While Katsav can appeal the ruling, the minimum sentence for a rape conviction in Israel is four years, and the boundary or maximum imprisonment for rape crimes is 16 years.
He was the president of Israel between 2000 and 2007. Katsav was accused of physical assault and harassment by three former assistants. He was also convicted of obstructing justice. He has denied all charges against him.
PM (Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to respond the the court's ruling. “The court today delivered two clear messages, one being that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law and the second being the right of every woman to be in control of her own body,” Netanyahu said in a text message to Bloomberg's reporter Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem.
This is an unprecedented conviction and sentencing for a former head of state in Israel. Katsav now can appeal the decision before the Israeli Supreme Court. The scandal had prompted Katsav to resign without consequence for Israeli politics. The role of presidency in Israel is largely ceremonial. The charges, however, shocked the Israelis, as the president is supposed to be a model of morality. Shimon Peres succeeded Katsav and is the current president of the country.
Moshe Katsav is the second president of Israel to leave the office prematurely. His predecessor, Ezer Weizman, stepped down in 2000 after it was revealed that he accepted money from businessmen and had not reported it to the authorities.