Katsav and the Supreme Court of Entrapment
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On December 30, 2010, Moshe Katzav was found guilty of two counts of rape, sexual assault and other abuses, following a four-year trial held mostly behind closed doors at Tel Aviv District Court. Moshe Katzav was the eight president of Israel, serving in office between August 1, 2000 and July 1, 2007. Forced to resign due to the legal process, he was succeeded by Shimon Peres who still serves in office. Katzav has announced he would appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court of Justice in Jerusalem.
It would be easy to make a comment on the moral values of Jews in general and Israelis in particular. The obnoxious Talmud would provide me with plenty of juicy citations. As a matter of fact, many Israelis are doing the same right now, but accusing just Sephardic Jews. It would be too easy; to the extent this is suspicious. Are we witnessing something else?
The language of the decision was strong; too strong. “Precisely because the verdict was so unequivocal there is room to appeal and to raise the fact that the court ignored the evidence," attorney Avigdor Feldman told Israel Radio. Moreover, the judges claimed Katzav’s version of events was "riddled with lies." "The verdict has created an image of Moshe Katsav as a gambling man, devious and a manipulator, there is absolutely no basis for that," the same attorney countered.
The leaders in nuclear ambiguity have finally found an occasion to be unequivocal. Is that so?
Not My Cup of Tea
Before continuing I must warn the readers I am not defending Mr Katzav. I do not know him. I do not know what did happen in the events mentioned in the trial. Moreover, given his religious background we probably would never be friends. Yet, his case illuminates important aspects of the Israeli society.
On Legitimacy of the Court
Before assessing the whole event, one should ask if the court was legitimate. The Tel Aviv District Court and Jerusalem’s Supreme Court are part of the State of Israel judiciary system. Their legitimacy depends on the legitimacy of the State of Israel. The last was founded following a decision of the United Nations General Assembly. The decision placed two conditions: the creation of a Palestinian State and the respect of Human Rights. Israel violated both conditions and thus lost its right to be a state. Hence, also its courts are void of legitimacy.
Katzav and Other Rapists
Can Katzav be guilty of a different crime? Was he entrapped? He is a fascinating person. He was born in Yazd, Iran, in 1945. In 1951 his family arrived at Israel, following two years in a tents camp they were sent to the development town of Kiryat Mal'akhi. Years later he joined the Likud Party and became major of that town. His political career led him to the Knesset and eventually to the most honorific position in the Israeli Administration. Considering his background this was a miracle. The “Second Israel” is the term used in Israel for Oriental and Mizrahi Jews that grew up in development town. They are discriminated by all the state institutions.
His investigation was weird. He made the initial complaint, claiming in July 2006 to the Attorney General of Israel, Menahem Mazuz, that he was being blackmailed by one of his female employees. Ever since, he claims innocence and has rejected any proposed deal.
On 24 January 2007 Katsav held a press conference. He accused journalists of persecuting him and judging him before all the evidence has been presented. He claimed that the media has been hostile to his presidency ever since he defeated Shimon Peres, quoting an op-ed piece in The Jerusalem Post by Amotz Asa-El which claimed that Katsav's election was "the end of Zionism" and others that compared his election to Prime Minister Rabin’s assassination. Katsav accused news anchor Gadi Sukenik and Channel 2 of conducting a witch-hunt. The speech drew shock and condemnation; in a talk scheduled minutes after Katsav's speech ended, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that he should resign from the presidency.
”Israel is small! Everybody is linked to everybody else and to most events!” most of my Israeli readers may be thinking now. Yet, Katzav claim of political vendetta may be well based. He is not the first Israeli politician to be entrapped in such a way. Yitzhak Mordechai is the best known such example. On Thursday 12 April, 1984, four men from Gaza hijacked Egged Bus #300 in its way from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon with around 40 passengers and forced it to drive towards the Egyptian border. The event became known as the “Kav 300 Affair” (“Line 300 Affair”). The bus was boarded in Tel Aviv and the men took control shortly after it left at 7 PM. They were armed with knives and two anti-tank rounds. The Israeli authorities learned about the event after they let a pregnant woman off the bus. The vehicle was forced to a halt near Deir el-Balah, south of Gaza City. The subsequent stand-off was witnessed by the Israeli media, the IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Levy, Minister of Defense Moshe Arens, and the Director of the Shin Beth, Avraham Shalom. At 7 AM, then brigadier-general Yitzhak Mordechai, stormed the bus with the help of a commando unit; Shin Beth agents participated as well. (In The Cross of Bethlehem I describe combined IDF-Shin Beth operations). One passenger, a female soldier, was shot dead and seven were wounded. The IDF claimed that two gunmen were killed inside the bus, while initial reports said the other two had been wounded and died in the way to the hospital. It wasn’t true. Alex Levac, an Israeli photographer working for Haaretz, took a photograph showing one of what the IDF later defined as “two mortally wounded terrorists” (cousins Subahi and Majdi Abu Jamahad) led alive by two Shin Beth agents. The picture is reproduced in this article. The Israeli Military Censor banned publication of the picture, but the matter became public after David Shipler published the story in the New York Times.
What happened afterwards was amazing. The indefatigable conspirators of the Shin Beth framed Yitzhak Mordechai, an Iraqi Jew. He was tried, and acquitted. The Shin Beth and the Mossad are rancorous and retaliatory by nature. Rabin crossed their path, thus he was taken out. Mordechai crossed their path – he refused to become their scapegoat – so they killed him softly. After he left the army, he became a successful politician, even becoming Deputy Prime Minister. The future seemed bright. Suddenly, two women appeared claiming he had assaulted them sexually years before. He was forced to resign in 2000. In March 2001 he was convicted of harassing and sexually assaulting two women and received an 18-month suspended sentence. Many believe his claims of innocence; the dirty hands of the Shin Beth seemed to have framed him for a second time. In April 15, 2010, he gave an interview to Yedihot Aharonot openly claiming that. I have experienced sexual harassment by the Shin Beth - see the The Cross of Bethlehem for details - and can testify it is an extremely unpleasant experience.
The list of people destroyed in such a way is longer and highly suspicious. No less suspicious is the list of people that survived this process. Its leading member is former Prime Minister and Actual Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. He was accused of molesting a woman soldier working in his office. Not only the young woman was silenced, the event was eventually deleted from the news. Do not mess with the Ashkenazi Mishpaha Lohemet! is the message. The Shin Beth resented Mordechai refusal to be a scapegoat; Peres resented losing the presidency to a “schwartze.” Tomato, tomayto.
”Outrageous!” is Dagan thinking after reading this article. Is that so? Don’t you trust me by now, your Holy Terrorist Dagan? OK then, listen to Putin. On 19 October 19, 2006, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "Say hello to your president. He really surprised us... turned out to be quite a mighty man. He raped ten women. I never expected it from him. He surprised all of us. We all envy him." In a call-in television program Putin did not deny making the comment but said that "using instruments such as protecting women’s rights to resolve political issues that are unconnected with this problem is absolutely inadmissible. And this is because it actually discredits the struggle for women’s rights.”
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