"Unequivocally, I never shredded a single complaint of sexual abuse," said Elazar Stern in his first interview after he withdrew his candidacy for Jewish Agency chairman.
Stern withdrew his candidacy after he made claims in an interview with 103FM that he had shredded anonymous sexual abuse complaints that were submitted to him when he was head of the IDF's Manpower Directorate. He then went on to explain that he tried to create an environment where soldiers felt comfortable coming to him with complaints, but he didn't like anonymous complaints.
Now, in his interview for Maariv, Stern claimed that he never even had a shredder.
"A shredder wasn't practical for us," he explained.
Having been asked if he ever shredded any complaints, Stern said that "anyone who has followed [his] career knows that it's not true.
"I was and still am one of the most consistent fighters against sexual abuse. My wife, Dorit, has volunteered for 16 years at an organization that takes care of victims of sexual abuse. "
He went on to claim that he was constantly under fire because he is a fighter, and fighters find themselves under fire.
"I suggest that people look at my actions, not my words," he said.
Stern had plenty of criticism for 103FM.
"What is the journalists' job?" he asked. "To catch you out or impart the correct message? They knew why I was on the air and throughout it, I encouraged a number of women to complain. They knew the interview's real subject. So what, in the end, they turn it against me?
"When I was still an education officer, I wrote an article titled 'Who forms society more? The commander, the educator, or the other channel?' and I'm telling you that it's the other channel. But with the authority comes responsibility.
"You know after the interview I spoke with the head of the lobby of women's organizations. She told me that this incident has two losers: Elazar Stern and the feminist agenda."