Former MK investigated for alleged harassment

Former MK investigated for alleged harassment

Michael Ratzon, who served as a deputy minister, is suspected of verbally and physically tormenting a number of female employees

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Former MK Michael Ratzon (Courtesy of Israel Knesset official website)
Former MK Michael Ratzon (Courtesy of Israel Knesset official website)

A former MK — who served as deputy industry, trade and labor minister — was questioned by police Sunday on suspicion of several accounts of sexual harassment.

Michael Ratzon’s alleged assaults mostly included verbal intimidation of his female employees, although one woman claimed she was physically harassed as well.

Ratzon, who served in the Knesset in 1996 and from 2003-2006, immediately denied the allegations and told Ynet that “this is a planned, organized and baseless attack, designed solely to prevent the extension of my tenure at my place of work.”

The former Likud MK, who is the current chairman of NTA — the Metropolitan Tel Aviv Mass Transit System — asserted that a number of Israel Railways employees were behind the accusations. Ratzon himself requested that the details of his questioning be known to the public; he claimed he had “nothing to hide” and was willing to work together with the police in order to clear his name.

“I’m fully cooperating with the law-enforcement agencies, including an agreement on my behalf to undertake a polygraph test,” said Ratzon. “I am determined to not only protect my good name and my integrity, but mainly to reveal the motive, reason, and timing of these large-scale complaints made against me at this time.”

Yuval Sasson, Ratzon’s attorney, told Ynet that he, too, believes the accusations were planned. “The complaints, whose authenticity is now being investigated by the police, are part of a wide case of persecution against my client,” Sasson said.

“There is unequivocal evidence that disproves the claims against my client. I am certain he will not have to further prove his innocence in a court of law, as the investigation will soon be closed,” added Sasson.

Since the start of Ratzon’s investigation, he has repeatedly been called in for questioning, according to Ynet.

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