Former President Moshe Katsav
Photo: Ofer Amram
In second grade during Torah class, I asked the teacher why the daughter of Pharaoh went down to the river. “What do you mean?” She wondered. “In those days, there was no bathroom and toilet even at the palace. When the king needed to go, he would dispatch his servants and they would escort him to the river. Yet out of respect they may have stood on the side and not around him when he watered the plants.”
Op-ed: Full justice had been achieved even without sentencing Katsav to lengthy prison term
From this answer I learned that even kings are flesh and blood who cannot resist their bladder and that if you chose or were elected to enjoy all the perks of the crown, you must also pay the price: There will always be people who know when you urinate.
The comparison between a president and a king popped into my mind long before Katsav was convicted, when the rumors only started. I found it difficult to believe back then – could it be that nobody heard or saw anything? Where were all the advisors and guards?
Long sentence to deter others
The protocols and testimonies provided the explanation. Just like Pharaoh chose well-shaped female servants, Katsav made sure to surround himself with women who were pretty and would remain silent in his view. Just like Pharaoh pushed aside his guards when he took off his pants, Katsav made sure to remove those who could hinder his performance.
Yet in respect to the price there is no connection between the king and the president. While Pharaoh paid with the loss of his privacy, President Katsav must pay steep interest for his deeds.
Moshe Katsav must spend long years behind bars to convey the message to other members of his gender who think that their money or status allows them to abuse women who would not dare complain. Katsav, precisely because he was at the top of the pyramid, must spend long years in a stinky cell and scrub toilets to deter others who think that their post allows them to oppress women who must be delighted to get the attention.
I may have accommodated him had he asked for forgiveness and admitted that even the president is no more than a horny man who gave in to his member. Yet a man who dares argue that the women wanted him is not deserving of mercy or a pardon. You wanted to be a man, so go ahead please. You screwed up, so now pay the price. You raped, so now you shall do the time.
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