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Israel’s Education Minister Accused of Demanding Sex for Government Jobs

Gideon Saar, known for his adulterous dalliances with a number of women, has now been accused in a new report by News1 (Hebrew) of at least 4-5 affairs with women who were either his subordinates or who sought his help in getting government positions. It appears, if the description is accurate, that sex acts were directly connected either to his supervision or to help getting them jobs. Both types of incidents, if true, would be criminal offenses.

Two years ago, I published a post here about a sex act in the restroom of a Tel Aviv club with a girl who was likely underage. A few weeks ago, I published a new story about a female member of his Knesset staff, Maya Katz, with whom he had an affair. She’s alleged to have written a letter of complaint to the prime minister and other Likud leaders. Afterward, she denied writing the letter.

Now muckraking Israeli reporter, Yoav Yitzhak, reports an entirely new series of sexual liaisons between Saar and multiple women and girls:

News1 has learned that Saar had sex with a number of young women and girls who were under his supervision in government positions in which he served and/or they were dependent on his pledges to help arrange jobs or positions in government offices and other public bodies.

The relationships with a number of them were known to more than a few sources, including some who serve public roles. Material on this subject was brought before the director general of the education ministry…who till now has not troubled to notify the relevant authorities or the attorney general. Information was also brought to Benjamin Netanyahu, who until now has not passed the information to the attorney general.

It should be emphasized that none of the female victims has dared to come forward and lodge a complaint against him, whether due to shame, or a desire to remain out of the public spotlight. It’s also known that at least two of the victims faced pressure against their lodging such complaints.

It’s important to note that while this article adds heft to the charges against Saar, it doesn’t prove his guilt. That will be left to a court of law. Saar’s case does begin to call to mind similar charges against Moshe Katsav, which circulated for years, before he was finally convicted or rape and sent to prison. Whether this happens to Saar is very much up in the air.

Yitzhak also accused all of Israel’s print and broadcast media of knowing the details of the story and refusing to pursue it because of Saar’s close relationships with reporters, editors, publishers, and other powerful interests who sought to protect him and his career. It’s a damning portrait of journalistic cowardice, if true. But one should keep in mind that Yoav Yitzhak is known as both an intrepid muckraker and a bit of a self-promoter. It makes News1 look all the more heroic for reporting the story when all the others shrank from doing so. So he may be overselling things a bit.

Though there’s no doubt that many reporters have known about this story and not reported it. One of the main reasons I’ve learned the facts as I have is that there are Israelis who feel this has gone on long enough and should be properly investigated rather than lingering on indefinitely through rumors.

One of those Israeli reporters who served as a shill for Saar is Amit Segal of Channel 2. A year ago he wrote in Mako that there was no story there. That Shalom Yerushalmi, one of those who reported the hell out of this, was barking up the wrong tree. Segal also wrote derisively that I:

Call [myself] an internet journalist, but vomit across the web unfounded rumors, figments of a rich eastern [“Mizrahi”] imagination which derive in fact from a western city from which he broadcasts his wild fantasies.

Note the outright Ashkenazi racism in accusing someone who allegedly has a tenuous conception of truth of betraying “Mizrahi” qualities.  I’ve written here often about Israeli journalists who deserve Profiles in Courage awards and those who are water carriers for the élite. The latter fits Segal to a tee.

It is he who levelled false charges against Prof. Amiram Goldblum on the air, for which the Hebrew University professor sued and won damages in an Israeli court. I recently wrote that Shelly Yachimovich made a deal with Channel 2 political reporter Rina Matzliach to stifle coverage of Eretz Chadasha in return for scoops exclusive to her. One of these stories was reported by Segal, whose “revenge” was to tweet that I was a delusional fantasist, without offering any evidence to rebut my story.

When we find out whether Gideon Saar is guilty of these charges then we’ll know who’s a delusional fantasist and who’s sold his journalistic credibility for a pot of gold or a few measly favors.  I wouldn’t bet on Segal to win.

Returning to Yitzhak’s story, he calls for an investigation by the attorney general into these charges, which is more than called for under the circumstances.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Arnon February 18, 2013, 3:06 AM

    Goldblum got no damages from Amit Segel. Segel just paid half the cost of arbitration, Goldblum the other half, which settled the matter without damages being awarded to Goldblum. Segel did nothing but cite a Channel Two TV news expose of Goldblum.

    Get your facts right!

  • Eden February 18, 2013, 10:01 AM

    You may be right but I would advise on letting the judicial system work it out as every person should be considered innocent unless proven otherwise. I personally find disgusting the idea that powerful men use their status to sleep with girls that are often younger than what their daughters would be. This is especially true when these girls work for them. This being said Israel has had some successes at punishing this behavior. I believe the former Israeli president is in jail for this. I do not know many countries that would have jailed their president for these kind of crime. While not perfect, it indicates that the Judicial system seems capable to deal with this the right way, at least in Israel.

    • Richard Silverstein February 18, 2013, 6:13 PM

      The fact that Israel has one president in jail for rape and another minister received a punishment for forcing himself on an IDF soldier just before a ministerial meeting doesn’t mean either that powerful Israeli men have their egos under control or that the justice system works on women’s behalf. We have only to look at Yoav Even’s victim to see that this isn’t true if you’re not a powerful victim.

      Many countries jail their presidents for offenses far less than the rape of which Katsav was convicted. Instead of bragging how well the judicial system works in Israel (it doesn’t) you might ask why the attorney general didn’t even want to charge Katsav with rape until women screamed bloody murder about it.

      • eden February 19, 2013, 6:04 AM

        Let’s compare Israel to the United States, arguably one of the most functioning democracy in the world.
        I believe JFK had sex with an underage girl which meets the statutory rape status . As for Bill Clinton, while the woman was willing, she was a young intern working at the WH. Someone who was not in a position to freely consent by reasonable standard. Did these two men ever get prosecuted for this?

  • dickerson3870 February 18, 2013, 7:04 PM

    RE: “Yitzhak also accused all of Israel’s print and broadcast media of knowing the details of the story and refusing to pursue it because of Saar’s close relationships with reporters, editors, publishers, and other powerful interests who sought to protect him and his career. It’s a damning portrait of journalistic cowardice, if true.” ~ R.S.

    URI AVNERY ON THE SORRY STATE OF THE ISRAELI MEDIA/PRESS: “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . The Israeli media are already to a large extent neutralized, a creeping process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung. [SEE: Gleichschaltung @ Wikipedia – J.L.D. ]
    All three TV channels are more or less bankrupt and dependent on government handouts. Their editors are practically government appointees. The printed press is also teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, except the largest “news” paper, which belongs to Sheldon Adelson and is a Netanyahu propaganda sheet, distributed gratis.
    [Naftali] Bennett repeats the ridiculous assertion that almost all journalists are left-wingers (meaning traitors.) He promises to put an end to this intolerable situation. . .
    . . . In the coming four years, the official annexation of the West Bank to Israel may become a fact. . .
    . . . If the government continues on its present course, this will lead to certain disaster – the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will become one unit under Israeli rule. This Greater Israel will contain an Arab majority and a shrinking Jewish minority, turning it inevitably into an apartheid state, plagued by a permanent civil war and shunned by the world.
    If pressure from without and within eventually compels the government to grant civil rights to the Arab majority, the country will turn into an Arab state. 134 years of Zionist endeavor will come to naught, a repetition of the Crusaders’ kingdom.
    This is so obvious, so inevitable, that one needs an iron will not to think about it. It seems that all major parties in these elections have this will. Speaking about peace, they believe, is poison. Giving back the West Bank and East Jerusalem for peace? God forbid even thinking about it.
    The weird fact is that this week two respected polls – independent of each other – came to the same conclusion: the great majority of Israeli voters favors the “two-state solution”
    , the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem. This majority includes the majority of Likud voters, and even about half of Bennett’s adherents.
    How come? The explanation lies in the next question: How many voters believe that this solution is possible? The answer: almost nobody. Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that “the Arabs” don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.
    If peace is impossible, why think about it? Why even mention it in the election campaign? Why not go back 44 years to Golda Meir’s days and pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist? (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away. They did not exist.” – Golda Meir, June 13, 1969) . . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/04/israels-weird-elections/

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