katsav - Ilan Assayag - March 20 2011
Former President Moshe Katsav, who was convicted of rape. Photo by Ilan Assayag
Text size

The sense of relief in the Katsav house was palpable after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling Wednesday.

Friends and relatives flocked to the Katsavs' home in Kiryat Malakhi. Katsav's brother Lior quoted the Psalms, rejoicing, "Give thanks to God, for he is good; his kindness is everlasting."

"Katsav won't go to jail, with God's help, because it's all libel," said family friend Golan Ganem, referring to Katsav's rape conviction. "You'll see. We're supporting him all the way."

Wednesday afternoon, Katsav and his wife Gila attended the brit milah (ritual circumcision ) for the grandson of Katsav's third brother. The former president was greeted with hugs and kisses by the crowd when he arrived.

Guests said Katsav appeared to be in high spirits. "We've never seen him this happy," said the mohel (circumciser ), David Ben Menahem. "There was a very good feeling. We're all praying for his success and hope he continues to smile."

"The family is surrounding him; they never leave him," said a guest, Avinoam. "In the end, justice will shine forth."

Leaving the event, Lior Katsav said the family was "very excited and happy" about the court's decision.

"There's a feeling of relief among the family," he said. "We're awaiting the outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court. We believed and continue to believe the conviction in the district court did him an injustice. We hope today was a small step toward uncovering the truth. We hope and pray the court will accept the appeal in full. This is a small step, but a significant one."