Several days after the Supreme Court ruled that the rape convictions of Israel's eighth president stand and that he will begin serving his seven-year jail sentence in several weeks, Katsav for the first time apologizes to the women who complained against him in an interview published Wednesday morning in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.
Following rumors that he has taken his own life, Katsav stresses: "I did not commit suicide and have no plans to do so. These are empty statements made by wicked people."
Almost whispering, he adds: "I promise my family that I will be strong, but even iron hit as many times as I have been hit in the past five years – eventually bends."
From his home in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi, Katsav is certain that he has suffered injustice. "I curse the day I was elected president of the State of Israel," he says.
"I respect the judges' decision, but they were wrong. My conviction cannot be based solely on the ruling that the main witness is reliable."
Asked who was behind his downfall, he responds: "Politicians too."
Three weeks before he is scheduled to begin his jail term, the president expresses some regret. "I apologize to the women who complained against me if I hurt them in any way."
With tears in his eyes, he promises: "I will continue fighting for my innocence. The truth will come out – even if it happens after my death."
The full interview with Moshe Katsav will be published Friday in Yedioth Ahronoth.