"I am here to tell the public the truth about this story," said A, one of the complainants against suspended President Moshe Katsav.
A was speaking at a Tel Aviv press conference Thursday afternoon, called hours after Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced he had reached a plea-bargain agreement with Katsav. Under the terms of the plea bargain, Katsav will plead guilty to charges of sexual assualt, sexual harrassment and harrassing a witness, and will receive a suspended prison sentence. As part of the plea bargain, Mazuz agreed to drop the rape charges against Katsav, a move which has been sharply criticized.
Perhaps the most prominent complainant in the affair, A said it was time the country heard her version of the events.
"From my first days there (at the Presidential Residence) there was something about Moshe Katsav's attitude – it's difficult for me to honor him with the title of 'president' – he would tell me 'you're beautiful, you're sexy, you interest me and I want to get to know you better," said A, her face pixilated on television to protect her identity but her shaky voice undistorted.
"He would start calling me at 7:30 in the morning, asking me what I was planning to wear that day. 'Maybe you should wear a skirt, wear a skirt without underwear underneath,' he would say to me.
"I'd get to the office and try to run a normal schedule and then the comments would begin: 'You amaze me, I dreamt about you last night while I was having sex with my wife, Gila.'
"That's the kind of language he used, this is his character. And the words got blunter, more graphic, things got worse. I can't repeat the kind of profane words he would say to me. This is a man who every morning would sit there at his desk and take out his penis and stroke it and then ask me to sit beside him and touch it."
'I had become Katsav's sex slave'
"One time we were going over paperwork in his office and he asked me to stand up. He came over to stand in front of me and told me 'I'm attracted to you, you drive me crazy.' And then without any further explanation he grabbed my breasts.
"I told him he was completely out of line and turned around to leave but he grabbed me and said he was sorry, that it was a mistake. I didn't come in for a few days, I just didn't know how to deal with something like that, when your boss, the president of Israel, touches you. I decided I wasn't going back. The next day, when I still didn't show up for work, he called me and screamed at me, saying he would make my life hell if I didn't come back to work.
"The second time I remember is when I'd gone into his office to return a book, to organize something. I was standing with my back to him, a few meters away, and suddenly I felt a body press up against me, arms gripping me and I could feel his penis. He told me: 'I want you, I want to sleep with you, I want sex and there's no reason for you to say no.'
"I struggled to get free but failed, I just felt completely paralyzed. He slammed me into the corner of the table with his hands pinning down mine. He opened the clasp of my pants, I tried to move but couldn't, he's a very strong man, people don't know him. He dropped his pants and had full intercourse with me. This happened three or four times. In that second I had become Katsav's sex slave.
"Moshe Katsav is a rapist. Moshe Katsav is a serial sex offender, he's perverted. He is an unstable figure and no one can tell me otherwise."
'Plea bargain legitimizes sex offenders'
"My life is not a reality television show, and I refuse to allow decisions regarding my life to be made over coffee in meetings held behind closed doors. I put my faith in the justice system, but today I feel that the system gave up on me and surrendered to the demands of powerful men – and by that I mean the man who terrorized by body and soul – Moshe Katsav," said A, who earlier in the day filed an unsuccessful
petition to the High Court of Justice demanding an injunction to ban Mazuz from holding his own press conference to explain the plea bargain.
"This plea bargain gives sex offenders a legitimacy to do whatever they please without consequences," she said.
In response, Zion Amir, one of Katsav's defense attorneys, said: "It's a colossal disgrace that public news agencies allow someone accused of extortion and threatening to become the accuser of the president.
"The senior officials of the Justice Ministery don't believe her, so she decided to find a new victim –Attorney General Menachem Mazuz. This is an appalling phenomenon," he said.
The whole affair was exposed after Katsav complained last summer to Mazuz that A was attempting to blackmail him. As part of the plea bargain ending the affair, the attorney general closed the investigation into allegations of extortion against A.