(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST REUTERS/FRED PROUSER)
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit closed the sexual assault case against Bayit Yehudi MK Nissan Slomiansky on Sunday on the basis of insufficient evidence.
Slomiansky was questioned by police in May over allegations of sexual assault of two women.
The original allegations against the lawmaker came from as many as eight women and involved touching and kissing them against their will, including in the Knesset. The women had appeared before a panel of religious Zionist rabbis and leaders, but only two of them testified to police.
Slomiansky has denied the charges stating that his behavior may have been misinterpreted.
“I feel deep sorrow if any behavior of mine was interpreted in a different way than I intended, and if I knew who this is about, I would personally apologize with the full force of honesty,” he said in December 2016 when the allegations surfaced.
Mandelblit explained that only one of the women’s accusations rose to the potential level of a crime and that this woman did not return to the police station to address Slomiansky’s narrative after he was questioned.
The attorney-general said that without her response to his narrative, no case could go forward.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On, and MKs Tamar Zandberg and Michal Rozin had called for suspending Slomiansky and lambasted Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett for not issuing a statement on the issue.
“Your silence is disgraceful both as party chairman and education minister. Your silence means support and disregard for the strong suspicions and the evidence against Slomiansky,” the MKs said. “Your disregard for the serious acts reported is a slap in the face for the women who were hurt.”
Bennett has previously said Slomiansky would not have to resign unless the accusations turned out to be true, while other party MKs, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and others have called for his resignation.
Slomiansky is chairman of the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee, however he has not been leading the committee’s meetings since the accusations arose.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.