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Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav will learn Tuesday whether he will go to jail on a rape conviction in a case that has already made history in Israel.

The former head of state is the highest-ranking Israeli official ever to be convicted of a crime. He faces up to 16 years in prison.

His conviction was seen as a victory for the Israeli legal system and for women's rights in a decades-long struggle to chip away at the nation's macho culture, which once permitted political and military leaders great liberties. At the same time, it left some Israelis equally saddened to see a symbol of the state tarnished.

Katsav was convicted in December of two counts of raping an employee when he was tourism minister in 1998. The court also convicted him of sexual harassment against two other women who worked for him when he was president, from 2000 to 2007.

The presidency is a mostly ceremonial position in Israel, traditionally given to elder statesmen as a reward for a lifetime of public service.

Details surfaced in 2006 when Katsav complained that a female employee was trying to blackmail him. The woman went to police with her side of the story, listing a series of alleged sexual assaults. Other women later came forward with other complaints of sexual abuse by Katsav.


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