Boaz Arad .
(photo credit: SARAH LEVI)
Artist Boaz Arad, 62, was found dead outside his home in Tel Aviv on Friday morning in an apparent suicide.
It is believed that Araz took his life in response to a report released Thursday by the Mako news portal that he engaged in sexual relations with several of his underaged high school students while he taught painting at Tel Aviv’s Thelma Yellin High School for the Arts between 1983 and 2006.
In the report, a former student speaks of her four-year relationship with Arad, which started when she was 16.
Calling herself “G.,” she told Mako: “Boaz used to invite students to his home, this was a known thing. We would come and talk about art and the world. When I was 15, my relationship with him became closer and more intimate.
“I think it was love at first sight. He was over 20 years older than me, I was in awe of him as a teacher and we all admired him. To this day, there are a lot of students who feel this way toward him.”
“G.” also told Mako of rumors of him having similar relations both before and after hers. “I knew about one before me, someone who was also his student. I asked him about her and he did not deny or regret it.”
Arad denied the allegations of sexual misconduct with minors in the report and explained that he had relationships with four former female students when they were of age.
Telling Mako “they were more romantic than sexual... I had relationships and friendships with many of my former students, both male and female, and none of them ever crossed the line.”
Mako reported that Arad began to speak frantically and emotionally about the allegations and said: “I won’t be able to look my mother in the eye. There will be no point to my life, this will mean the end of my life.”
Mako contacted the police on Thursday as a precaution and they reported that Arad’s life was not in danger.
An accomplished artist and teacher, Arad was also employed at the Hamidrasha Art Academy at Beit Berl College and the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design’s photography department.
Arad is the second faculty member in Bezalel’s photography department to commit suicide in the past two years. Former department head, lecturer and artist Yossi Breger committed suicide in 2016.