The National Fraud Unit has opened an investigation into the claims of a woman who said she was sexually assaulted or abused by a senior Israeli minister 15 years ago, police announced Monday.
Police said they are treating the allegations as a serious matter, according to Channel 10, particularly because based on past instances the appearance of one complaint can lead to others. But since evaluations of her polygraph were inconsistent — while they determined that she was telling the truth they also found that she had a “tendency to lie” — police were treating the claim with skepticism.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein will wait to decide on filing criminal charges until police and the Justice Ministry have finished an investigation into the possibility of there being other victims and whether the statute of limitations applies to the case, according to Israel Radio.
Army Radio aired a recording of the complainant, who has still not been identified in the media, recounting the alleged incident.
“I got to the hotel and he told me which room he was in,” she said. “I went to the room, which wasn’t locked, and I saw him sitting on the far bed wearing a white robe and towel, and he said to me, ‘Come sit here next to me.’ I sat next to him and he said, ‘You are going to change my life.'”
Reports of Weinstein’s investigation and the allegations first surfaced Sunday.
The still-unnamed minister responded to the allegations saying, “This is political assassination. I have no idea what they’re talking about. I’ve never heard the woman’s name in my life.”
The Haaretz daily reported that the woman pressed charges against the minister a week ago. According to the paper, the allegations relate to “serious” sexual offenses.
The Justice Ministry said it was examining the veracity of the allegations, but would give no further details.
This is not the first case in which allegations of sexual misconduct have been directed against officials in Netanyahu’s administration.
In 2012 Natan Eshel, head of the Prime Minister’s Office, quit his post following a plea bargain in a sexual harassment case against him involving a female employee. Eshel admitted misconduct in the affair, despite the fact that the evidence presented was circumstantial. He cited the “heavy financial burden” to clear his name as a major factor in his decision, along with his age, his health and family considerations.