Supreme Court Judges on Katsav Verdict: A Deep Sadness Has Descended Upon Israel

Judges say Tel Aviv District Court's ruling last year was 'proper and prudent', adding that Katsav 'reviled, insulted, criticized and slandered' the complainants.

The Supreme Court judges said Thursday that a deep sadness has come over Israel after they ruled to uphold former President Moshe Katsav's rape conviction and seven-year prison sentence.

"A deep sadness has descended upon the State of Israel that a man who was a cabinet minister, deputy prime minister, and the president of Israel committed such crimes," the Supreme Court judges said while reading their ruling on Katsav's appeal of his rape conviction.

Beinisch- Daniel Bar-On
Daniel Bar-On

"It is extremely difficult to see someone who served as a national symbol of this country, enter prison," they said.

"After numerous misgivings, we have reached the decision that there is no reason to intervene in the ruling imposed on the appellant since we are convinced the sentence was decided upon in a proper and prudent manner," the judges said.

"The appellant reviled the complainants, insulted them, harshly criticized them, and started a slanderous campaign against them in television studios," they continued.

"We are saddened that not only did the appellant commit the acts attributed to him, but he also chose to continue to humiliate the complainants, disregard their feelings and harm their honor."

The determination that Katsav committed sexual offences with women that worked under him knocked the ground out from under the contentions of his defense lawyers, who claimed that its not believable that someone raped by Katsav months earlier would ask him for work afterwards.

The judges determined that the desire to find work led A to maintain a relationship with her rapist, and even meet with him. Even after A was raped twice by the appellant, she continued to work in the Tourism Ministry because she needed to make a living.

The Supreme Court supported the determination of the district court that As denial of the conversations actually demonstrates that she is not scheming or manipulative, because even when they presented her with a conversation log, she said that she didnt remember.

The ruling, which completely supported As contentions, emphasized that despite certain contradictions noted in her testimonies, and even though the core of the plot, the heart of the story, took place with only the two actors present, no part of the background story created a reasonable doubt.

Our answer here is negative. Even if, for the sake of argument – and only for the sake of argument – that A was in love with her boss, as several witnesses believed, that has no bearing on the determination of reasonable doubt on whether there was consent to have sexual relations.