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Katzav Trial Fallout: Immodest Dress A Factor in Sex Offenses?

A former district court judge says immodest dress by women cannot be blamed for the Katzav case, but more modesty would reduce sex offenses.

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 1/2/2011, 2:18 PM / Last Update: 1/2/2011, 2:59 PM

A former district court judge says that although immodest dress by women cannot be blamed as the cause of the Katzav rape case, more modesty would reduce sex offenses. However, he added that today's pro-feminist society does not allow for restrictions against women.

Menachem Ne’eman, former vice president of the Haifa District Court, told Israel National News that a more respectful work atmosphere would prevent incidents. Former Israeli president Moshe Katzav was convicted last Thursday for rape and sexual harrassment.

“On one hand, we live in a permissive society,” Ne'eman said. You cannot separate the sexes as in the hareidi religious community. On the other hand, I expect better behavior and respectful dress among women at work.”

He emphasized that he “in no way is suggesting that women are guilty because of the way they dress, but more proper dress might reduce the number of incidents” of sexual offense, as the atmosphere would be more businesslike and formal.

“If a male came into my court with an undershirt, I would throw him out,” said Judge Ne’eman. "But if a woman were to dress like that, I would not dare to evict her because I would be accused of harassing women.”

Although the Knesset enforces a defined dress code, instituted by MK Dalia Itzik when she headed the plenum, immodest dress is common in government, banks and other work places, and kissing and hugging among male and female workers are often acceptable social practices.