense testimonies in sexual harassment case.

haim ramon thinks 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
haim ramon thinks 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The former woman soldier who complained that Haim Ramon had kissed her forcibly and inserted his tongue into her mouth repeatedly told a friend around the time of the incident that she was "mad" about him and that he was "gorgeous," a witness testified on Monday, during what could be the final hearing in Ramon's trial. All together, three women who were in the cafeteria of the Prime Minister's Office when the soldier allegedly made the statements testified during the hearing. One of them, Rivka Faluch, who is the prime minister's adviser on religious affairs, said the woman also made movements "which I am embarrassed to repeat in the courtroom." Faluch and the other two witnesses testified that the cafeteria incident occurred in the summer, which would put it close to the time when Ramon kissed the soldier, on July 12, prior to a cabinet consultation leading to the decision to strike at Hizbullah. All three women said the soldier was smoking a cigarette and sitting on the lap of Dafna Azran, an assistant to the woman who runs the cafeteria, Dalia Ezra, when she made the comment. Ezra was also in the cafeteria at the time, and Faluch had gone in to make herself a cup of coffee. According to Ezra, the soldier said, "Haim Ramon is gorgeous." When Ezra looked at her, she added, "He really gets to me." Ezra said she was sure that the soldier was saying she was ready at any minute to go to bed with him, that it wouldn't bother her at all. In her testimony, Faluch added that it was commonplace for ministers to kiss employees. "I'm telling you," she said to Ramon's attorney, "that in this office it is not in the least exceptional, and I was amazed at how they are making such a big thing out of this [the kissing incident involving Ramon and the soldier.] Whenever they come to the office they kiss and shake hands; it is part of the world we live in." Faluch added that even though this kind of conduct was routine in the Prime Minister's Office, "the soldier's conduct and her repeated statement" went beyond the norm. Faluch organized the testimony of the other two women. After learning that the hearings in the trial were over, she contacted Ramon and told him what the soldier had said. She then called Azran and persuaded her to testify as well. Azran called Ezra. The court agreed to hear the testimony on the day it had originally scheduled to hand down its verdict on the charge against Ramon. At the end of Monday's hearing, the court gave the prosecution time to decide whether it wanted to bring witnesses to refute the women's testimony. If it does, the hearing will be held on January 9. Otherwise, the court is due to hand down its verdict on that day.