(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) will not lead the panel’s meetings in the near future, while sexual assault allegations against him are looked into, the MK announced Sunday.
However, Slomiansky did not resign from his post as committee chairman. MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) will lead this week’s meetings.
“I am aware of the heavy responsibility that comes with the job, but more important than that, I feel that the right thing to do is to allow a fair examination of the claims that were made,” Slomiansky stated. “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.”
The police are looking into the sexual assault accusations, even though none of the alleged victims have officially filed a complaint.
Meretz MKs Zehava Gal-On, Tamar Zandberg and Michal Rosin said that Slomiansky’s announcement is an important step, but not enough as long as he remains in the Knesset.
“Slomiansky’s hint that he does not know who this is about in order to apologize is feigning innocence instead of taking responsibility for criminal, harmful actions,” they stated, and called on Bayit Yehudi’s leadership to support his alleged victims and demand that he resign.
“As long as Slomiansky continues to be an MK from the Bayit Yehudi, there is a black stain on the Knesset,” the MKs said.
The allegations against Slomiansky from as many as eight women involve touching and kissing them against their will, including in the Knesset. A panel of religious-Zionist rabbis and leaders have heard from the women and asked Slomiansky to step down.
Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said that Slomiansky would not have to resign unless the accusations turned out to be true, but others in his faction, such as MKs Shuli Muallem-Refaeli and Bezalel Smotrich, as well as Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and some in the opposition, called for Slomiansky’s resignation last week.
An MK cannot be removed from office unless he is convicted of a crime with moral turpitude or, in a law passed this year under Slomiansky’s leadership, if 90 MKs vote to impeach him on grounds of inciting racism or violence or supporting armed conflict against Israel.