[JURIST] Israeli President Moshe Katsav [official website; JURIST news archive] signed a plea agreement with prosecutors Thursday, under which he will admit to charges of indecent assault, sexual harassment, and obstruction of justice, and will resign from the presidency, in exchange for a suspended sentence and the dropping of rape charges [JURIST report] brought by a former employee. The plea agreement, announced by Attorney General Menahem Mazuz [official profile], was criticized by women's right activists as special treatment, but Mazuz defended the agreement as necessary to protect the office of the presidency from further injury and spare the country from embarrassment.
Several former employees have accused Katsav of sexual harassment, although their claims could not be pursued due to the statute of limitations. Acting President Dalia Itzik [official profile] will replace Katsav until his term of office expires on July 15, when Nobel laureate President-elect Shimon Peres [Nobel profile] assumes office. AP has more. Haaretz has local coverage.