livni - Emil Salman - August 3 2011
Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni, August 3, 2011. Photo by Emil Salman
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Leading Israeli legislators were unanimous in their satisfaction with the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday morning to reject former president Moshe Katsav’s appeal to overturn his rape conviction and sentencing of seven years’ imprisonment.

Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni said, “The Supreme Court determined that justice prevailed, and the doubts that they tried to cast on the victims are over and done with. From this day forward, let no person have the gall to claim that these women tried to set up the president – they are brave women that will empower all women who have been harassed and fear to speak out.”

Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich, who testified for the prosecution at the Katsav trial, said of the Supreme Court decision, “Justice has been done, it is clear. This decision is doubly important: Now Israeli citizens know that there is equality under the law, and that presidents and powerful people and simple citizens alike are all equal under the law.”

Yachimovich continued, “This is especially an empowering moral lesson for women and girls in Israel, who now know that their bodies are not valueless, and that if, heaven forbid, they are victimized by sexual predators, they will receive aid from the police, the prosecution and the courts, and justice will be served to the attacker, even if he has power and social standing.”

Yachimovich added that there are spurious bills currently being debated in the Knesset that attack the power of the Supreme Court. She emphasized that this important judgment demonstrates the need for the court’s independence and immunity.

Committee on the Status of Women Chair and Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely said, “Katsav’s conviction is a turning point for women’s control over their own bodies. The Supreme Court’s decision sends a message to all men, especially to its political representatives, that a woman’s body belongs to her and only her.”

“I hope that with the Katsav decision, we will toss into the dustbin of history the hurtful and humiliating treatment of women, in all segments of society,” added Hotovely.

New Movement-Meretz MK Zehava Gal-on said, “The rejection of Katsav’s appeal strengthens women’s dignity and independence, even in the face of people in positions of authority. The Supreme Court expressed complete faith in the women’s version of events, and once again proved its commitment against cruel exploitation and sexual attacks.”

“This isn’t only an important decision in terms of justice, to denunciate sexual predators, but also a message to brave women who accused their attackers and were slandered,” Gal-on said.

“I hope that it will encourage other women to stand up for the rights to control their own bodies, even in the face of authority figures,” added Gal-on. “I hope that in the days to come we will no longer have to see a convicted rapist walking around freely.”