Moshe Katzav was the eighth president of the State of Israel. On the 22nd of March 2011 he was convicted of two counts of rape and several other sexual assaults, along with other charges relating to obstruction of justice, and sentenced to seven years in prison. On December 7th of that year, after his appeals were denied, he entered Maasiyahu Prison to begin serving his sentence.
Maasiyahu is a minimum security prison, and considered to be among the “easiest” prisons in the country. It is here that politicians convicted of crimes are usually sent (how I hate writing that phrase!) because it has a “Torani” (Orthodox Jewish) wing where the prisoners lead much the same lifestyle as students in a yeshiva (Jewish rabbinical and post-rabbinical seminary).
From the time he entered the prison, Katzav made it clear that he believed himself to be entitled to special treatment. (It is his attitude of entitlement, I believe, that got him there in the first place.) Prisoners in the torani wing are allowed to wear their own clothes unless they leave the wing (to make purchases at the canteen or receive visitors, for example). Katzav refused to put on prison uniform when his wife came to visit him two days after his incarceration, and was therefore not permitted the visit until a compromise was reached and he agreed to wear a prisoner jacket over his street clothes. He refused to provide a DNA sample during a Prison Service campaign in cooperation with the police to collect samples from all prisoners in March 2012. He has refused to participated in rehabilitation programs. (1)
Today Katzav has requested a presidential pardon, the stated grounds of which are that he did not receive a fair trial (an appeal on the same basis was denied immediately after his trial) and that the humiliation and damage to his reputation and personal status involved in being required to resign the presidency as part of his plea bargain was punishment enough.
The minimum requirements for a sex offender to receive a presidential pardon in Israel are that he accepts responsibility for his actions and undergoes a program of rehabilitation, including psychological counseling. “Accepting responsibility” is defined as admitting guilt and expressing remorse. (“I did it and I’m sorry.”)
It will come as no surprise that Katzav has not accepted responsibility and has refused to participate in treatment and rehabilitation programs.
In processing requests for pardon from sex offenders, it is usual that if the offender does not accept responsibility and participate in the programs he is considered dangerous to the public. However, the High Court has ruled that each case must be evaluated individually, so Katzav’s request must be given due consideration.
What can I say? I hope he receives all the consideration he deserves.
Earlier posts on Moshe Katzav:
1. The details of Katzav’s imprisonment in this paragraph are from an article on the Walla news site http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/10/2575540, posted Monday, 15 October 2012 08:03. The are also noted in an article on the business newspaper Globes website http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1000789976, posted the same day at 11:09.