Moshe Katzav at sentencing hearing.
Israel news photo: Flash 90
Former president Moshe Katzav, who has been found guilty of rape charges, has expressed a belief that the charges against him are divine punishment for his role in the 2005 expulsion from Gaza (Disengagement). So writes Moshe Feiglin, head of the Jewish Leadership faction in the Likud.
In a column penned for Maariv, Feiglin wrote Sunday that a central activist in the struggle against the Disengagement met Katzav after the scandal around him erupted. "Surprisingly and of his own initiative, Katzav turned to him and told him: 'I am not guilty of what they are accusing me of, but I know that this is happening to me because of the way I treated you [in the original Hebrew, the plural 'you' was used - ed.].'"
"This understanding shows that the man had more than just a thought of repentance and it certainly is to his credit and praise," Feiglin added.
There are numerous adherents, not all of them religious, to the belief in the "Disengagement curse" - a heavenly retribution for the Disengagement, which has afflicted many of the key players in that act of violent expulsion and retreat.
The Our Land of Israel organization has distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of a list of the "curse victims" throughout Israel's synagogues. The list includes:
Ariel Sharon, the prime minister who carried out the Disengagement, who suffered a stroke shortly afterward and has been in a coma ever since.
Sharon's son and close political aide, Omri, who served a jail sentence for corruption.
Chaim Ramon, a senior minister in Sharon's government and a lead proponent of the Disengagement, who was found guilty of sexual offenses and sentenced to community service.
Dan Halutz, who was IDF Chief of Staff, and had to resign after an investigative committee blamed him for botching the Second Lebanon War.
Moshe Karadi, who was Chief of Police, who was forced to resign after a committee of inquiry found fault with his actions in an investigation regarding organized crime.
Ehud Olmert, who was Sharon's deputy during the Disengagement and supported the policy when he replaced Sharon as prime minister. Olmert had to resign after being charged with corruption and is facing criminal prosecution.
Uri Bar-Lev, who was Commander of the Police's Southern District, who has recently had to suspend himself after allegations of sexual misconduct.
Tzachi HaNegbi, a member of Sharon's government who has had to resign from the Knesset after being found guilty of corruption.
Avraham Hirschson, who was a minister in the Kadima government and is serving a jail sentence for embezzlement.
Yonatan Bassi, who headed the Disengagement Authority and had to leave his own community because of the public anger against him.
One glaring example of a person who is doing relatively well despite his key role in the Disengagement is Shaul Mofaz, who was Minister of Defense during the expulsion and is currently a Knesset Member for Kadima.
Orthodox Jews do not attempt to understand the workings of G-dly reward and punishment. However, there are other ways of interpreting the list. The list shows the moral level the people who were allowed to make the fateful decisions that threw thousands of people out of their homes, destroyed an entire area, and brought rockets to the communities of southern Israel.
"G-d's very unique way of meting out mercy tempered with justice can never truly be understood by mere mortals," wrote Moshe Kempinski in Arutz Sheva. "Yet, on a human and mortal level, the process of "measure for measure" is very clear and compelling. The same small-minded and selfish, immediate-gain focus that spawned Sharon's Disengagement Plan led to the creation of the Kadima party and ensured the rise of small-minded, selfish and greed-focused politicians... It is these same politicians and leaders that continued their reign focused on power, money and selfishness... [I]t is no wonder that it is those very traits that brought all these politicians and leaders down, measure for measure."