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Elazar Stern drops Jewish Agency candidacy amid controversy

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid (R) with MK Elazar Stern at a press conference in Tel Aviv, on January 18, 2015. (Ben Kelmer/FLASH90)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid (R) with MK Elazar Stern at a press conference in Tel Aviv, on January 18, 2015. (Ben Kelmer/FLASH90)

Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern withdraws his candidacy for Jewish Agency chairman, following a controversy over comments he made earlier this week.

Stern said during a radio interview on Sunday that he had “shredded many anonymous complaints” during his time as head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate. He was responding to a question about an anonymous complaint lodged recently against the incoming head of the Shin Bet, with the conversation clearly focusing on claims of sexual assault.

In a damage control bid, Stern toured the major networks on Sunday evening, apologizing if his remarks had caused offense, and said that while he had shredded anonymous complaints, they were never over sexual assault.

But two ex-soldiers later told Hebrew media he ignored their sexual assault claims.

Stern announces he’s dropping his Jewish Agency bid in a Facebook post.

“I apologize to anyone who has been hurt or offended by what I said and the interpretation given [to my words], and apologize to my family, who is standing firmly by me despite the difficulty. I will continue to do my best, wherever I may be, to ensure a better future for the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” he writes.

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