A day after presidential runner-up MK Meir Sheetrit surprised pundits by garnering 53 Knesset votes in the election, a hushed-up lawsuit and claims the candidate had sexually harassed his housekeeper emerged Wednesday.
According to a Channel 10 report, the employee, Y., had worked for the Sheetrits for a year and four months in 2012. After being fired, she turned to an attorney to sue her former employers — both Meir and Ruth Sheetrit — with a slew of charges, including accusing the Knesset member of several instances of sexual harassment.
Both sides ultimately resolved that Sheetrit would compensate Y. with NIS 270,000 ($78,000), that she would drop the charges,.and that neither side would reveal the details of the incidents, and would be subject to a NIS 250,000 ($72,000) fine if they did.
Shortly after the deal was brokered, police tracked down Y., amid rumors of the MK’s infractions. Y. refused to cooperate with the investigation, and no charges were filed against Sheetrit.
The attorney general told the TV station that two weeks ago the allegations were brought to his attention, but that in confronting Sheetrit, the presidential candidate denied that the complaint alleged sexual harassment. “There were no sexual claims. There is no sexual issue,” he reportedly said.
“No police investigation has ever been opened against MK Sheetrit,” a statement from Sheetrit’s attorney said. “MK Sheetrit was not asked to testify and/or asked to address these false claims before investigators,” and no criminal proceedings were considered in this case, it said.
The latest allegations follow a presidential campaign rife with purported impropriety. Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer dropped out of the race a few days before the election after being investigated for financial misconduct and last month, Energy Minister Silvan Shalom chose not to run for the presidency in the wake of allegations of sexual impropriety; the allegations were not substantiated.
Israel’s eight president, Moshe Katsav, is currently serving time in jail for rape.