Israeli envoy warned about PM's international spokesman

Ambassador Ron Dermer says he did not pass to PM info about spokesman's alleged behavior due to the fact it was not of a criminal nature.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Ron Dermer
Ron Dermer
Flash 90

Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, acknowledged on Friday that he had been warned about the behavior of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s international spokesman David Keyes towards women, but did not pass the information on to Netanyahu due to the fact that the alleged actions were not of a criminal nature.

The statement came after Bret Stephens, at the time a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, said he contacted Dermer on November 2, 2016 to tell him that Keyes “posed a risk to women in Israeli government offices.”

“The ambassador received a phone call from Bret Stephens more than six months after David Keyes assumed his post in the Prime Minister’s Office, regarding behavior attributed to Keyes before he joined the office,” Dermer’s office said in a statement on Friday.

“Information of the call was not conveyed to the PMO. If Stephens or anyone else had given the ambassador information on sexual assault or any other criminal act towards women perpetrated by anyone in the PMO — whether before or after that person was appointed — he would have notified the PMO immediately,” the statement clarified.

Earlier this week, Julia Salazar, a 27-year-old Democratic candidate for the New York State Senate, accused Keyes of sexually assaulting her years ago.

Salazar had previously made the same accusations against Keyes in Facebook posts she wrote two years ago but later deleted.

The candidate has been dogged by accusations that she has lied about her heritage, claiming to be of Jewish descent and an immigrant when she was neither.

On Thursday, Keyes said that he was taking “time off” from his position to clear his name.

“In light of the false and misleading accusations against me and in order not to distract from the important work of the Prime Minister, I have asked to take time off to clear my name. I am fully confident that the truth will come out,” he said in a statement.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that it had agreed to Keyes’ request for an absence.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)