Moshe Katsav
Moshe Katsav. Photo by Archive: Moti Kimche
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Former President Moshe Katsav's attorneys will apparently have to do without their summer vacations, as the Supreme Court Monday rejected their request to postpone the hearing of his appeal so as not to disrupt their planned holidays. The hearings will therefore take place in August as scheduled.

Judge Dana Cohen-Lekach, the court registrar, said in her decision that the attorneys' desire to vacation with their families during the court system's summer recess was trumped by two other factors: the need to hear the appeal swiftly, and the need to devote several full days to the hearing, which would be very difficult for the court to do during its regular term.

Moreover, she said, a postponement would cause problems for the other attorneys involved in the case, who have already reserved the original dates on their calendars.

Katsav was convicted of two counts of rape and other sexual offenses and sentenced to seven years in jail, but his sentence has been postponed until the appeal is heard.

"Even though the decision causes us significant personal inconvenience, the moment the court decided what it decided, we accept its decision and will adjust ourselves accordingly and show up in proper form on that date," said one of Katsav's attorneys, Zion Amir, in response to the ruling.

In the coming days, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch is due to decide on another request that Katsav's attorneys filed on Sunday: They want the panel hearing the appeal to be expanded beyond the usual three justices, in light of the legal questions the case raises.

But legal sources said they thought the real goal of this request was to "dilute" the existing panel, composed of three justices with a record of being tough on sex offenders, by adding a few more lenient justices. They also said they thought the chances that Beinisch will accede to this request are slight.