Sever Plocker

3 scandals for the finale

Israel is breaking world records in sexual harassment; perhaps Israeli men really do harass women more then their global counterparts, and perhaps our judicial system has lost its proportionality in these matters

The war in Lebanon left four moral-economic-legal matters unresolved. These matters, relating to our politicians' conduct, have been somewhat unsettling to the public: The Katsav affair, the Hanegbi Affair, the Ramon affair and the Hirchson affair. 


The Attorney General Menachem Mazuz didn't waste time in deciding that Hanegbi would be indicted. According to principles of common sense, the remaining three should also be brought to justice.


The Katzav affair


Let's start from the more serious to the lesser offenses. The most serious is the affair involving President Moshe Katsav, namely the accusations he made and the accusations made against him. The police are conducting the investigation somewhat languidly. The alleged suspicions against Katsav pertain to, but not only, sexual arenas.


The scope is expanding and the events are raising complex questions. A president under investigation will be detrimental to the country's image. By definition, a president is a person who "stands at head of the state." Katsav would do well to remove himself from his lofty position before that fateful day when the police come knocking at his door in Jerusalem – this would spare our tortured country further embarrassment.


The Ramon affair


The second affair involves Justice Minister Haim Ramon, and involves matters between a man who's not in his prime and a young woman who has filed a complaint that he allegedly tried to kiss her against her will.


Minister Ramon is not the woman's superior, and he has no authority over her. In the midst of the war the police conducted a video confrontation: She was in Costa Rica, he in Jerusalem. What did the police achieve by this confrontation? Nothing, besides wasting public money and inventing a dubious global innovation for conducting investigations.


Israel is already breaking world records in sexual harassment; perhaps Israeli men really do harass women more then their global counterparts, and perhaps our judicial system has lost its proportionality regarding these matters.


I don't know if the police's opinion regarding the Ramon affair justifies a criminal indictment. If not, the general attorney would do well to close the file without considering whether closing it is the politically correct thing to do. "Politically correct" matters are increasingly poisoning the public debate.


I also cannot fathom how the police will be able to prove whether Ramon actually did do what he is allegedly accused of, knowing that the complainant will not give her consent – which significantly reduces the chances of conviction.


Spreading permisiveness


Turning every encounter between a man and a woman to some form of harassment or indecent assault, does not protect women and does not deter violent men. It just spreads permissiveness, because "everyone is doing it." That's how the belittling of suspicions and accusations come about.


Namely, when a real act of harassment and force becomes mixed up with what was once considered an unsuccessful courtship, it diminishes the severity of real acts of indecency and sexual harassments.


Women who have been harassed end up finding themselves in the same boat as those "rejected" women or those who had "devised a plot", or had just let their imaginations run wild.


As to the minister himself, he would do well to make a public apology to the woman. It's the least he can do. The prayer books are full of prayers for forgiveness, and not in vain.


Abraham Hirchson


And finally to the affair involving the name of the Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson. In his first economic address to the nation at the Caesarea Forum, the minister surprised his audience with a shocking confession: He and his family are being threatened by anonymous persons in Israel, who are allegedly seeking the failure of the reforms led by the minister.


Hirchson didn't reveal the identity of the persons involved, but promised he would transfer the "material" to the attorney general as soon as possible.


The attorney general waited and waited, for nothing. The minister didn't file his complaint as required and ignited the attorney general's wrath by disrespectful evasions.


What can the finance minister do now? He could retract his dramatic confession, admit that he had made a mistake, and fire his attorney Eldad Yaniv, who is the undersigned on the correspondence with Mazuz. A confession of this nature by the finance minister would turn him from an irresponsible public figure to a private figure lacking good legal advice.


We shall then be able to apply the traditional rule of Jewish ethics to Hirchson: "He who confess and forsakes (sins) will find mercy."


פרסום ראשון: 08.16.06, 10:49
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