Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has ordered a preliminary investigation into
allegations that outgoing Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar engaged in
inappropriate sexual behavior with a ministry employee, the Justice Ministry
The Justice Ministry said that a letter, addressed
to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, made the allegations against Sa’ar.
However, the ministry did not describe the allegations and emphasized twice that
they, as well as the letter’s authorship, were in doubt.
The letter –
signed by M.C., a woman who identifies herself as a former Education Ministry
employee who had an affair with Sa’ar – said he had a “romantic connection” with
her in which he “took advantage of his status, harmed [her] and left an impact
to this day.”
A current Education Ministry employee with the initials
M.C. denied to Channel 10 news that she wrote the letter or had a relationship
with Sa’ar. In addition, the current employee said the letter was an attempt by
rivals to destroy Sa’ar’s political career.
Others in the Education
Ministry have said senior Likud ministers may have penned the letter in order to
harm Sa’ar’s chances of being appointed to a prestigious post in the next
The letter also accuses the education minister of having
engaged in relations with an intoxicated minor at “The Guild,” a Tel Aviv night club at which he was a DJ,
and of an affair with a high-profile female politician.
All of the
affairs listed in the letter occurred while Sa’ar was married. The education
minister was divorced last summer and is currently in a high-profile
relationship with Channel 1 reporter Geula Even, whom he brought to the 19th
Knesset inauguration two weeks ago.
In the letter, M.C. said she had been
interviewed by Yediot Aharonot reporters two months ago, but the article was
never published. As such, she came to the conclusion that Sa’ar is being
“protected by the media,” and decided to write to Netanyahu.
appoint Sa’ar as education minister in your next government,” she wrote. “It is
not appropriate and immoral for him to be education minister when he is supposed
to serve as an example for the younger generation.”
At the end of the
wrote that she was sick of speaking about the events, and
that other people at the Education Ministry knew what she was talking about if
anyone wanted to investigate more deeply.
The Justice Ministry indicated
that a key part of the investigation will be verifying the circumstances under
which the letter was written, possibly foreshadowing charges that the letter was
forged or that the allegations were trumped up.
According to the
ministry, the investigation is still under way, and there was an implication
that had the story not broken so prominently no announcement would have been
made before any indictment.
The Justice Ministry also denied that
Weinstein had been consulted about whether Sa’ar could be appointed as a
minister with the allegations hanging over his head.
With an ongoing
investigation, it would be difficult for Netanyahu to continue considering
Sa’ar, No. 3 on the Likud Beytenu list, as a candidate for justice minister. The
prime minister might prefer to make him a minister without portfolio, following
a precedent set for Tzachi Hanegbi during a criminal investigation against him
Not having to appoint Sa’ar to a ministry could be convenient
for Netanyahu, who will have to reduce the number of ministers to close to 18 if
Yesh Atid is in the coalition, as that has been one of the party’s demands in
negotiations. Likud and Yisrael Beytenu have 19 ministers in the outgoing
government, four of whom are not in the new Knesset. •
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