Women's Groups Slam Livni for Joining Forces With Politician Who Has Sex Offense Conviction

Former Kadima head's decision to team up in order to establish new centrist party with Haim Ramon draws ire from Israeli women's groups.

Several women's organizations expressed disappointment Thursday with former Kadima leader Tzippi Livni's decision to join forces with Haim Ramon in order to establish a new center party. "It is inconceivable that a convicted sex offender will be the main force behind Livni's return to politics," read the joint statement by a number of women's organizations.

"We expect Livni to publicly condemn the sex offense Ramon committed, and declare that because of it, she will not join him politically," wrote the organizations. The groups behind the announcement are the Israel Women's Network, Ahoti - For Women in Israel, Women Lawyers for Social Justice, Economic Empowerment for Women, Women's Spirit, the Mahut Center and the Adva Center.

"It is regrettable and infuriating that someone who has been convicted of a sex offense, even if it does not formally constitute moral turpitude, can return to public life. The message that should be sent to Israeli women is that a sex offender has no place in Israeli political life," they wrote.

In March 2007 the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court decided that Ramon's conviction for committing an indecent act did not bear moral turpitude, which meant there was no legal barrier to Ramon returning to politics or even to his being appointed a minister again. The judges ruled that the punishment for the former justice minister was in his conviction, and sentenced him to 120 hours of public service and NIS 15,000 in compensation to the victim. Ramon was convicted of kissing H., then an IDF officer, against her will in the Prime Minister's office in Tel Aviv where she served, on July 12, 2006, the day the Second Lebanon War broke out.