15 thoughts on “Justice Minister Ramon Guilty of Sexual Harrassment, Haaretz Claims It’s Much Ado About Nothing – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Try to at least get the story right. Haim Ramon was NOT convicted of sexual harrasement. He was convicted of committing indecent behavior. There is a difference. A few non-Israeli news souces made the same mistake.

  2. Haim Ramon was NOT convicted of sexual harrasement.

    So “indecent behavior” in the form of kissing an unwilling subordinate in the workplace is NOT sexual harrassment? Excuse me, but where I come from that’s precisely what it’s called. Merriam Webster:

    sexual harrassment: uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate

    I don’t get the distinction you’re trying to create.

  3. I’m not trying to protect Haim Ramon. I’m just saying you should get the facts straight. As you said, where you come from there may be no distinction (I don’t know if there is). Merriam Webster doesn’t help us in this case either. Where Haim Ramon comes from (Israel) there is a crime called sexual harrasement (hatrada minit) and one called Indecent act (ma’ase meguna). Haim Ramon was convicted of the latter. So your headline is factually incorrect. Even the article from Ha’Aretz that you quote, quotes the judges verdict “a kiss on the mouth with the tongue that is non-consensual is clearly a sexual offense that needs no proof. We are not dealing with sexual harassment, not with a gray area… but rather with an intrusive, damaging and humiliating act… a kiss that is non-consensual arouses repulsion, disgust, revulsion.”

  4. I feel a headline that says “Ramon convicted of indecent act” would mean almost nothing to most of my readers. However, since everyone here understands what sexual harrassment is I used that term. Merrian Webster may not help in yr understanding of the term, but it does just fine by me. It will tell you how the term is generally understood here in the U.S. If you choose to ignore that or say it’s irrelevant to you, that’s yr perogative.

    As for the citation fr. the judges’ opinion, until you pointed it out I found that phrase “we are not dealing with sexual harrassment” to be completely opaque. I don’t know how the original Hebrew read, but if Haaretz’s translation is precise (as often it is not), then the judges were inapt. They should’ve written “We are not dealing MERELY with sexual harrassment…” That would’ve made more sense linguistically.

    Also, what does it mean when the judges say that sexual harrassment is a “gray area” of human behavior? I assure them that in American law sexual harrassment is a quantifiable legal term based on physical acts & not merely on verbal interpretations or gradations of emotion.

  5. “I assure them that in American law sexual harrassment is a quantifiable legal term”
    In Israel also. Haim Ramon was not charged or convicted of sexual harrasement.
    I think the proper English term would be lewd or lascivious act. I’m sure your readers would inderstand that, and it would be more accurate.

  6. May I suggest that perhaps the Haaretz newspaper and the Israeli media in general is more lenient on Haim Ramon because Haim is of the political persuasion of most of the media, and particular Haaretz, that being left wing. Moshe Katsav on the other hand, being a former likud member, is on the wrong side of the political fence, therefore deserving of much harsher treatment in the media.

  7. May I suggest that perhaps…the Israeli media…is more lenient on Haim Ramon because Haim is of the political persuasion of most of the media, and particular Haaretz, that being left wing. Moshe Katsav on the other hand, being a former likud member, is on the wrong side of the political fence

    You can suggest it, but I don’t think it would be true. First, Ramon isn’t especially well-liked by a lot of people. He rubs people the wrong way. He’s arrogant. He’s cold. He’s ambitious. I don’t think the media have any great sympathy for him or what he did.

    Second, you mean you don’t feel raping a woman is a tad more serious an offense than kissing one? I’d say Katsav is in danger of serious jail time because he’s a serial abuser & rapist, while Ramon, as far as we know, merely kissed a woman once against her will. There IS a difference.

  8. The Haim Ramon case is more complex, IMHO, there is more than meets the eye. You’re correct in saying he is not well liked by many people. That’s even an understatement. Many feel he destroyed the labor union Histadrut when he was head of it. He was one of the people behind the “targil masriach” or “stinky deal” which was supposed to oust Shamir from the union gov’t with Peres and bring Peres to power, but it had the opposite result. He was one of the people behind the formation of kadima. When appointed to the ministry of justice he promised far reaching reforms. I’m sure not everyone there was too excited about that. The last one to promise reforms was Yaakov Neeman. Shortly after he was appointed he was indicted on some bogus charge and was forced to resign (see a pattern here). He was acquited but never returned to the justice ministry. Now, Haim Ramon is charged with an unlawful kiss. All the people that must now decide his fate, (attorney general, judges etc) are essentially deciding if Ramon will be returning to rule over them. Acquit – Ramon returns. Find guilty – Ramon does not return. I don’t generally believe in conspiracies – but at the very least there is a conflict of interests here (which i don’t know how to avoid.) Daniel Friedman, who is the new justice Minister said that the process leading to the decision to charge a minister for a crime for whom to date no one has been charged with (a supposition which might not be true) should itself be investigated. Just food for thought.

  9. THanks for making me aware of the intricate & complex inter-relationships among the Justice minister, judges & prosecuting attorneys. There is much to ponder regarding Ramon’s prosecution in that regard. It seems much if not everything in Israeli politics has hidden undercurrents of behind the scenes manipulation and so on.

    But I still think the kiss is something that deserved serious punishment.

    Fr. what I’ve read of Friedman, even his appointment by Olmert was meant as a slap at those who prosecuted & convicted Ramon. So the endless cycle of backroom manuvering & underhanded manipulation seems to continue unfortunately.

    I don’t mean to say that any country, including my own doesn’t have the same type of skulduggery in its politics. But Israel seems to have a little more of it than most.

  10. The justice ministry (judges etc) seem to be devided into two camps. Barak/Beinish and the opposition. Friedman is like the head of the oposition. As though Olmert said, you don’t want Ramon you get something ten times “worse”. (BTW I’m in favor). Some background can be found here: http://benchorin.blogspot.com/2006/11/amnon-rubinsteins-interview-in.html and here http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1162378332165&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull.
    I don’t comparisons between countries are fair since there are too many variables.

  11. Ramon was found guilty of clauses included in the “hok lmeniyat hatrada minit” , a law actually quite advanced in comparison to similar laws in other countries. The law opens up certain tracks for intervention. A victim (survivor) can select one or more tracks, one of them the criminal track, by filing a complaint against the perpetrator. But she could also go to the “:memuna” at her place of work.
    Thus Ramon was in fact legally guilty of sexual harassment as well as lewd behavior or an indecent act: all terms are valid in this case: Either according said law or according to the criminal code “maase megune”.
    The tendency of the law for the prevention of sexual harassment is to define the act itself as “objectification” (hahfatza) and the circumstances to define the actual legal definition of the crime.
    This approach, as suggested by e.g. Dr. Orit Kamir (who was among the team who wrote the text of the law leminiyat hatrada minit) defines Ramon’s behaviour as both sexual harassment AND lewd behavior.

  12. Thanks for confirming, Yuyume, that I was right all along in characterizing the crime Ramon was found guilty of as “sexual harrassment.” I’m glad I didn’t change the title of this post at Amir’s urging. It just goes to show you that some people like him are convinced of their superior knowledge on certain subjects, but their faith in their own knowledge isn’t always justified.

  13. No, you weren’t right all along. Ramon was not found giulty of “clauses included in the “hok lmeniyat hatrada minit” .” Ramon was convicted of article 348 gimel of the criminal code which is an indecent act under clause “hey” (סימן ה) which are sex crimes. Sources (in Hebrew): http://elyon1.court.gov.il/heb/dover/4787475.doc and http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/%D7%97%D7%95%D7%A7_%D7%94%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%9F.
    The sexuall harrasment law is intended for labor court and civil suits. It includes an indecent act. IF the victim WERE to sue Ramon for sexual harrasment she may or may not win. If she were to win then she could claim damages. As it is, that has not has happened. Therefore it is still a fact that Ramon was convicted an indecent act and not sexual harrasment. This is what Dr. Orit Kamir (who yuyume quotes) has to say
    “אבל במקרהו של רמון לא הוגשה תביעה אזרחית ולא נפתחו הליכים במקום עבודה או בבית דין משמעתי, ולכן התביעה הפלילית שהוגשה נגדו היא על פי חוק העונשין ולא על פי החוק למניעת הטרדה מינית. ”
    source: http://www.notes.co.il/orit/24210.asp
    Ironically, Haaretz made the same mistake and corrected it after talk back comments (comment number 49 made the same argument as yuyume – apparently haaretz wasn’t convinced) . http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/821272.html?more=1
    For the original, uncorrected title see the links at the bottom of this page: http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/819882.html?more=1

  14. Yuyume is an experienced Israeli social worker quite knowledgeable about sexual discrimination laws in the Israeli context. I trust her implicitly. I don’t have the time to delve into the Hebrew sources you provide. But the two of you can argue this bet. you & I await her response w. great interest.

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