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 announced yesterday.

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 government.

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.

“Do not 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 letter, M.C.

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 in 2004.

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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