The Knesset Finance Committee voted unanimously Monday to strip former President Moshe Katzav and any other former president or minister of the traditional post-term benefits he normally would receive, if he is convicted of crimes that the court defines as "moral disgrace."
The tax-free perks that Katzav would lose if convicted of sexual crimes include a private car and driver, an office with two personal assistants, a security detail, an official residence in Jerusalem for seven years after leaving office or a stipend to pay expenses for an apartment.
Katzav's hefty monthly pension of some $11,000, as well as health insurance and reimbursement for telephone calls would not be touched.
The former president left office in controversy after Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said he would bring allegations of rape, sexual assault, fraud, corruption and breach of trust to a hearing to decide whether to indict Katzav on the charges.
But, as the case against the President weakened, the State Prosecutor’s Office opted for a plea bargin agreement in which Katzav will plead guilty to reduced charges of sexual misconduct, will admit to perjury and will compensate his victims. In return, the State Prosecutor’s Office will drop the rape charge, which carries a seven-year jail term if he is convicted, and some of the more severe sexual assault charges.
A five-justice panel led by Supreme Court President Justice Dorit Beinisch is reviewing the agreement as well as petitions filed by six women’s organizations and civil rights groups who have demanded that the court reject the deal.