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Spotlight : Moshe Katsav.

... Israel's President Moshe Katsav announced in an emotional speech on Wednesday that he would take a leave of absence and fight what he called venomous allegations that he raped and sexually assaulted female employees. "I am not prepared to bow to blackmail," he saidKatsav said he had notified parliament he was suspending himself from his largely ceremonial duties ahead of what would be an unprecedented criminal indictment of an Israeli head of state. Parliament Speaker Dalia Itzik would temporarily fill in.Moshe Katsav was born in Yazd, Iran. His family brought him to Tehran when he was an infant; in August 1951, when he was 5, they immigrated to Israel. He remains fluent in the Persian language.Upon arriving in Israel, the Katsav family was ultimately dispatched to an immigrant tent-camp in Israel's south, inland from the port city of Ashdod. In the winter of 1951, severe flooding inundated the camp, and Moshe's 2-month old brother Zion was killed. Moshe and his family lived in a tent in the transit camp for 2 years. They then spent an additional 4 years in a 1-and-a-half room temporary hut. By then, the transit camp in which the Katsav's had been living had been transformed into the "development town" of Kiryat Malachi (Town of Angels, named after the donations from the Jewish community of Los Angeles which had helped make the town possible.)Katsav attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem beginning in 1968, and while studying taught history and mathematics in a high school. He graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and history.He has been married to his wife Gila since 1969, and the couple have 5 children and 2 grandchildren. After a 30-year career in banking, Gila has devoted herself to charity and volunteer work, especially in groups fighting domestic violence and promoting women's rights, and providing aid and services to disabled children and children from disadvantaged homes.Katsav joined the Likud party and at the age of 24 was elected the mayor of Qiryat Mal'akhi, a small town in Israel--the youngest mayor ever elected in Israel. He was subsequently elected as a Member of the Knesset. During his time in the Knesset, Prime Minister Menachem Begin sent Katsav to Iran twice to encourage the Jews there to immigrate to Israel.Under the governments of Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, Katsav served as the deputy Minister of Construction and Housing (1981-84). He was then served as the Minister of Labor and Welfare during the National Unity Government which served in the years 1984-88. During 1988-92 he served as the Transportation Minister under Yitzhak Shamir, and under Benjamin Netanyahu's government (1996-1999), he served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism.While serving as president, Mr Katsav enjoys immunity and can be put on trial only if he is impeached by parliament. He has said he would suspend himself from office if indicted. Katsav has been president since 2000 and is due to stand down in July. A*Spotlight : Moshe Katsav

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Jan 29, 2007
Words:518
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