Eighth President of the State of Israel 2000-2007
Born in Byzad, Iran, Moshe Katsav came to Israel in 1951 during the early aliyot of the new state, to live in a tent camp in Kastina, until the immigrants were resettled in the new town of Kiryat Malachi, where he grew up.
After reaching rank of corporal in the Communication Corps during his military service, Katsav studied Economics and History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was a student activist and leader, becoming a journalist for the Yediot Ahronot newspaper. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Nebraska.
Moshe Katsav entered local politics in elections for the Mayorship of Kiryat Malachi, which he won in 1969, and he also held this position from 1974-1981. He was first elected to the 9th Knesset in 1977 as a member of the Likud party and has held ministerial posts since 1981, together with Knesset committee positions and Knesset faction leadership. He has also held various other public offices:
10th Knesset - Deputy Minister of Housing and Construction
11th Knesset - Minister of Labor and Social Welfare
12th Knesset - Minister of Transportation
14th Knesset - Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of Tourism
Moshe Katsav was voted President in the Israeli Knesset by 63 votes to 57, in a second round of voting on July 31st 2000, the first time a Likud candidate had won the Presidency.
In 2006, a criminal investigation began against Katsav on suspicion of sexual offenses; as it progressed, he declared himself temporarily unable to fulfil his responsibilities and Dalia Itzik, the Knesset Speaker, became acting President. The investigation made ongoing headlines and Katsav resigned in July 2007.
The Israeli Presidential term is seven years. The post is largely ceremonial.