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Public Outcry: 'Katsav Resign'

Knesset Members Begin Drive To Impeach State President After Attorney General Announces His Intention To Indict Moshe Katsav On Rape Charges

Labor MK Michael Melchior: 'Despite The Deep Sense Of National Shame, Citizens Should Take Comfort In Knowing Judicial System Works At Highest Level'

President Moshe Katsav

Israeli citizens are reeling with a sense of disgust after Attorney General Meni Mazzuz announced that there are grounds for indicting State President Moshe Katsav on charges of rape. Cabinet ministers, Knesset members and the media are clamouring for Katsav to resign. In the Israeli political system, the state president has no real political powers - he is unifying symbol who represents the country as a whole.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

Israel's 'citizen number one' Moshe Katsav now faces a charge of rape. For several months, Israelis have been bombarded with the sordid details of sexual misconduct by their state president Moshe Katsav. Today they are shocked to the core after Attorney General Meni Mazuz announced that he planned to indict Katsav for raping a female employee and other charges of sexual misconduct. 

The state president has one last chance before the Attorney General formally charges Katsav. Under Israeli law, public officials can seek a private ' hearing' with the Attorney General before a formal indictment. That's what Katsav and his lawyers now plan on doing. However, it is highly unlikely they will be able to present any new information they have not used already during the months of the police investigation. The President categorically denies any sexual contact with four women employees who worked for him during his career. The Attorney General says the indictment will include one charge of rape and various other charges of sexual harassment as well as trying to subvert the course of justice. One of the witnesses , the President's secretary, was tested  by polygraph and found to be telling the truth. Condemnation of the President comes from across the political spectrum. Labor MK Michael Melchior, a rabbi, said together with the national shame, the scandal has proved that the country's legal system works efficiently at the highest level. 

Insert Michael Melchior

Justice and Foreign Minister Tsipi Livni of Kadima calls on Katsav to resign immediately. Meretz MK Zahava Gallon has gathered signatures of more than 20 parliamentarians to begin an immediate impeachment process in the Law and Constitution committee. But 90 members in the 120 member Knesset would be required to force Katsav out of office. Committee Chairman Menachem Ben Sasson argues that no impeachment move should start until after Katsav has his hearing by the Attorney General. Ben Sasson argues there is a theoretical possibility that Katsav's lawyers could persuade the Attorney General to drop the charges. 

Insert Ben Sasson

However, Likud MK Limor Livnat says the scandal has already gone too far and Katsav should resign immediately.

Insert Limor Livnat

If Katsav eventually resigns, is impeached or found guilty in a court of law, he would be replaced by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzack until a new president is elected by the Knesset.

David Essing

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