Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Monday ordered an investigation into a letter sent to the Prime Minister’s Office claiming that Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar was involved in a sex scandal and other inappropriate behavior, and urging that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not reappoint Sa’ar a minister.
The author of the letter, which was signed with the initials M.C., was ostensibly a woman who was the minister’s subordinate. According to the letter, she had an affair with Sa’ar and accuses him of having used his rank to take advantage of her and cause her lasting harm. The letter also accuses the minister of having illicit relations with a drunken minor at a nightclub and of carrying on an affair with another female politician.
The woman has denied writing the letter, raising speculation as to whether it may have been forged. Her father, reported to be a well-known Likud activist, told Channel 2 that he was glad the investigation was underway and that his daughter wasn’t the one who wrote the letter.
“It’s certainly a lie,” he said in a recorded interview that altered his voice. “We know our daughter, and it’s not her.” Asked if he’s happy about the investigation, he answered, “We hope that they find who faked this letter.”
The Attorney General’s Office was conducting a preliminary probe as per routine procedure, which dictates that it investigate all letters that reach Weinstein’s desk.
Police were also tasked Monday evening with determining if the letter was real or forged, if the letter’s accusations stand on solid ground, and if there’s a criminal basis for a case.
The Education Ministry had yet to comment on the letter.
Channel 2 News Monday evening cited senior Likud sources to the effect that behind the letter were rival Likud ministers who were trying to tarnish Sa’ar’s bright political future.
Sources close to Sa’ar also dismissed the letter, telling the Hebrew daily Haaretz that it was a smear tactic aimed at hurting his political standing. His associates, meanwhile, haven’t filed a complaint over the letter with the police.
Sa’ar was No. 2 in the Likud primaries, and entered the Knesset from the third spot on the party’s joint slate with the Yisrael Beytenu party. He ran the Likud-Beytenu election campaign, which saw the allied list garner only 31 seats, 11 fewer than the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu held between them in the outgoing Knesset. Sa’ar was the notable subject of criticism for ostensibly running a poor operation, and reportedly discomfited Netanyahu because his supporters referred to him as Israel’s next prime minister during the campaign season.
Sa’ar, 46, was divorced last summer and is now in a high-profile relationship with TV news anchor Geula Even.