Katsanova: Sex and Politics in Israel

By admin ~ November 8th, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

When most men hit sixty, the libido begins to slow to a crawl and viagra suddenly becomes very appealing. Aches and pains make activities that were once a breeze, more of an uphill slog. Getting out of bed in itself can be a challenge. Even enjoying a fully functional washroom break.

If we believe the recent charges brought against the President of Israel, Moshe Katsav, it would seem laws of aging don’t apply to him. At the age of sixty he has been accused of sexually assaulting numerous female employees, along with other charges relating to harassment, wire tapping and undisclosed corruption.

The Presidency is a largely ceremonial position in Israel and if any of this is true, it seems Moshe had a great deal of spare time on his hands. When he wasn’t meeting dignitaries and posing for photographers, he was allegedly attending to more err … stimulating matters.

Assuming we lend credence to the more lurid speculations, his office environment appears to have morphed into a sort of Elysian romper room with Moshe starring as chief satyr, prowling among the photocopiers and fax machines while supervising his faun-like underlings (no pun intended).

When Vladimir Putin met with met with Ehud Olmert in Moscow, he cracked a joke that has been widely condemned as sexist and insensitive. According to reports he said something along the lines of …

“Say hello to your president. He really surprised us. I met him and he didn’t look like a guy who could be with ten women. He’s turned out to be quite a guy. He raped ten women. We all envy him!”

Kremlin aides claimed that the joke sounds worse in translation and that any good ole boy swilling vodka on the banks of the Volga would get it right away.

Thing is, much as the criminal aspects of Moshe’s alleged excesses fail to amuse, you are left wondering what type of multivitamin he takes. He looks like a benign senior citizen; even slightly prissy in some pictures. It would be easier to imagine him playing backgammon in the parlor than chief sybarite in a Dionysiac spree.

In the light of the charges against him, Katsav has been asked to stand down but he has refused. The heat is on now because Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has decided to go ahead and charge him with sexual crimes, including rape. To add to the heat, PM Ehud Olmert, has now publicly called for Katsav’s resignation.

It’s tricky to continue in the role of President when you are widely regarded by Israelis as an embarrassment who has brought shame on their nation. The tactic chosen by Katsav is to ask the Knesset to declare a temporary suspension of the Presidency. Under Israeli law, the President can announce an inability to fulfill his duties and suspend himself for up to three months. During this period he continues to enjoy political immunity and cannot be indicted. However such a request is subject to the approval of the Knesset House Committee.

He had this to say in his defense … “I’ve been trampled on by lies which have reached every Israeli house. My family and I are facing unprecedented attacks…I will not degrade myself, I will clear my name.”

Katsav’s claim to be a victim of a conspiracy to oust him from office seems a little far fetched. I doubt that any hypothetical conspirators out for the President’s blood would also be willing to risk dragging their nation’s name through the mud.

Anyway, Moshe’s office environment must be rather constrained these days. No high jinx or other irregularities to break up the bureaucratic tedium. Female employees can venture into lion’s den with impunity.

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