In a matter of hours the prison Parole Board will render its decision concerning an early release from Matisyahu prison of our unrepentant rapist ex-president Moshe Katzav who brought shame and disgrace to his high office and to all the people of Israel.
If it is the verdict of the Parole Board and supported by President Rivlin it will be a greater shame to our justice system.
Sex crimes have become a plague in our country. In Moshe Dayan’s days it was well-known that he had sexual relations with, it is alleged, more than 100 women. But all of his womanizing was consensual. There were no forced or raped women. And his poor wife, Ruth, had to suffer many years in shame and in silence until she divorced him and left him in the arms of Rachel, his newest lover.
Our military has been shamefully disgraced by the sexual harassment of many of its superior officers. Brigadier General Ofek Buchris, accused by several women of rape, sodomy and sexual harassment, the father of six children tendered his resignation from his very high post after 28 years of devoted service.
A few days ago another superior officer was accused of sexually harassing junior female soldiers.
We have become a sex-sick society.
But no precedent should be made for the early release of ex-President Katzav. It sets a terrible example for future rapists and sex offenders. During his four years out of seven in prison, he has insisted on his innocence. When asked by the Parole Board in April if he is repentant of his crimes and shows remorse for the harm he inflicted upon his victims, he denied all the accusations and lied.
He was offered a rehabilitation program while in prison and he adamantly refused to participate. One of the conditions of an early release is to be his agreement to attend rehabilitation sessions out of prison.
He will not. He stubbornly denies the accusations of being a rapist and sexual molester. Why then, should the Parole Board honor his request for an early release? What message does it send to our public, to other nations and more importantly to his accusers?
Unrepentant and unremorseful criminals do not deserve privileges. Especially not an ex-President of our country.
The smile on his face as he poses for press photographers is sickening. Are we a nation of laws and justice or are we not?
While I, like all Israelis everywhere, and decent law-abiding citizens await the Parole Board’s decision, one can only hope that the Board will be sensible and refuse early release to a criminal who denies his crimes.
Our country grows sicker and sicker. A mayor of Tel-Aviv declared his city to be the gay capitol of the Middle East, replacing Beirut’s reputation. He was guided by the hope that gay tourists with lots of money to spend would flock to Tel-Aviv by the thousands. He was not completely wrong.
But a nation founded on the principles of Jewish law and democracy dare not be so generous to a rapist ex-President of Israel.
Three more years in prison, in a luxurious private cell with private TV, will not kill him. If anything, it will bring honor and respect to our prison system and to our laws.