Decision on Katsav case within a month
For first time in Israel, attorney general forced to decide whether to indict president. Team of attorneys already examining evidence ahead of forming indictment – should it be submitted. In spite of calls that he suspend himself, Katsav plans to attend opening of Knesset's winter session Monday
The State Prosecutor's Office has already began the race against the clock to review all the material submitted by the police, in order to convert it into offenses and form the indictment, should Attorney General Menchem Mazuz decide to eventually submit it.
More on the presidential scandal:
- Police: Charge Katsav with rape
- Top legal source: Katsav must suspend himself
- Katsav's brother: Police didn’t look for truth
The team of attorneys involved in the investigation since it began, headed by Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel, is now examining and evaluating the evidence presented by the police, and is expected to submit its recommendations to the attorney general and the state prosecutor.
The State Prosecutor's Office is expected to work on the case over the next few weeks, after which the attorney general will make his final decision on the affair. Simultaneously, the president is expected to be interrogated again in order to complete the picture following a request made by legal sources.
In spite of previous estimates in the political arena that Katsav may resign if the police recommend that he be indicted, the president continues to maintain an atmosphere of "business as usual" and is holding on to his chair.
A senior legal source called on Katsav to suspend himself, saying that "if the president would know what we know is happening in his case, he would spare the public the humiliation and suspend himself."
Nonetheless, Katsav to visit Knesset
Katsav, however, does not plan to answer the calls, and is expected to arrive Monday at the opening of the Knesset's winter session. Although he will not deliver a speech, he will take the seat of honor along with his wife Gila.
Some Knesset members are not pleased with the president's arrival. Several Labor, Likud and Kadima MKs plan not to act according to protocol and not to stand up as the president enters the hall. Others will be absent.
MK Zahava Gal-On, chairman of the Meretz faction, said that following the police's severe recommendations she plans to appeal to members of the Knesset's House Committee and ask them to immediately launch an ousting procedure against the president.
MK Gal-on plans to remain in the plenum, but will not stand up when the president enters. The rest of her faction members plan to enter the hall only after the president.
Education Minister Yuli Tamir called on the president to resign. Tamir called on Katsav not to arrive at the Knesset on Monday.
"This is the end of the line before President Katsav must act," she said.
MK Colette Avital (Labor) said that she expects the president to resign and that "if he doesn’t resign, he should at least suspend himself."
She expressed her hope that "the president would spare the Knesset from the embarrassment when he arrives tomorrow." She added, however, that she would not boycott the meeting out of respect to the presidential institute.
Ilan Marciano and Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report