Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Revital Shimoni, the wife of embattled Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni came to her husband’s defense on Wednesday, the day after he was arrested on rape and corruption charges, saying that he is the victim of a “witch hunt”.
“Itamar is an amazing man who in recent years has been tormented and subjected to threats and an unprecedented witch hunt.”
She added that her family “is going through difficult days” but that she’s confident that the case against her husband will collapse and he will emerge stronger than before.
On Tuesday the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court extended Shimoni’s remand by 8 days after he was arrested on suspicion of raping multiple female employees of the municipality, and of taking bribes from contractors to use as hush money for the alleged victims.
The mayor is one of five suspects arrested on Tuesday after months of undercover work by the LAHAV 433 unit of the Israel Police.
The suspects also include Shimoni’s brother Ofer Shimoni, two contractors and a municipality official.
The charges against the mayor include bribery, breach of trust and money laundering, in addition to the sex crimes allegations.
The corruption charges against Shimoni come just two years after he was elected and began to make a name for himself by going after organized crime in the city, earning him widespread media coverage as a “corruption fighter”.