Only several hours have passed since the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court convicted former Justice Minister Haim Ramon of indecent conduct and already he has officially announced that he will appeal the ruling.
"Ramon will respond in an orderly fashion after he has studied the verdict," said his close associated in a statement, which went on to say that many questions arise even from the most preliminary perusal of the verdict.
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and State Prosecutor Eran Shendar expressed satisfaction over Ramon's conviction.
“The day an Israeli minister is convicted of criminal offences is not an easy day,” they said in a statement, but added that they were pleased that the court accepted the prosecution’s stance and issued a verdict which was "appropriate for the maintainance of a woman’s honor, respect for her will and autonomy over her body."
The complainants' mother told Ynet that she "feels wonderful", refusing to comment any further on the conviction.
Hearings for Ramon's sentencing will begin on February 21st, both the defense and the prosecution will state their cases regarding the severity of the punishment Ramon should receive. The maximum penalty for indecent conduct is three years imprisonment.
In this specific case, since the incident act was a one-time occurrence, situated in the bottom-most degree of sexual misconduct prosecutable by law, and since Ramon is an adult without a criminal record, the court is expected to forgo any prison time and dole out a much lighter sentence, most likely community service.
Ramon is also expected to pay a heavy political price for his convincement, and this too will be taken into account.
He can appeal to the Tel Aviv District Court within 45 days of his sentencing.
The prosecution on its part is expected to demand a much harsher sentence, and will claim that the defendant was the minister of justice at the time of the incident, the chief overseer of all law enforcement authorities in a country stricken by sexual offenses, and should therefore be punished to the full extent of the law and be made an example of.
Court: Description of complainant flighty
The court slammed the testimony of Government Secretary Israel Maimon, who testified that the complainant had spoken to him before for a minute or two in what he described as a 'flirtatious, sexual manner' and then went on to describe her behavior as 'flighty.'
"The court fails to understand how an intelligent adult could interpret a minute-long conversation with a 20-year-old young soldier as a 'flirtatious' conversation with 'sexual undertones' which she intended for to lead to a romantic relationship - especially when he has defined her conduct as professional, courteous, warmhearted and pleasant," the court said.
"Doesn't this characterization of the complainant keep in line with her conversation with him? It would appear that Israel Maimon's desire to aid the defendant has led him to present that conversation with a hindsight meant to fit in with Ramon's thesis."
A three-judge panel at the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court voted unanimously to convict Ramon of forcibly kissing a female soldier at the Prime Minister's Office in mid-July by "placing his lips on her lips and inserting his tongue in her mouth." The court further asserted that Ramon's version of the incident was not credible and added that the former minister has also attempted to humiliate the complainant.
"We are not talking about an innocent kiss on the cheek or on the forehead out of feelings of affection, but a kiss that has all the elements of a sexual offense," the judges wrote.
Justices Hayuta Kochan, Daniela Cherizli and Daniel Beeri said that they found the complainant's testimony that Ramon had kissed her against her will "credible and undeviating."
The judges called Ramon's behavior "humiliating and intrusive."