Israeli modeling agent suspected of sex crimes arrested in Amsterdam

After a year's investigation, Shai Avital has been arrested for extradition to Israel.

 Israeli modeling agent Shai Avital (C) poses for a picture with Israeli models during an event on a rooftop in Tel Aviv, on September 17, 2017 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
Israeli modeling agent Shai Avital (C) poses for a picture with Israeli models during an event on a rooftop in Tel Aviv, on September 17, 2017
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Modeling agent Shai Avital, who has been under investigation by Israel Police since July 2021 for sexual offenses, was arrested in Amsterdam on Friday and set for extradition to Israel.

Avital was arrested as part of a joint operation by the intelligence division of the Israel and Dutch Police. Israeli police conducted the investigation with the assistance of Interpol, claiming that the arrest itself “went through calmly and without incident.”

“Any wanted suspects that are outside of Israel that receive an international arrest warrant will be arrested anywhere in the world,” according to head, Sub-Commissioner Dror Asraf, head of the intelligence division in the Investigations and Intelligence department.

“We are currently conducting investigations into everyone who fled the country and they will be brought to justice. The police will not rest until this is done.”

The Tel Aviv District Police launched an initial investigation into Avital in July 2021 after three formal complaints were filed by his models and accusations of rape were made public on the Israeli investigative TV show Hazinor (The Tube). The models cited instances of sexual harassment, exploitation and other offenses.

In total, 26 women have filed complaints of sexual harassment against the modeling agent.

Israeli protesters chant slogans as they march in the SlutWalk in central Jerusalem, on June 18, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)Israeli protesters chant slogans as they march in the SlutWalk in central Jerusalem, on June 18, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Circumstances of extradition

Avital was not in the country for the duration of the investigation and was ordered to return to Israel last October for questioning. In return for complying, his attorneys filed a list of demands, including release on bail for an amount to be agreed between the parties, and an alternative to detention.

His lawyers also asked police to allow Avital to meet them in their office before police questioning and urged that the investigation be conducted in a balanced manner and away from the media.