President feels heat

JERUSALEM - Israel's President Moshe Katsav faced growing pressure yesterday to resign after prosecutors said they intended charging him with rape and other sexual offences against female employees.

JERUSALEM - Israel's President Moshe Katsav faced growing pressure yesterday to resign after prosecutors said they intended charging him with rape and other sexual offences against female employees.

Katsav will hold a news conference, his office said, to deliver his first public comments since details of a draft indictment were released by the justice ministry on Tuesday. Local media say he will take a leave of absence.

Allegations against the Iranian-born Katsav, whose rise from the slums has served as a shining example for disadvantaged Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, have stirred deep emotions in Israel, where the presidency is supposed to be a beacon of morality. - Reuters

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