Citing public interest, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday cleared for publication the name of a former driver for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu suspected of raping at least nine underage girls over the course of decades.
The suspect, 52-year-old Ilan Shmuel from Zecharya, near Beit Shemesh, was previously a driver for Netanyahu.
Articles in the Hebrew press this week said that he held the position until 2011, when he was removed from the post after the office discovered that he was being investigated for sex crimes.
The prime minister would not comment on the previous case against Shmuel.
The Prime Minister’s Office said that once they were told about the allegations a month ago they reported the matter to the relevant authorities and that Shmuel was placed on leave. They added that they are dealing with the case in keeping with regulations placed on state agencies.
On Thursday, Shmuel’s remand was extended by a week. He was originally arrested weeks ago, following a report on Israel Radio about a former driver for the Prime Minister accused of sexually abusing minors.
Shmuel is suspected of crimes including rape of a minor and sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14.
His alleged victims include a number of female relatives of his and the incidents allegedly took place over decades, the prosecutors said on Thursday.
In court on Thursday, prosecutors argued that it is in the public interest for Shmuel’s identity to be revealed, in order to help police find more victims willing to come forward.
Shmuel’s attorney’s opposed the move, saying that it would cause serious damage to his reputation, and is all the more sensitive because the alleged victims include family members.