Top minister under investigation for sex offenses

Woman claims she was abused 15 years ago; suspect: I’ve never heard of her, this is political assassination

Former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein (Photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein (Photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is investigating allegations that a senior Israeli minister sexually assaulted or abused a woman who was his subordinate several years ago, Channel 2 reported Sunday night.

The unnamed minister said in response: “This is political assassination. I have no idea what they’re talking about. I’ve never heard the woman’s name in my life.”

Haaretz reported that the woman pressed charges against the minister with police 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.

Even if the allegations are found to be credible, the case may not go to court due to the statute of limitations. Channel 2 reported that the alleged offenses occurred 15 years ago.

Weinstein will have to decide whether to order a formal criminal investigation, based on the credibility of the woman’s testimony and on whether the offense remains prosecutable.

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.

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