Poll: Most Think Katzav Got a Fair Trial

Panels / Knesset Channel poll: 69% of Israelis say former president's trial was fair, 20% think it was not.

Gil Ronen,

Moshe Katzav
Moshe Katzav
Israel News Photo: Flash 90

Most of the Israeli public thinks that former president Moshe Katzav received a fair trial, according to a Panels Institute / Knesset Channel poll taken Thursday.

The poll found that 69% of Israelis think that Katzav's trial on rape charges was fair, while 20% think it was not fair.

However, 49% of the public thinks the verdict in the trial was influenced by the press coverage of the trial, while only 44% think it was not.
Supreme Court Judges Miriam Naor, Edna Arbel and Salim Joubran decided unanimously that there is no justification for any intervention in the verdict of the District Court that found Katzav guilty of rape and sentenced him to seven years' jail.

The judges rejected attempts by Katzav's attorneys to prove that he had an alibi for at least one of the times he supposedly raped the complainant, known to the public only as Aleph from the Tourism Ministry. They also rejected an argument that was based on the fact that she had waited for years before testifying about the rape.  

The judges said that the recordings of friendly conversations between Aleph and Katzav after she was allegedly raped also do not prove that she lied in her testimony. 

Katzav was found guilty of rape based upon legislation that was passed ten years ago, in which the definition of rape was changed. The current wording of the law – proposed by militant feminist Knesset members and passed by the Knesset in 2001 – does not require proof that force or threat of force were used, in order to convict a person of rape.

Rather, in Israeli courts, it is the defense that needs to show that the woman took part in the intercourse of her own free will.