Bad Comparison



Did The Jewish Week really mean to suggest that Moshe Dayan was a rapist?


That is sure what it sounded like in the opening of Joshua Mitnick’s story about the aftermath of President Katsav’s conviction in Israel (“After Katsav, An End to the Machismo Excuse?” Jan. 7).

Mitnick suggests that Dayan “might have found himself in jail” because of his “reputation as a womanizer” if he were alive today.

That is an absurd and dangerous assertion. Former President Moshe Katsav was convicted in a court of law of two counts of “forcible rape” — not womanizing. There’s a difference. Rape, in Israel and in the United States, has specific legal definitions that include a non-consensual sexual assault.

Womanizing, on the other hand, is not a crime, even though there are moral objections to it. It too has a generally accepted meaning, though perhaps not a legal definition. Dayan had a reputation as a seducer, but is there any evidence he even once forced a woman against her will?

One effect of your article was to minimize the charges against Katsav by suggesting that maybe all he was guilty of is a little illicit hanky-panky.

But rape is not womanizing. I hope The Jewish Week and its correspondent will correct this mistaken impression and write more carefully in future stories about Katsav, and in general.