Veteran journalist alleges Tommy Lapid assaulted her in London in 1963

Sylvie Keshet claims ex-minister pushed her to the floor and ripped her dress, before she ‘kneed him where it hurts’ and sent him a bill for the torn garment

Tommy Lapid reporting from Adolf Eichman's trial in Jerusalem 1961. (Government Press Office/Israel National Photo Collection)
Tommy Lapid reporting from Adolf Eichman's trial in Jerusalem 1961. (Government Press Office/Israel National Photo Collection)

A veteran Israeli journalist on Thursday alleged that former politician and journalist Yosef (Tommy) Lapid attempted to sexually assault her in London in 1963.

In a Facebook post, Sylvie Keshet, 87, a long-time Yedioth Ahronoth columnist said she met the late Lapid — then a reporter for the Ma’ariv daily — at a party hosted by Israel’s former ambassador to the United Kingdom.

“I started to get bored and told my friend I was going home. Tommy asked if we could split a cab. Certainly, I told him, I live in Kensington. I’m not far from there, he said. We reached my apartment and Tommy said: I remembered that I need to call someone, can I come up? Certainly. We went up, I took my coat off and he mumbled something into the receiver,” Keshet wrote.

Journalist Sylvie Keshet in 1969 (Fritz Cohen/GPO photo archive)

“Suddenly he turned to me, pushed me on the carpet. I hit my head and he ripped my narrow dress,” she continued. “When he tried to open his zipper, I kneed him where it hurts, and when he recoiled, I added a stab with my high heels.”

“I don’t know where I found the strength, I was small and scrawny, but anger gives a lot of strength. While he was rolled up, I got up, ran to the kitchen and poured a kettle of water on him. I took his coat and threw is out of the window. He left shame-faced,” Keshet wrote.

“The next day I wrote to him… that he ripped my new dress that cost me such-and-such amount, although I have no receipt. And if he didn’t put the money in my mailbox, I’m telling his new wife,” she wrote. “He gave me back the money.”

In response to the allegations, a statement from Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Tommy’s son, said: “Unfortunately, we have no way to respond to a story from 54 years ago.”

A former government minister, leader of the now-defunct Shinui party, and veteran journalist, the senior Lapid died in 2008 of cancer.

The Facebook post by Keshet came on the heels of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and subsequent #Metoo campaign, which has also seen prominent Israeli women step forward to detail their past experiences of assault in the press.

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