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Moshe Katsav

(1945 - )

Moshe Katzav is an Israeli politician and former President of the State of Israel.

Katzav (born December 5, 1945) was born in Iran and came to Israel with his parents in 1951. The eldest of eight children, he grew up in the new immigrant tent camp (and later development town) of Kiryat Malachi. Katzav graduated from the Ben-Shemen Agricultural School and Beer Tuvia and following his military service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), he received a degree in Economics and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Katsav served as president of Young B'nai Brith in Kiryat Malachi and wrote for the "Yediot Aharonot" daily. He was chairman of the Likud student council at the Hebrew University. First elected Mayor of Kiryat Malachi in 1969 as a 24-year old student, he was Israel's youngest mayor. He served as mayor of Kiryat Malachi also from 1974-81.

First elected to the Knesset in 1977 on the Likud Party ticket, Katzav served on the Knesset Committee on Interior Affairs and the Environment, and the Committee on Education and Culture. He also served as chairman of the Knesset Members' Lobby for Development Towns. Katsav later served as Deputy Minister of Housing and Construction (1981-84), Minister of Labor and Social Affairs (1984-88), and Minister of Transport (1988-92). In the 13th Knesset (1992-96) he was chairman of the Likud Faction in the Knesset, member of the Knesset House Committee and chairman of the Israel-China parliamentary friendship league.

From 1996 to 1999, Katsav served as Minister of Tourism and Deputy Prime Minister. On August 1, 2000, he was sworn in as eighth President of the State of Israel.

In January 2007, Israel's Attorney General announced that he was considering charging Katzav with rape, sexual harassment, breach of trust, obstruction of justice, harassment of a witness and fraud stemming from a case involving the President and a female staffer. As President, however, Katzav was immune from prosecution and it was not until after his resignation in July 2007 that the charges against him could be processed. In March 2009, Katzav was officially indicted for rape and other sexual offenses. The trial lasted more than a year and in December 2010, a panel of three judges unanimously found Katzav guilty of "rape, sexual harassment, committing an indecent act while using force, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice."

On March 22, 2011, Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison and two years probation, becoming the first former President of Israel to be sentenced to prison. In addition, he was ordered to pay one of the women involved in the case compensation totaling 100,000 shekels and another a sum of 25,000 shekels.

Katsav is married and has five children.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry; Wikipedia; Photo used with permission of the Knesset