Ex-Israeli President Katsav Needn’t Be in Court for Parole Case, Judge Rules

Katsav, who is serving a 7-year sentence for rape and other sexual offenses, is appealing the parole board’s decision not to take a third off his sentence for good behavior.

Former president Moshe Katsav leaves prison for a holiday break in 2015.
Nir Keidar

Former President Moshe Katsav won’t have to appear in court for hearings on his parole application, Central District Court President Avraham Tal ruled Thursday.

Katsav, who is serving a 7-year sentence for rape and other sexual offenses, is appealing the parole board’s decision not to take a third off his sentence for good behavior. The court will hear the appeal on July 5.

As Katsav’s attorneys noted in their request to the court, it is standard practice for prisoners to be allowed to skip court hearings on their parole appeals.

Katsav had initially decided against appealing the parole board’s decision, but at the last moment, in mid-May, he changed his mind. His lawyers said in a court filing that he originally opposed appealing because “his spirit is broken and he isn’t capable of once again going through the media circus that will accompany” the legal proceedings, but they prevailed on him to change his mind.

In April, the parole board decided against granting him parole. In its ruling, it said this decision was made in part because “the prisoner sees himself as the victim, engages in blaming outside parties for his situation, still behaves aggressively and is preoccupied solely with himself, his needs, his losses and the price he and his family have paid.”

Moreover, he never expressed “regret and/or empathy” with his victims, went through no real rehabilitation process, and still protests his innocence “as if no legal proceeding ever took place.”

Katsav had proposed undergoing a private treatment program after his parole, but the parole board concluded that this program wouldn’t stop him from continuing to pose a risk to women.

The board also noted that in exceptionally serious cases, it’s allowable to consider whether parole would undermine public faith in the legal system, and Katsav’s case would indeed undermine this faith.