Journalist accuses famed news anchor Haim Yavin of sexual misconduct

After alleging past harassment by top TV executive Alex Gilady, Neri Livneh says Channel 1’s former lead presenter also propositioned her in return for a job offer

Haim Yavin, January 3, 2013 (CC BY 2.0 via Wikipedia)
Haim Yavin, January 3, 2013 (CC BY 2.0 via Wikipedia)

After accusing a senior television executive of sexual harassment earlier this week, veteran Haaretz journalist Neri Livneh has now claimed sexual misconduct by a fabled news anchor.

Livneh told Kan Bet Radio (formerly Israel Radio) that Haim Yavin propositioned her during a work meeting in the 1980s, promising her an enticing job offer if she became “very, very good friends” with him.

Yavin, the famed anchor of Channel 1’s “Mabat” primetime newscast between 1968 and 2008 — who at the time also served in a top management position in the Israel Broadcasting Association — allegedly invited Livneh to a meeting, during which he detailed women whose careers he had helped advance.

“Then he told me ‘I have a great offer for you. If we become good friends, I mean very, very good friends–‘ and he added a wink in case I hadn’t understood, ‘I’ll have a great job for you,” Livneh said.

Yavin in response called the claim “nonsense,” saying “It never happened.”

Portrait of the journalist Neri Livneh

Yavin has been accused of sexual harassment in the past. In late 2016 two women accused the former TV presenter of repeatedly touching women inappropriately or commenting on their bodies during his time in the IBA.

The accusations surfaced after Yavin said in an interview with the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that the atmosphere in the past “was much freer… If you’d say something, or tap or hug or even kiss, it was semi-legitimate. Today we’d all be accused of harassment. But I preferred the way women reacted back then. If you pinched a woman’s ass, she’d slap you. Today, they go running to a lawyer. I’m for giving a slap and ending it at that.”

On Monday Livneh said Alex Gilady, president of the Keshet Broadcasting group, exposed himself to her during a meeting at his home years ago.

In an interview with Channel 10, Livneh recalled that Gilady, then 56, contacted her in 1999 when she was 45 and asked her to meet with him over an important proposal he had for her.

Livneh said her expectations were high that Gilady was going to offer her a position hosting a television show. During the course of the evening Gilady took her out for coffee and then dinner, all the while introducing her to socialites and his acquaintances from the top echelons of Israeli media whom they met along the way. At some point, Gilady asked her to accompany him to his private villa, saying he wanted to watch a television show that was due to be broadcast.

She agreed. When they arrived, she said, he went upstairs and then returned wearing a robe over his shirt and tie but without his pants on.

According to Livneh, Gilady then opened the robe, exposing his penis, and told her to “talk to it.”

Livneh said she chose to speak up about the incident in support of Channel 10 anchor Oshrat Kotler, who last week told viewers she received an “indecent proposal” 25 years ago from Gilady, when he was CEO of Keshet.

A 2009 portrait of Alex Gilady. (Photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash 90)
A 2009 portrait of Alex Gilady (Abir Sultan/Flash 90)

Gilady had initially contacted her with an offer to present a morning show, Kotler said. After rebuffing his entreaties to take her to dinner and telling him she was married, he said, “What does that have to do with it? Don’t you know how you move up in Hollywood?”

Kotler, who said she did not consider the incident with Giladi harassment but insisted it was still “indecent,” said she did not speak up earlier because she was worried about the possible impact the revelation would have on her career.

She immediately told him to cover himself up and demanded that he order her a cab to take her home. Instead, he called his private driver. During the ride from the villa, Livneh said, the driver turned to her and noted that she was returning home sooner than he expected, as “it usually takes a lot longer.”

Gilady has not denied Livneh’s report, but has said he was within his rights.

“What adults do in their home, their private homes, within the framework of personal relationships is their private business,” he said.

Regarding Kotler’s claims, Giladi said he did not recall having spoken to her in the manner that she alleged.

Stuart Winer contributed to this report.

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