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Israeli President Faces Charges of Rape and Misconduct

Israel's president has been accused of rape and of abusing his power. These allegations go back to his time as a tourism minister in 1998.

The challenge with this piece of news is that no charges have yet been brought to court. These are news pieces about allegations of misconduct, and the reaction in Israel to this piece of news. The New York Times covered the story by talking about Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's reaction to these allegations. Olmert is said to be calling for President Moshe Katsav's resignation. At the same time, Olmert was trying to deflect attention from this subject, focusing instead on the threat to Israel from Iran in a speech he gave this week. President Katsav is asking for leave while he fights the allegations.

The LA Times' version of this story focuses on President Katsav's asking for leave, and plans to fight. It also directly quotes Katsav more than the New York Times article did. It also discusses the move for impeachment.

Both articles do a good job of summing up Israeli law, which their American readers are not likely to know. What the ramifications of a sex scandal in Israel will be, I don't really know. The tone of the articles seems to portray outrage by both the country and the accused. The President is angry at the allegations. His side, and his anger, come across more in the LA Times article, the one with more direct quotes. The outrage of the public and other public officials comes across more in the New York Times' article, which focuses on the Prime Minister.

Should this be news and should we care? I think so, because, if true, it demonstrates an abuse of power in the Israeli government. And it will be interesting how Israel reacts to this scandal, and how their neighbors perceive it. Also, it is an insight into the male-female dynamic in Israel, depending on how this gets dealt with. I think this is just an introductory story, and it is a story to watch, mostly to see the reactions of various people and states.

Comments

Excellent posting. You have pinpointed the challenge of dancing around the legalities. Your final paragraph, exploring why this piece of news would be relevant to a U.S. audience, is astute. Keep it up.