Miri Regev’s spokesman resigns, days after reveal of ties to Gantz accuser

Miri Regev’s spokesman resigns, days after reveal of ties to Gantz accuser

But minister says Eli Sabti requested to step down months ago, playing down speculation he is leaving because of the Nava Jacobs affair

Culture Minister Miri Regev's outgoing spokesman Eli Sabti (Facebook image)
Culture Minister Miri Regev's outgoing spokesman Eli Sabti (Facebook image)

Culture Minister Miri Regev’s spokesperson Eli Sabti has announced his resignation, just days after an old post by Sabti revealed a connection between Regev’s office and a woman who accused Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz of sexual harassment.

Last month Nava Jacobs wrote in a Facebook post that Gantz had exposed himself to her some 40 years ago, when she was about 14 and he was several years older. Gantz flatly rejected the allegation, saying it was politically motivated and that he was taking legal action against Jacobs.

It later came to light that nearly a month before Jacobs published her post, Sabti alluded to Jacobs’ claims on social media. Responding to a post by Gantz’s party, Sabti wrote on January 31, “By the way: coming really soon, who exposed their penis to girls at Kfar Hayarok?”

Kfar Hayarok is the school where the incident allegedly took place.

Nava Jacobs (Facebook)

Once Sabti’s post was unearthed, Regev was pilloried with questions regarding her ties to Jacobs. Her office admitted it had been in contact with Jacobs, saying she had made contact regarding her claims, and that members of staff helped her contact a journalist as she sought to publicize her story.

Sabti, who has served as Regev’s spokesman for over two years, said on Thursday he was looking to “refresh” his career and “recalculate.” He made no mention of the Jacobs incident.

Regev in a statement apparently sought to dismiss speculation that Sabti’s departure was related to the Jacobs affair, and stressed that he had requested to leave several months ago, but that she had asked him to remain on board until after the election.

“I thank him for agreeing,” Regev said. “I also thank him for his significant professional contribution during his lengthy period of work.”

Culture Minister Miri Regev at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, November 8, 2018 (Alex Kolomoisky/Yedioth Ahronoth/Pool)

Gantz’s Blue and White party has said “the exposure of the connection between Miri Regev’s office and the false complaint by Nava Jacobs requires an immediate criminal investigation.

“There is a method here by [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and Regev where there aren’t any boundaries and nothing is sacred except for their political survival. We believe the public will show them that they have had enough of the Netanyahu-Regev system,” the party said.

In her Facebook post detailing her allegation, Jacobs 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.”

Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz speaks at a press conference in Tel Aviv on February 19, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

A Channel 13 report on the incident said no proof or supporting evidence for the allegation had been found.

In previous posts, Jacobs has expressed support for Netanyahu and opposition to Gantz’s partner at the helm of Blue and White, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.

read more: