MK Levy-Abecasis: Women are scared to stand up to sexual harassers like I did

Yisrael Beytenu MK remarks come in election interview with Post's sister publication Ma'ariv about a series of scandals involving high-ranking police officers.

Orly Levy-Abecasis (photo credit: KNESSET)
Orly Levy-Abecasis
(photo credit: KNESSET)
Women are afraid to put a stop to sexual harassment because they don’t want to lose their jobs, MK Orly Levy-Abecassis, second on Yisrael Beytenu’s list, said Wednesday in an interview at Jerusalem Post sister publication Ma’ariv’s election studio.
“The situation in the police is surreal. It’s improper and wrong; it’s shameful,” she said, referring to a series of scandals involving high-ranking police officers. “Those who are supposed to set an example are criminals.”
Levy-Abecassis, a former model who famously appeared in ads for Mekupelet chocolate, said she was sexually harassed in the past, but knew how to respond.
“When I felt that someone was crossing the line with me, I stopped it. There are women, mostly weaker ones, who are sexually harassed and are afraid to put an end to it, because of income considerations, and because they’re worried no one will believe them,” she added.
The Yisrael Beytenu MK expressed skepticism about the police in another area – investigations against officials from her party.
Levy-Abecassis pointed out that some politicians suspected of crimes are not being investigated because it is close to the election, and called for the same rules to be applied to everyone.
“The fact that in the last six elections there were six investigations against Yisrael Beytenu and nothing came of any of them could be a coincidence, but it could not be,” she stated.
Still, Levy-Abecassis said she opposes elected officials’ use of the right to remain silent while under investigation, as Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirschenbaum is doing.
The Yisrael Beytenu MK also discussed socioeconomic issues, for which she is best known, including her advocacy for public housing to be expanded, calling the current situation bizarre.
“There is a budgetary surplus, but Finance Ministry bureaucrats want to destroy this important enterprise,” she said. “That is emotional obtuseness and the poor aren’t the only ones paying the price, all of society is.”
She also rejected the assumption that the defense budget must be cut in order to increase welfare spending.
“It’s easy to scare people,” she said. “They try to distract from social issues toward security. The fact that child allowances were cut by NIS 3 billion, the same amount [former] Finance Minister [Yair Lapid] wanted to spend on 0 VAT [on a first home] – people who have money would enjoy that. I think that’s profoundly irresponsible.”