(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Investigators questioned Bayit Yehudi MK Nissan Slomiansky on Sunday over allegations of sexual assault, a police official said.
The four-and-a-half hour session came after Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit reportedly recently approved a police request to open an investigation into Slomiansky.
The allegations against the lawmaker from as many as eight women involve touching and kissing them against their will, including in the Knesset. The women have not filed formal complaints with the police, but have appeared before a panel of religious-Zionist rabbis and leaders.
The panel subsequently asked the MK to step down.
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 when the allegations surfaced.
The accused MK entered police questioning at Lahav 433 headquarters in Lod at 10 a.m. on Sunday and finished questioning around 2:30 p.m.
Meretz MKs Zehava Gal-On, Tamar Zandberg and Michal Rozin reiterated their call 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.
Attorney Rachel Toren said Sunday that Slomiansky was “pleased to have the opportunity to put an end to the rumor campaign and drumhead court-martials being carried out by biased parties.”
The accused MK 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.