Rape charge against former Israeli president dropped; 20,000 protest in Tel Aviv

Israel’s former president Moshe Katsav will not be tried for rape, after accepting a plea bargain which will see him admit lesser counts of sexual harassment, reports The Guardian.

Understandably outraged by this announcement, as Israel’s attorney general had said that Katsav would be charged with two counts of rape, women’s groups organised a protest against the decision:

Four women who worked for Mr Katsav charged that he repeatedly groped them, kissed them, exposed himself to them and, in two cases, raped them while he was president and, earlier, when he was tourism minister. Mr Katsav claims he is the victim of a witch-hunt.

Dropping the most serious charges sparked outrage from women’s rights activists and led to a quickly organised protest in central Tel Aviv on Saturday night that drew a surprisingly large crowd of around 20,000.

Yesterday, appeals to the supreme court froze the plea bargain for at least 24 hours.

(via Vanessa at Feministing)