November 16: Readers continue to weigh in on Katsav

As they say, if you are not prepared to do the time, don’t commit the crime.

Letters 150 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 150
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Readers continue to weigh in on a disgraced ex-president.
Sir, – If, as Naomi Granot, a member of the prosecution team in the trial of former president Moshe Katsav, said, “The Supreme Court showed today that all citizens are equal under the law” (“Katsav to serve 7 years for rape conviction,” November 11), why is Katsav being allowed four weeks before having to start his sentence?
Would any other criminal – and that, unfortunately, is what Katsav is – be allowed four weeks before he has to present himself?
The fact that he might have affairs to put in order is completely irrelevant, as he had plenty of time to do this during the appeal. It would therefore seem that in his arrogance he failed to consider a guilty verdict.
As they say, if you are not prepared to do the time, don’t commit the crime.
Sir, – People on radio call-in shows are going on and on, as if there was a guilty verdict for Moshe Katsav merely in order for there to be a victory for women. We must be careful – otherwise, one might begin to think that the only reason for a guilty verdict was so women would feel freer about prosecuting attackers for rape.
Would this have happened 20 years ago? That is the victory, no matter what the outcome.
Sir, – Regarding the bust of expresident Moshe Katsav at the President’s Residence (“Kadima MK calls for Peres to remove Katsav sculpture,” November 14; “No pardon for Katsav,” Editorial, November 14), I believe Katsav should be acknowledged as a former president. However, now that he is a convicted felon and certainly does not share the same status as other ex-presidents (or many non-presidential citizens, for that matter), I think a plaque with his name should replace the bust.
Sir, – MK Orit Zuaretz’s Kadima buddies should explain to her that modern governments do not “eliminate” people whose legacies they believe should be obliterated. Moshe Katsav was our president and his likeness belongs among all the others on display at the presidential residence.
Since Zuaretz claims it would “harm the house and the feelings of both male and female visitors,” I wonder what she thinks of former US president Bill Clinton’s current standing in America. Clinton went on with his career, earning thousands for each public appearance, and often mentions the lessons he learned. It is to be hoped that Katsav will do likewise upon his release.
Sir, – Moshe Katsav served as president of the State of Israel for seven years. He committed crimes and is being duly punished.
Removing his bust, as you believe should be done, would smack of rewriting a historic record, stained as it may be – something like the changes made in history books under regimes we have no wish to resemble.
I’m sure that is not what you have in mind.
Sir, – There is no need to remove the bust. After all, Moshe Katsav did serve the state as president. Why shouldn’t it remain for the birds to perch on?
J. FISCHER Michmoret
Sir, – In Medusa’s Head, Sigmund Freud argued that decapitation was tantamount to castration, and he considered Medusa’s decapitation as the visualization of castration. The removal of Katsav’s bust would be a symbolic decapitation.
All this would not be happening if we had had a woman president. But it’s not us. It’s Katsav who needs the psychoanalyzing.
Sir, – I really laugh at your idea of removing the bust of former president Moshe Katsav due to his conviction on charges of rape.
I suggest we also remove the entire City of David in Jerusalem. David did a terrible thing in killing Uriah and taking Bathsheba as a wife. What a stain on Israel.
I would also suggest that we remove the Old Testament portions of the Bible in the museum of the Scroll of the Book. There we will find countless stains on our history – and God forbid we have stains as a holy nation!
What about Lot being intoxicated by our spotless Jewish ancestors – you know the rest of that story, I hope. How about the one where Temple prostitutes had sex with the men who came to seek God?
If we take Katsav’s head from the garden, we must take away all the other stains as well. Yet the God of Israel is forgiving and merciful, and loves us far beyond our human weaknesses and flaws. He loves us in spite of our messiness. He calls us a treasured people above all nations. He calls us His own.
Let us allow the City of David, the Scroll of the Book to remain with all the other stained history, because this is life. It is not always spotless. Let us be the nation that tells the truth, for better or worse.
Sir, – Regarding your November 14 editorial, I’m in favor of President Shimon Peres pardoning Moshe Katsav. Here’s why.
Moshe Katsav’s judges should have focused on the testimony of his accusers. They should have been extremely skeptical, suspecting trickery, such was done to Dominique Strauss-Kahn this summer.
The judges should have demanded evidence. I didn’t see any. Without evidence, it’s unjust to put a man in jail, especially in a crime of passion. Where is the evidence that Katsav is a danger to society? Women can now easily torment their husbands and say, “No sex tonight, my dear. If you persist I’ll go to the police and you’ll get a jail sentence, like Katsav.” Police must see evidence of a crime even to open a file. Women must be warned not to cry rape unless there’s been a true rape.
I, for one, don’t believe Katsav committed rape and don’t believe he’s a danger to society. I must admit that I didn’t watch the TV reporting. Maybe if I did I might have a different opinion.
Sir, – I didn’t realize that Moshe Katsav had asked for a pardon. What chutzpah! He has proven himself to be a dirty old man and, as such, should take his punishment as handed out.
Surely he doesn’t believe that Shimon Peres would pardon him? Peres would have to be nuts to even think about it! Katsav has made his bed. Now let him lie in it. Let’s have an end to this nonsense.
Sir, – While I agree wholeheartedly with Adele Margulies (“Shame on victim blamer,” Letters, November 15) – that “[p]articularly in the halls of government men who have achieved lofty status should strive to demonstrate to the world the high moral character of our tradition, which precludes lying, embezzling, and sexually debasing women” – I get the feeling that this is not applied uniformly.
When then-president Ezer Weizman was discovered to have involved himself in questionable financial transactions, he was allowed to bow out without prosecution. Similarly, Yitzhak Rabin, during his first term as prime minister, was not hounded out of public life for holding an illegal foreign bank account.
(Even if it was in his wife’s name, this is hardly a defense.) What these two had in common, and in which they differed from Moshe Katsav, is that they came from the secular Ashkenazi sector of the population. What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander so that justice is seen to be impartial and not biased in favor of those with the right (or, perhaps better, Left) connections.