Yossi Beilin, the former head of the left-wing Meretz Party, says ex-president Moshe Katsav should receive a pardon from President Shimon Peres. He's no fan of Katsav. As a liberal defender of human rights, he doesn't believe Katsav's actions are excusable. The only reason he thinks there should be a pardon is because he's our former president, and "Israel doesn't deserve a president in jail".
Well, Dr. Beilin, Israel does deserve a president in jail, both as a punishment and as a reward. Israel deserves to be punished for having a political system in which rapists can be elected to the highest office for political reasons. In 2000, when he was elected president, politicians knew Katsav was a sexual predator, a man prone to sexual harassment at the very least. Haaretz reported this week that when Katsav was still just a member of the Knesset, Ariel Sharon warned a young female journalist not to go to Katsav for a report on politicians courting the Russian vote. The guy is too dangerous for a woman to visit, but he can be elected president?
Israel also deserves to be rewarded for eventually bringing the truth to light, despite Katsav being the head of state and the national embarrassment that came with the revelations. Israel needs to show itself, as well as the world, that nobody is above the law.
More important than all this, though, is the fact that Moshe Katsav himself needs to be punished. Some claim that his public service should be taken into consideration, leading to a reduced sentence. It is the exact opposite. Katsav abused his public offices through the years, and thus should be punished more severely.