Hello, France: Welcome to Israel's Katsav-ian Nightmare

The French public is wrestling with the arrest a man who sat proudly on the top of the ladder of prestige and privilege, who is supposed to represent their country to the world and bring it pride.

Instead, they are wallowing in the sordid details of his alleged sexual attack on a maid in a $3,000-a-night New York hotel room, and the possibility that he had previously taken advantage of his status and privileges to exploit women. The New York Times reports on the “soul-searching” taking place among the French:

That description sounds very familiar to Israelis, who have been carrying around that particular cocktail for several years now, when the rape charges against former President Moshe Katsav were first announced in 2007.

So does this part of the Times report:

This history, together with the fact that Strauss-Kahn plans to plead ‘not guilty’ leads me to the conclusion that the French are heading directly for a very Katsav-esque experience. In the Katsav case, court testimony — and media interviews — painted a roadmap of how a man who feels his status, success and importance entitles him to sexual access to any woman in vicinity who catches his interest, whether or not she is interested.

Like the French, Israeli politicians traditionally have enjoyed an environment in which infidelity, even when admitted, does not disqualify one for the corridors of power. The problem with a society in which such behavior is tolerated, the line between harmless, consensual hijinks and criminal sexual harassment and assault becomes blurred.

If the French want to look on the bright side, they can comfort themselves with the fact that this occurred before his run for the presidency, and that, unlike Israelis, they will not have to watch their sordid episode of “Law and Order: SVU” play itself out against the national symbol of prestige that is their President’s residence. Now the shame officially belongs to the International Monetary Fund, not to the French nation.

And finally, yes — unfortunately — what anyone who hears his name would imagine is true. The embattled politician is most definitely Jewish. The London Jewish Chronicle took a tongue-in-cheek look at his Judaism following his last sex scandal in 2008:

No, definitely not helpful …

Recommend this article

Hello, France: Welcome to Israel's Katsav-ian Nightmare

Thank you!

This article has been sent!