Jerusalem Moshe Katsav temporarily relinquished his powers as Israel's president Thursday, but defied demands from officials to quit outright and spare the nation more anguish over rape and sexual assault allegations leveled against him.
The accusations have sent shock waves even in a country accustomed to seeing its leaders embroiled in scandal.
A parliamentary committee on Thursday narrowly approved Katsav's request for a leave of absence of up to three months. Dozens of lawmakers, meanwhile, pressed ahead with a move to oust him.
The difference between suspension and outright removal from office is that as long as Katsav is even technically president, he enjoys immunity from prosecution.
Katsav, who insists he is the innocent victim of a conspiracy, says he won't quit unless he is formally indicted.