'Wide circle' knew about assault by Peres but stayed silent - report

A second testimony against Peres alleges that he "pinned her to the space between the door and the wall so that if someone walked down the hall - he could not see what was going on in the room."

 GRAYEVSKY TOOK one of the last photographs of late president Shimon Peres. (photo credit: NOA GRAYEVSKY)
GRAYEVSKY TOOK one of the last photographs of late president Shimon Peres.
(photo credit: NOA GRAYEVSKY)

New information about the testimony of the unnamed former secretary who, on Saturday night, accused former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres of sexually assaulting her, has been released by N12 on Sunday evening.

The secretary alleged that Peres had "pinned her to the corner, the space between the door and the wall so that if someone walked down the hall - he could not see what was going on in the room."

Additionally, N12 reported, the circle of those who knew about Peres' alleged behavior was much larger than expected. People who worked with Peres at the time admitted, behind closed doors, that they knew about the incidents.

Several of those who knew at the time now regret staying silent, according to reporter Rina Mazliah, who first revealed the initial testimony on Saturday night.

The reason people chose to stay silent, Mazliah added, was, and continues to be, partially due to political interests and partially due to economic ones. 

"He pulled me toward him and put his hand under my shirt," said the anonymous woman. "I said to him 'wait wait' and he pushed me up against the wall. I pushed him and ran away. I have an awful memory of him."

COLETTE AVITAL (credit: MICHAL FATTAL/FLASH 90)COLETTE AVITAL (credit: MICHAL FATTAL/FLASH 90)

This accusation follows those made by former MK Colette Avital who alleged last week that Peres had sexually assaulted her in the 80's.

Avital told Haaretz that Peres pinned her to a door and tried to kiss her while he was prime minister in 1984.

She also said that on another occasion, he invited her to his hotel room for breakfast while they were on a diplomatic mission in Paris and tried to push her onto the bed when she entered the room.

In a radio interview with 103FM, Avital was asked why she had finally revealed what Peres did. 

"I struggled a lot with the decision, but in the end, I was convinced that if I have fought for women against sexual assault all these years, and some women already know, then it would be very bad if I didn't reveal the truth. That's what convinced me," she said.

Last week in Shabbatarbut, she talked about how the "why now?" question doesn't stem from curiosity but from an accusing and doubtful place. She added that she continued to work with him because she respected him and his work, and she "didn't mean to insult Peres' memory and definitely not his family."

Avital said that she had reported the incident in Paris to Peres' advisor Yossi Beilin but when asked about it by Ynet, Beilin said, "I don't remember such an incident, and I was definitely not told of that kind of behavior by Peres. I was very surprised by this revelation, and I'm not in the position to deny anything because I just don't remember."

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.