March 24: Katsav’s punishment

The long awaited sentencing of Moshe Katsav has finally been rendered. One has to analyze certain factors that may not have been taken into account by the judges.

Katsav’s punishment
Sir, – Regarding “Katsav sentenced to 7 years in prison for rape, sexual harassment” (March 23), our former president was convicted of raping “Aleph.”
Eight other women stated that he had sexually harassed them.
He was a serial sex offender and lied repeatedly to the world. He would daven and rape. He preyed upon women.
He was elected president, defeating Shimon Peres, although Katsav’s reputation was already in doubt. It speaks a great deal about the integrity of the Knesset that to this day its members prefer party over country.
I would have given him 14 years.
Sir, – The long awaited sentencing of Moshe Katsav has finally been rendered. One has to analyze certain factors that may not have been taken into account by the judges: In the business and political sectors, sexual enticement often exists.
Women are hired on the basis of their appearance. If they are unattractive and overweight they are not considered, no matter how superior their skills. They come to work wearing well-fitted, revealing clothing without guidance as to how to dress. The women involved were not forced to stay at work, were they? They were not sex slaves. And Katsav became a victim of blackmail, which never became a point of focus.
“Aleph” has been awarded a hefty sum, which worked out well, and no doubt she is pleased.
Leaders throughout history have exhibited a lack of morals but were not sentenced to a prison term. It is my opinion that the legal system here has not lived up to its best, including the judges.
I think Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres should grant Katsav clemency, and the judges should be reprimanded for handing down a grossly miscarried decision.
Sir, – Though I was not one of his biggest fans, I was impressed by a radio interview with the late MK and former journalist Tommy Lapid in the early days of the Katsav affair. When asked his opinion, Lapid’s reply went something like this: “Make a deal. The Israeli people neither need nor want to see their president sitting in jail.”
Perhaps there are exceptions, and there are those who have delighted in the former president’s downfall and the ensuing media circus. I am not among them. Questions remain in my mind regarding the case, but apparently the old adage “where there is smoke there is fire” applies to Katsav.
That said, I believe he erred by not heeding the advice of Tommy Lapid. It could have spared his wife and family some measure of agony and prevented the rest of us from witnessing not only the public disgrace of a former president of Israel, but his incarceration to boot.
Sha’are Tikva
Sir, – He doesn’t get it. Even now, after the sentencing and with a prison term looming ahead, Moshe Katsav simply does not get it.
He thinks that what he did was perfectly normal – after all, he had been doing it and getting away with it for so many years that he got used to it. He got used to the idea that all the women working for him were his prey, were his “right to have.”
No one complained publicly for so many years that he thought it was standard behavior and continued all the way into the presidential mansion.
For Katsav it was a natural way of life, so what does have to apologize for? He possibly thought that all these naïve young girls really fancied him and were happy to acquiesce to his revolting demands.
He will spend the next few years in prison and protest his innocence the whole time. He will never get it, so we should stop expecting apologies. He will never understand that what he did was wrong, and we will never understand how such a disgusting person got to be our eighth president.
Sir, – Kudos on your March 23 editorial, “Covering Moshe Katsav.”
As the writer states, too much has been made of the attitude of the press in this case. Those who remember Katsav’s tirade against the media a couple of years ago – on TV, yet! – will remember that he was almost foaming at the mouth. For him to complain about his treatment by the press is really chutzpa! This man seems to be a real piece. He tried as hard as he could to shut up all the women who complained about him, and then turned on the press when he found the women wouldn’t budge.
In my opinion, this man needs to be shut away for a long while.
Seven years seems about right. I sincerely hope the Supreme Court won’t cut the sentence.
Sir, – Now that the former president has been sentenced, let the shame game begin. There is plenty to go around.
Shame on Moshe Katsav for disgracing himself, his office and his country.
Shame on Menachem Mazuz, whose conduct as attorney-general in publicly judging a defendant before indicting him and constantly leaking tidbits to the press, makes a mockery of the words “fairness,” “justice” and “ethics.”
Shame on a system that took as long as it did to do justice for the victims while slowly roasting the defendant.
Shame on the media, whose bloodlust was akin to a feeding frenzy, devouring every salacious detail thrown toward it and acting without the slightest restraint or circumspection – which a case of this nature not only deserved but demanded.
Sadly, your editorial suggesting that “prominently documenting the case... performed a necessary service” shows that the media remain as unrepentant of their actions as the former president is of his.
Givat Olga
Sir, – We all know the world is topsy-turvy. Katsav: 7 years; Demjanjuk: 6 years (“Prosecutors call for 6 years imprisonment for Demjanjuk,” March 23).
Sir, – Our “apartheid” critics who claim that Israel treats its Arabs unfairly should consider the fact that Israel’s former No. 1 citizen, Moshe Katsav, was found guilty and sentenced by a panel of judges led by George Karra – an Arab.
You can keep her
Sir, – I feel comfortable speaking for the majority of Americans – Sarah Palin does not represent us in any way (“Palin promises to come back for a week, March 22). She is merely a half-term governor who has become a disliked celebrity. Her approval ratings are hideous, as are her views.
Las Vegas
Clothing makes the....
Sir, – Ron Arazi writes somewhat poignantly about his playful and joyful reception when dressed in a gorilla suit on Purim (“Why not every day?,” Letters, March 22). Indeed, the old saying that “fine feathers make fine birds” would be applicable.
But we ought to remember the first occasion on which mankind wore clothes in the Garden of Eden, and the true significance of the Hebrew word for an item of clothing – beged – and the root’s other meaning, as in dissembler or even betrayer, since we choose our clothes to represent that which we wish to portray to the outside world.
Write it 1,000 times
Sir, – Please note my emphatic protest at your misuse of the English language. Your March 22 front page headline should read “Syrian security forces lie low.”
The writer is a former head of the English as a Foreign Language Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem