Former PM spokesman: Eshel case included sexual harassment

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April 21, 2012 22:50
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Two months after resigning as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s communications director over the Natan Eshel Affair, Yoaz Hendel said Saturday the woman at the center of the scandal that forced Eshel from office complained to Hendel about an incident of sexual harassment.

Eshel, at one time the most powerful man in the Prime Minister's Office, was forced to resign from his position in February after signing a plea-bargain agreement admitting to misconduct toward a young female staffer.

Hendel, speaking publicly about the matter for the first time on Channel 2's "Meet the Press" program, said he heard about the incident from the woman, known only as R, and "that it took me time to understand the gravity of the matter." After a couple of conversations with her, he said, "the penny dropped."

"I heard about an incident of sexual harassment," he said. "For two nights I did not sleep, and I was undecided about what to do. I realized that nothing good to me would come from this if I took it forward, but I decided that I had no choice in the end."

Hendel, who served in his position for only seven months, quit after Netanyahu called him into a meeting, expressed anger that he was not apprised of the matter, and said he had lost confidence in him.

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