Israel convicts former justice minister of sex harassment

Israel convicts former justice minister of sex harassment

Certainly such behavior is very revolting in the first place, to say the least. No further comment!

JERUSALEM – The kiss lasted a few seconds. The morality play it inspired lasted more than six months, riveting Israelis and their legal system on a single question: Did she or didn’t she want it?

The drama ended Wednesday when the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court ruled that the plaintiff, a 21-year-old female army first lieutenant “did not flirt with the accused, did not initiate the kiss, and did not consent to it.”

With that, a three-judge panel convicted Haim Ramon, a founder of the prime minister’s Kadima party and an architect of his ruling coalition, of violating Israel’s sexual harassment law by committing an “indecent act” while he was justice minister.

The unanimous verdict, which could send the 56-year-old divorced man to prison for up to three years, jolted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s scandal-plagued government. Olmert had been confident enough in an acquittal that he was holding the justice post open for Ramon, who had resigned last August to face trial.

But the effect of the ruling went beyond politics. Some legal experts called it an advance for women’s advocates in Israel battling to redefine the boundaries between powerful men and the young women who work around them.

Others said the minister’s conviction was undeserved and would inspire an effort to soften one of the world’s toughest statutes against sexual misconduct.

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