'Magal should not have resigned'

Criminal lawyer says Jewish Home MK accused of harassment was a victim of political persecution.

Benny Tucker ,

Yinon Magal
Yinon Magal
Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90

Attorney Ariel Atari, a prominent criminal lawyer, told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that Jewish Home's Yinon Magal should not have resigned from the Knesset. "He brought himself to a bad place," he said.

According to Atari, Magal should not have responded at all when the former co-worker, Racheli Rottner, wrote that he spoke improperly to her during a going away party that was held for him at his former workplace, the Walla news site, after he announced he was headed for the Knesset last year. Magal responded to Rottner on Facebook in an apologetic way that was generally seen as confirming that he had, indeed, said improper things to her.

"When the complaints were put forth, there were politics in the background, without a doubt," Atari said. "The people who chose to write this did not do so because of a trauma that had been repressed for months," he explained. "They did so as a reaction to his politics. The fact that he has political opinions that are different from theirs motivated them – at least in the case of the first complainant, and that is what one gleans from what she wrote."

Rottner did not accuse Magal of any criminal behavior, said Atari, since the party took place when Magal was no longer her boss at Walla.

A second complainant, also from Walla, who said that he touched her without her consent, will have to prove that he did so, Atari said. Since there were witnesses in the room during the alleged events, Magal will be able to prove his innocence, if he is indeed innocent, he added.

In general, Atari said, Israel's courts refrain from dealing with the problem of false complaints by women against men in the workplace. Harassment does exist, he explained, but so do false complaints that women use to their gain. When a complaint turns out to be false, said Atari, it is very rare to see the woman put on trial, and her identity is not published.

"The situation today encourages dishonest women to file false complaints," he added. "The Supreme Court itself ruled several years ago not to allow publication of the name of a woman who had filed a false complaint against a man. When this is the situation, why shouldn’t women file false complaints? What do they have to lose? It's a very sad situation."