Zahavi in 1991.
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)
Several women have reportedly accused radio host Natan Zahavi of sexual assault and harassment this week in incidents dating back 15 years.
Zahavi, a veteran journalist who has hosted a radio show on 103FM for the past two decades, denied the allegations.
On Wednesday morning, Army Radio reported that several women had made allegations against Zahavi. Journalist Hadas Shtaif shared one of the alleged complaints from 15 years ago, by a woman who chose to remain anonymous.
“He came to me and grabbed my hair,” the woman said, while she was at a Tel Aviv bar. Later, she said, she remembered “in flashbacks” that “he took me out of the pub, and put me in his car and brought me to his house, where I was close to fainting. I found myself naked in his bed, but I didn’t remember undressing or wanting to. I was passed out and I just wasn’t conscious when he did what he did.”
Shtaif said Wednesday that two other women who worked with Zahavi made complaints about his workplace behavior.
These accusations came about after Shtaif reported on Army Radio on Monday for the first time that a woman accused Zahavi of assaulting her 15 years ago.
“He spoke a few sentences to me and then he suddenly was on top of me, grabbed me and kissed me,” she said.
“He pressed his lips against me and tried to insert his tongue, despite my protests.
I felt humiliated and helpless.” The woman said her sister convinced her not to file a police complaint at the time, according to Shtaif.
Zahavi has been on a scheduled vacation this week. He posted on Facebook early Wednesday morning, categorically denying all allegations.
“The ‘vampire’ Hadas Shtaif is conducting a witch-hunt against me,” he wrote. “I have no idea who these women making allegations against me are. I have never raped or assaulted women.” Zahavi asked for the trust of his close friends, and said he is willing to face any accuser in a police station.
The radio host later added that he himself was sexually assaulted at age 12, and that “if, God forbid, I hurt someone with sexist speech, I apologize with all my heart... I’m devastated.”
In response Shtaif wrote on Twitter that she was “just the messenger” and that the women came to her with their stories, she did not seek any of them out.
Fellow 103FM host Gabi Gazit went on leave last week after several women accused him of assault and harassment.
The station said it is looking into the accusations against both men to determine their future with the company.
On Tuesday morning, Yediot Aharonot published several accusations against TV producer Roi Strikovsky. According to the article, which will only be published in full on Friday, Strikovsky regularly made sexual comments in the workplace, and more than one woman said that he touched them on their rears, legs and thighs in a work setting. Strikovsky currently works on the Reshet show Kitchen Nightmares, and was the lead editor on Survivor for several seasons.
Strikovsky said he doesn’t remember any of the instances reported, but apologizes if anyone was hurt by his behavior.
Reshet said it had never received any complaints about Strikovsky, but if it does it will fully investigate them.
Meanwhile, actor Moshe Ivgy took part in a pre-trial hearing on Monday on charges of sexual assault and harassment against four women, Channel 2 News first reported Tuesday night.
The Haifa District Attorney’s Office confirmed to The Jerusalem Post
that the hearing took place.
The accusations against the veteran film, stage and TV actor first came to light in 2016 after one woman threatened to sue the Haifa Theater over Ivgy’s alleged behavior there. Many other women then came forward with their own stories about Ivgy. In August, the Haifa District Attorney recommended indicting Ivgy on sexual offenses against four women between 2012 and 2013.