Police investigate MK Magal for sexual harassment

Uproar after journalist reveals inappropriate comments and Jewish Home MK admits to saying them, worker complains of groping.

Ari Yashar,

Yinon Magal
Yinon Magal
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal is the subject of a media storm on Tuesday, after a journalist and former employee of his from his time as chief editor of Walla published testimony of inappropriate sexual comments he made to her.

In light of the comments, which Magal admitted later on Tuesday to having made, another former employee came forward and revealed Magal had groped her against her will.

Police launched an investigation on Tuesday night regarding the matter, reports Channel 2, at the end of which the State Attorney will decide whether or not to open an official criminal investigation against the MK.

"In response to the publications and requests we confirm that the publications regarding the apparent suspicions of sexual harassment will be checked," read a police statement. "The decision regarding the manner of the investigation and the unit that will manage it will be made tomorrow."

The uproar began when journalist Racheli Rottner of Walla revealed on Facebook Tuesday morning that Magal had made offensive comments at a farewell party for him when he left the paper to join Jewish Home and start a career in politics.

Magal revealed to her that he felt "sexual tension" working with her, she reported, and said: "now I can tell you that because I'm not your boss anymore. But the whole time we worked together I was horny for you." He admitted to thinking about her body parts, using crass language, and further said he spoke to others about her body parts and "how they turn me on."

She also claimed he made other similar comments during his time as her boss.

Likewise the journalist wrote that recently other female coworkers revealed to her that Magal had harassed them physically, touching them in sensitive areas against their will.

Groping complaint

In response to the publication, Magal wrote, "there are things that were said between friends before I was a Member of Knesset and I wouldn't repeat them today."

"I apologize and ask for the forgiveness of those who were harmed. At the same time, I would expect a friend who was hurt by me to tell me and not to turn to shaming on social networks."

Later on Tuesday, Magal was put in further hot water after another Walla employee identified as A. came forward on Facebook and complained that he had touched her inappropriately.

"A colleague who groped my rear end more than once despite my requests to stop, who asked me if I wanted to join him in the bathroom and other questions...brought on himself the shaming that he is experiencing," she wrote regarding the MK.

In response to the turn of events, Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett called Magal in for a private meeting on the issue Tuesday night.

Bennett refused to directly address the matter before the meeting, but told Channel 2 that "this is a capital case, I won't say a thing before I speak with him this evening."

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of Magal's party also had the matter brought up during her appearance at the Sderot Conference for Society at Sapir College on Tuesday night.

When asked by the college's students about Magal, Shaked said, "this is a capital case. I haven't learned about the matter because I was out all day, and therefore I won't address it until I learn about it in depth."




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