Gush Etzion mayor resigns

Davidi Perl to step down following admission of secret agreement with accuser, including payment of hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl
Eliran Aharon

Gush Etzion Regional Council chief Davidi Perl announced Friday morning his intentions to step down from his position, after allegations that he sexually harassed a woman.

“After long deliberations regarding the matter, I have decided to step down as Regional Council head,” Perl declared.

“This decision was not an easy one given my obligations to serve you [the residents of Gush Etzion] and the wide support I received from you recently, and given the findings of the council investigatory committee.” The Regional Council had appointed a committee consisting of representatives of the council communities who found that there was no way to prove the allegations either way and allowed for Perl to complete his term.

Perl’s decision to quit comes following more information regarding a non-disclosure agreement with his accuser, to whom Perl paid hundreds of thousands of shekels to prevent her from going public.

In September, Perl penned an open letter, admitting and explaining his payment to the accuser and defending himself from her claims, which in a sense can be seen as blackmail.

“I estimated that the mere publication of the matter would harm my family,” he wrote, adding that he “preferred to pay rather than see my wife and family cry.”

“In hindsight, I regret the decision I made to pay,” he said. The timing was the reason, he explained, as the woman accused him right before his daughter's wedding and he knew that there would be no time to clear himself before the accusation would ruin the family occasion.

The young woman in question initially brought her complaint to Takana, a forum of prominent religious Zionist figures which is meant to fight sexual abuse in the religious Zionist community, investigate and deal with complaints in a discreet manner, but has no legal status and can only request to meet with parties to a complaint.

After Perl refused to appear before the Takana committee, hoping to settle the matter of an accusation which he denies without any publicity, someone leaked the story to Channel 10, which aired the accusations. It is not known who went to the media with the story, which was known only to Takana members, the woman and Perl.