JERUSALEM (JTA) – Hundreds of rabbis and Jewish leaders have signed on to an online petition by Rabbis for Human Rights denouncing rabbinical defenders of former Israeli President Moshe Katsav.
Late last month, dozens of religious Zionist rabbis sent a letter of support to Katsav, who was convicted in December by a three-judge panel of “rape, sexual harassment, committing an indecent act while using force, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice.”
The Rabbis for Human Rights petition, which had nearly 400 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon, reads in part: "We find this rabbinical defense of a violent criminal to be shocking. It is shameful that these religious leaders staked their position in the name of Zionism and Judaism. To speak in this manner, as rabbis, is a hillul haShem, leading to a public denigration of Torah and Jewish tradition. Underlying their letter is a total disregard for the Israeli system of justice, a dismissal of a serious investigation, a willful rejection of a fair and careful trial process."
The letter to Katsav urges the ex-president to "be strong and continue to insist on the truth uncompromisingly," and to "fear not because the truth will come out. And even if it takes it’s time, it will be revealed, and all those who pursue lies will be ashamed." It also slammed the "poisonous media."