Would-be prime minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday flatly rejected claims by a US-based Israeli woman that he exposed himself in front of her some 40 years ago, when she was 14 and he was some years older.
Gantz’s Blue and White party dismissed the allegation, posted by Navarone Jacobs in a Facebook post earlier in the day, as a complete lie, and said the former IDF chief of staff was taking legal action against her. It said the allegation was plainly politically motivated.
Jacobs alleged in the (Hebrew) post that the incident took place when they were both at central Israel’s Kfar Hayarok youth village, a school which includes rooming for some students.
She said Gantz approached her in a cowshed, unzipped his pants and exposed himself, that she felt herself to be in danger, and that a friend then appeared and pulled him away. She said in the post that the incident “ruined my life.”
The allegation was heavily discussed on social media during Wednesday, but only reported in mainstream media after Gantz responded with the denial.
Jacobs posted a letter she had received from Gantz’s lawyers dismissing the allegation as a baseless lie, but vowed she would not be silenced.
A Channel 13 report on the incident said no proof or supporting evidence for the allegation had been found.
It noted that in late December, Jacobs alleged in a post that “Benny Gantz would expose himself” to women at Kfar Hayarok and urged them to come forward because “now is the time to speak!!! Pedophile, he’s no angel and he did despicable things at Kfar Hayarok, as a youth.”
Asked in a response to that post at the time whether she had studied with Gantz, she replied, “I studied at Kfar Hayarok and I heard stories.”
Speaking to Hebrew TV channels on Wednesday, Jacobs said her claim was “completely true,” that it had been difficult to write, and that she had “nothing to gain” by coming forward. She protested that women had been posting against her on her page “in such a disgusting way.”
“I had to bring the truth out because I love the state of Israel and don’t believe a man like this can even sit in the government of Israel,” she said tearfully.
In previous posts, Jacobs has expressed support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition to Gantz’s partner at the helm of Blue and White, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.
Gantz’s party protested that “yesterday it was the cemetery” — a reference to a Likud video clip on Tuesday that called Gantz “dangerous” and used a picture of an IDF military cemetery — “and today it is lies about him in the 1970s.”
The Likud said in a statement that it had nothing to do with the Jacobs allegation.