KATZAV, Moshe

Moshe Katsav was born on December 5, 1945 in Yazd, Iran. His family immigrated to Israel when he was five years old. Once they had reached the Jewish territory, he and his family had to settle in a transit camp for two years.

He studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem dice 1968 and taught history and mathematics at the same time in a high school. He graduated in 1971.

In 1969 he married Gila Katsav and is now the father of 5 children and the grandfather of two grandchildren.

He joined the Likud at the age of 24 and was elected mayor of Kiryat Mal’akhi, the town in which he grew up.

In 1977, he was elected member of the Knesset and was then mended twice by President Menachem Begin in Iran to encourage Jews in Iran to migrate to Israel.

He was appointed minister in the government of Begin, Yitzhak Sahmir (1981-1983) and Benjamin Netanyahu (1996-1999). He successively held the posts of Minister of Housing, Minister of Labor and Welfare, Minister of Transport and Minister of Tourism.

Katzav took over the presidency to Benjamin Netanyahu. He was elected by the Knesset in July 2000 against the candidate Shimon Peres.

He is the first Israeli president elected for a term of seven years and the first one to be member of Likud. He is as well the second non-Ashkenazi chairman, and the first to be born in an Islamic country.

On April 8 2005, at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, Katsav is sitted next to Iranian President Mohamed Khatami (born in Yazd as well). He declared having shook hands with the Iranian president and having spoken in Persian to him . The latter belies his remarks by saying « I firmly deny having shook hands, met or spoken with the Israeli president. This announcement is like any other unfounded statement of Zionist media ».

In 2006, Katsav is accused of having sexually harassed a dozen women. This case occurred only a few days after the resignation of Minister of Justice Haim Ramon also involved in a case of sexual harassment. Katsav was asked to resign. Continuing to deny the accusations that were made, he said he he would resign if indicted. He submitted his letter of resignation on June 29, 2007, fifteen days before the end of his term and left office on 1 July 2007. Shimon Peres is elected as his successor by the Knesset on June 13, 2007.