Crime scene [illustrative].
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, is facing calls to step down after reports that he paid NIS 200,000 to suppress allegations of sexual assault. Local residents will convene in the coming days to debate his removal.
According to a Channel 10 exposé last week, Perl reached an agreement with the alleged victim, a 20-year-old woman, through the Takana Forum, which was established to combat sexual assault in the religious sector. Under the agreement, he agreed to not run for reelection and to pay the NIS 200,000 sum if the woman retracted her complaint.
According to Channel 10, the complaint, which was filed last year, alleges that Perl physically attacked the woman.
Perl has declined to comment publicly on the matter.
A spokesman for the council said that residents of the settlement bloc are invited to hear Perl’s side, but that the meeting is just a preliminary hearing and will not decide Perl’s ability to remain as council head.
According to the spokesman, the meeting will most likely take place on Wednesday.
“If the mayor is forced to resign, or if he decides to leave, the deputy council head will take over for two months until elections are held,” the spokesman said.
Rabbi Elyashiv Knohl, a member of the Takana Forum, commented on Perl’s case on Tuesday, stating “there was no point” to the Channel 10 report “except to slander people,” as quoted by Walla.
According to Knohl, Perl and his accuser had reached an agreement, and thus there was no reason to publicize the case. “As a member of the Takana Forum – which has dealt with similar scandals for years, believe me – [I can say that] in all such cases, the goal of the forum is to reach such an agreement between the offender and the victim,” he said ”Forum regulations do not publicize cases, except in the event that more people could be hurt by the same attack.
What have we gained except mental anguish and agitation, and perhaps a little more slander?” he added.
Yesh Atid MK Rachel Azaria called for Perl’s resignation in a Facebook post on Sunday. “I ask, where is the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip? Where is the religious leadership? Why don’t we hear their voices? What are we teaching our children?” she asked.