Moshe Katzav - The Eighth President of the State of Israel
Date of Birth: December 5, 1945
Term as President: 2000-2007, served as the eighth President of the State of Israel
Education: Economics and history studies at the Hebrew University
Other Major Public Roles: Head of the Kiryat Malachi municipality, Labor and Welfare Minister, Transportation Minister, Tourism Minister, Deputy Prime Minister
Moshe Katzav was born in 1945 in the city of Yazd in Iran, to Gohar and Shmuel Katzav. At age one he moved with his family to the city of Tehran, and when he was five the family moved to Israel and was housed in the Shaar Aliyah transit camp near Haifa. From there the family moved to the Kastina transit camp, which later became the town of Kiryat Malachi. During the severe floods of 1951 the camp's tents collapsed and Katzav's baby brother died (another brother died in Iran). In 1969 he married Gila, nee Pardani. The two had four boys and a girl.
Over the years Katzav engaged in public and political activity until his election as President in 2000. President Katzav resigned from office in July 2007 following his indictment. In December 2010 Katzav was convicted at the Tel Aviv District Court of sex crimes including two counts of rape and charges of obstruction of justice. In March 2011 Katzav was sentenced to 7 years in prison, two years suspended sentence and monetary compensation. At this time his appeal is pending before the Supreme Court.
As a student at Hebrew University, Katzav was elected as the Chairman of the Likud-Liberals student cell. When only 24 he was elected as the head of the Kiryat Malachi municipal council and became the youngest head of a municipality in the country. In 1977 he was elected to the ninth Knesset on behalf of Likud and was the first head of a development town to be elected to Knesset. In the tenth Knesset he was appointed as Deputy Housing Minister and was put in charge of the neighborhood renovation project. In the 11th Knesset he was appointed as Minister of Labor and Welfare and in the 12th Knesset he was appointed as Transportation Minister and a member of the Ministers Committee on Foreign and Defense Affairs. In the 13th Knesset he was elected as chairman of the Likud Knesset delegation, and in the 14th Knesset he served as Deputy Prime Minister, Tourism Minister and Minister in charge of Israeli Arabs.
In the year 2000 he was elected as the eighth President of the State of Israel. The first years of his term were characterized by a moderate and stately approach. At the beginning of his presidency he declared that he would not pardon Yigal Amir, murderer of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Ahead of the implementation of the disengagement plan and following tumultuous protests throughout Israel, he gave a speech in August 2005 in which he praised the settlers of the Gush Katif and Northern Samaria regions, begged their forgiveness for their eviction from their homes and called on them to obey the law.
As mentioned above, in July 2007 Katzav resigned the presidency following his indictment.
Gila Katzav - Wife of Moshe Katzav, Eighth President of the State of Israel
Gila Katzav was born in 1948 in Tel Aviv. Her parents, Ben Zion and Rachel Pardani, were graduates of the Beitar movement in Poland and Ukraine. In 1969 she married Moshe Katzav. For thirty years, Mrs. Katzav combined family life, public activity and work at a bank and at the Bnei Brit organization. Mrs. Katzav was active over the years in welfare causes dear to her heart: Aiding distressed children, volunteer work in the "Yad Sarah" organization, and activity in women's organizations and organizations combating domestic violence. Mrs. Katzav continued this work during her years as First Lady.