‘MK Magal said my tits and ass made him horny’

By
November 24, 2015 12:57

Bayit Yehudi lawmaker apologizes after female writers at Walla, where he was editor-in-chief, accuse him of inappropriate sexual conduct before he entered politics.

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Yinon Magal

Yinon Magal. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Bayit Yehudi faction chairman MK Yinon Magal expressed remorse Tuesday for sexual comments he made to a writer for Walla News after he resigned from his position of editor-in-chief at the website last year.

“First of all, I want to apologize,” Magal said Tuesday morning, shortly after the writer, Racheli Rottner, wrote a lengthy Facebook post about his overtures.

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“There are things that were said between friends before I became an MK, and I wouldn’t repeat them today, and I want to ask for forgiveness from anyone I hurt,” Magal said. “At the same time, I would expect that a friend who I hurt to tell me and not turn to shaming on social media.”

Rottner said that, when she worked for Magal, he would tell her to dress sexier for her video segments, “like a librarian from a porno.”

She described an interaction between her and Magal – both of whom are married – at his goodbye party, after he announced that he was leaving journalism for politics.

According to Rottner, Magal sat close to her on a sofa and said: “Tell me, did you feel like there was tension between us while we worked together? ...I always felt sexual tension. You didn’t notice?” Rottner told him more than once that she didn’t know what he was talking about, or as she wrote: “Haha, Yinon, you really felt tension? I had no idea, teehee, you’re so crazy.”

Then, she wrote, Magal said: “‘Now, I can tell you this, because I’m not your boss anymore, but whenever we worked together I was horny for you. I was looking at you and thinking about your tits and ass. And I would talk to other people about your tits and ass and how horny they make me.’ “Magal smiled when he saw my embarrassment and said that’s what he likes about me, that I come from a background of a religious school and I’m very innocent… and after that, he got up to speak to all the people invited about Bayit Yehudi and values and family,” Rottner wrote.

The writer said she had not spoken to Magal since then, but found out that other female workers at Walla said he made unwanted advances, including touching them.

“Thank God, he’s not my problem now, but he’s [Education Minister Naftali] Bennett’s… And to clarify, I have nothing against the Bayit Yehudi, I’m religious and my family voted for [the party’s precursor] NRP and Bayit Yehudi for years,” she added.

Or Shukrun, another woman who worked with Magal wrote on Facebook Tuesday that he “touched my behind more than once despite my requests that he stop, asked me to join him in the bathroom and asked other questions that cannot be understood any other way.

“He brought the shame on himself,” Shukrun, who said she voted for Bayit Yehudi, wrote of his complaint that Rottner did not come to him directly.

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel called for Magal to be investigated.

“Women in Israel must go to work, and everywhere else, without fear of harassment, and the country must defend this basic right,” Gamliel stated.

“If what was said is true, there must be a criminal investigation and MK Magal must be suspended from the Knesset.”

The police said Tuesday evening it will examine the claims made against Magal and that a decision about the nature of the probe and which police unit will be tasked with looking into the claims will be made on Wednesday.

Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women and Gender Equality Chairwoman Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) said “sexual harassment is never a discussion ‘between friends.’” Touma-Sliman called the accusations a test for Bennett, as Bayit Yehudi’s leader, saying he must sound a clear voice against sexual harassment and assault and act to remove Magal from the party and the Knesset.

Bennett and Magal were expected to meet after press time.

“Some men still don’t understand that women are not objects,” MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union) told the Knesset Channel. “They are not tits and not ass, they are people with equal rights.”

MK Orly Levy-Abecassis commended Rottner for exposing Magal’s actions, saying she knows how difficult it can be.

“Maybe [Magal] and others need to be reminded that sexual harassment – whether it’s in the Knesset, at work, in the market or the local pub – is against the law, and the separation MK Magal makes between his behavior before he became an MK and his behavior today is outrageous, to say the least,” Levy-Abecasis stated.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.


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