Davidi Perl
Davidi PerlEliran Aharon

Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, wrote a letter to council members clearing his name and responding to a sexual assault accusation against him that hit the Israeli media last week on Channel 10. The council is holding a meeting on the topic today

“After remaining quiet for some time,” Perl wrote “I have decided to share a moment with you that is hard both for me and my family.”

Perl stated that there is no basis for the accusations made against him and that they are all based on rumors which don’t warrant public discussion.

“I didn’t do the things I was accused of by the media, I have never harassed a woman in my life, I never hurt a woman and I have never broken the law," Perl wrote.

Perl explained that he was under immense pressure right before one of his children's weddings and when a woman accused him of harassment, he decided to pay rather than have the matter go public. "Now," he said, "There are those who ask, If he didn’t do anything, why did he agree to pay?”

Perl explained although he had done nothing: “I estimated that the mere publication of the matter would harm my family,” adding that he “preferred to pay rather than see my wife and family cry [and have the rumors ruin the wedding]. I chose to gain quiet rather than look for justice.”

“In hindsight, I regret the decision I made to pay,” he said.

No one is sure how Channel 10 received the unproven story and why they decided to air it. The whole thing began when a young woman approached Takana, accusing Perl of harassing her. Takana is.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 it has no legal status. He was asked to appear before the forum, but refused and went instead to Gush Etzion rabbis and his lawyers, reaching the decision to pay the complainant so that she would rescind her complaint to Takana.

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, well-known Gush Etzion rabbinic personality, wrote an article for the Arutz Sheva Hebrew site in which he said that once Perl said no to Takana, they had no standing. He said that there are only three ways the story could have come to Channel 10's attention, one being a leak from Takana itself, another the complainant - and both of these possibilities are reprehensible, but it is also possible that someone unwittingly let some information get out.