Late Yosef "Tommy" Lapid.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Two prominent female Israeli journalists shared stories on Thursday night of sexual harassment and assault they experienced years ago during their careers.
Veteran newswoman Sylvie Keshet said that the late lawmaker Yosef “Tommy” Lapid, father of current Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, tried to rape her more than five decades ago. Tommy Lapid died in 2008.
In a Facebook post on Thursday night, Keshet, who wrote a Yediot Aharonot column for many years, said that in 1963, Lapid attacked her. The pair, at the time both journalists, were in London for work. Keshet said Lapid asked to share a cab with her back to where she was staying, then asked to come up and make a phone call.
“Suddenly he turned to me, and knocked me on to the carpet,” she wrote in an emotional Facebook post. “I hit my head and tore my dress. When he tried to open his zipper, I kicked him where it hurts.”
Keshet, who is now 77, wrote that she managed to escape and run to the kitchen, and threw boiling water on him.
She then tossed his coat out the window, and he left.
“The next day I wrote him a note that he had torn an expensive dress, and I didn’t have the receipt,” she wrote.
“I told him if he didn’t give me the money for it, I’ll tell his new wife. He gave me the money.”
After a career as a journalist, Lapid went on to become an MK and later justice minister.
For most of 2005, he was head of the opposition.
Yair Lapid said he “could not react to an event that took place 54 years ago.”
Separately, veteran Israeli journalist Oshrat Kotler revealed live on air Thursday night that she was sexually harassed as a young reporter.
Kotler, a news anchor for Channel 10, said that 25 years ago, she arrived at Channel 2 News at the start of her career.
At the time, she said, Alex Gilady – who was then the CEO and is now the president of media corporation Keshet (last week relaunched as Keshet 12) – made her an “indecent proposal.”
Shortly after she was accepted for a job, she said, “I got a phone call from Gilady, inviting me to dinner. When I tried to dodge it and suggest lunch, he said no, no, dinner, and free up the rest of your evening.” When Kotler told Gilady she was married he said, “What does that have to do with anything? Don’t you know how you get ahead in TV and in Hollywood?” Kotler declined, saying she’d rather not get ahead at all.
Speaking on live TV, she said she still, 25 years later, had her heart racing just telling the story – and recognizes the courage it takes for women to speak up about such things.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have waited this long,” Kotler said.
“Maybe I could have saved the heartache of some women who went for job interviews at Keshet.”