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October 29, 2006

Israeli president advised to step down

Israeli president advised to step down – Wikinews, the free news source

Israeli president advised to step down

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Moshe Katsav 2003-05-11 cropped.jpg

Incumbent Israeli President Moshe Katsav has been advised by his attorney-general, Menachem Mazuz, to step down from his presidential duties and to hand over control of the country whilst police investigate allegations that he raped and sexually molested several female employees. The President denies the allegations.

Mazuz has issued the advisory to the president after police recommended filing charges of rape, sexual assault and fraud against the President after finding evidence to support the charges.

The advisory asks the President to “consider suspending himself from duty by asking parliament to declare him temporarily incapacitated”. Mazuz also commented that a trial would require Katsav to stand down pending a verdict. The justice ministry said “…it would be against procedure and propriety for the president to continue in office,” after an indictment had been brought against him.

Katsav, however, has refused to give up his leadership and has said that he is innocent of any and all allegations against him.

“The president reiterates and emphasizes that he is a victim to a low plot spun against him and sooner or later it will be proven that the allegations against him are false stories and a lie, and the truth will be brought to light,” said a statement released by Katsav’s office.

“The president trusts his righteousness and innocence totally. The authorities must wait until the end of the investigation and for the attorney-general’s final stand,” added the statement.

The justice ministry is currently compiling the evidence against Katsav and deciding whether it warrants a prosecution. If the case is pursued, it would be the first prosecution of an incumbent Israeli president on felony charges. The president’s office has declined to comment.

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January 27, 2006

Former German president Johannes Rau dies at 75

Filed under: Archived,Berlin,Europe,Germany,Knesset,Moshe Katsav,Obituaries — admin @ 5:00 am

Former German president Johannes Rau dies at 75

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Johannes Rau 1931-2006

Former German president Johannes Rau has died on Friday morning in his home in Berlin at the age of 75, his office announced. Rau had been president of Germany from 1999 till 2004. He had a heart disease for a long time and had to undergo twice a surgery after leaving office. He is survived by his wife and their three children.

Rau was born on January 16, 1931 in Wuppertal. He first joined the Gesamtdeutsche Volkspartei in 1952. After the party had been dissolved, he followed his political mentor Gustav Heinemann to the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). He was elected member of the state legislature of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1958 and became governor of the state in 1978. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the chancellorship in 1987. He resigned as governor in 1998 when his party promised to nominate him for the presidential elections. During his presidency, Rau became the first German head of state to speak in the Israeli Knesset.

Tributes

His successor, president Horst Köhler, ordered that a state funeral for Rau be held on February 7. He said Germany “has lost a distinctive politician, a great president and a man who made the world more humane.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany “has lost an exceptional personality”.

The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Jürgen Rüttgers, called Rau a “great governor” to whom the state and its people owe a great deal.

SPD chair Matthias Platzeck said the Social Democrats lost “an irreplaceable friend, who was one of the most outstanding and popular politicians of our country. […] We will miss him.”

Israeli president Moshe Katsav called Rau a “great friend of the Jewish people and of the state of Israel”.

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April 11, 2005

Israeli president shakes hands with leaders of Syria, Iran at Pope\’s funeral

Israeli president shakes hands with leaders of Syria, Iran at Pope’s funeral

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Monday, April 11, 2005

In controversial reporting by the Israeli media, Moshe Katsav, the President of Israel, reportedly shook hands with two Mideastern leaders, the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Syrian President Bashar Assad, during his trip to the Pope’s funeral on April 8. If true, it is a notable incident and the first time leaders of the two anti-Zionist nations of Iran and Syria have ever shaken hands with an Israeli leader.

Syria is still technically in a decades-old state of war with Israel since an end to it was never officially declared. Peace talks between the two countries broke down in March 2000 when Bashar Assad’s father, Hafez Assad, rejected a peace proposal of former US President Bill Clinton. Since Hafez Assad’s death in June 2000, peace talks have not resumed.

Iran has had no diplomatic relations with either Israel or the United States since their Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The three leaders were seated near each other while observing the funeral by a coincidence of their alphabetical listing. “The Syrian president sat in the chair behind me … we exchanged smiles and shook hands,” said Katsav, according to the website of Israel’s Maariv newspaper.

Katsav also claims he later shook hands and spoke with Khatami and Assad during the traditional Christian service exchange of peace. Katsav and Khatami, both born in the Iranian city of Yazd, share the Persian Farsi language. Katsav reportedly said when leaving, “the Iranian president held his hand out to me. I shook his hand and greeted him in Farsi.”

Upon Khatami’s return to Iran, he denied the handshake ever occurred, saying “These allegations are false like all the other allegations made by the Israeli media and I have not had any meeting with a personality from the Zionist regime,” according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. “As reiterated time and again, we do not morally and logically recognize Israel which was created based on force and usurpation.”

He continued with “[Iran] would not do anything against the Middle East peace plans …but the world should know that as long as the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people are not recognized, these peace plans will not achieve anything’.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, a member of Assad’s entourage did confirm on Friday night that a handshake with Katsav occurred, and reported this quote by a Syrian Army Radio source saying “the gesture was an expression of manners and has no political significance.” Katsav also told Israeli Channel 2 News on Friday evening that his handshakes with Assad and Khatami were merely polite gestures and had no implications for the relationships between their countries.

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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