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Katzav awaits Knesset verdict

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Katzav awaits Knesset verdict

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Members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, are debating today whether to let president Moshe Katzav take a leave of absence while he faces sex abuse charges. Most Israelis want the president to resign, according to opinion polls.

The 25 member Knesset Affairs comittee is considering the offer made by an angry Katzav at a press conference yesterday.

The head of state is accused of raping four women as well as other charges including abuse of power and accepting illegal gifts. He insists he is innocent.

Israeli media say Katzav’s offer of temporary leave will not be enough to satisfy the Knesset committee. A majority of the members want him to quit the presidency now. The president loses his immunity from criminal prosecution when he leaves office.