Veteran journalist and television host Dan Margalit has been accused by six women of sexual assault and harassment.
In a detailed report in Haaretz on Wednesday, five women, all current or former journalists, spoke out about their past experiences with Margalit. Four of the women, including two who spoke publicly, said Margalit, 80, physically assaulted them during the late ‘80s and early 90s.
Former Haaretz writer Hannah Kim first wrote about her experience with Margalit in a Facebook post two weeks ago. At the time she didn’t name him, but later told Haaretz that it was Margalit. Haaretz said Kim took a polygraph test which confirmed her story.
“He was a senior journalist and a leading reporter,” Kim wrote on Facebook. “I was a young journalist who went once or twice a week to the Knesset to write a column. He entered one of the journalist’s rooms in the Knesset, closed the door and took out his penis, and pushed against me forcefully.”
Kim said she tried to get away from him, and another journalist and friend of Margalit entered the room, “and so the attempted rape ended.... almost every day I ask myself why I did not speak up.”
Haaretz also reported on a claim by Orit Shochat, who said that at the time of the assault she was also a young journalist working in the Knesset. She said that Margalit assaulted her twice – once rubbing up against her in a hallway, and another time asking her to his office, closing the door and pushing against her until she pushed him away.
Margalit told Haaretz that “there’s nothing to these claims about incidents that allegedly happened more than 30 years ago. I don’t intend to devote my remaining years to an argument that has no chance at this moment, given the prevailing mood.”
Haaretz cited three other women who told similar stories to Kim and Shochat. One said that Margalit did not assault her, but he sexually harassed her verbally during a meeting at a cafe.
Hours after the Haaretz report was published, a sixth woman – also a former journalist – came forward on 103FM radio and said Margalit assaulted her 30 years ago.
“We worked at the same place, and he gave me a ride home,” said the anonymous woman. “He grabbed me, hugged me, tried to kiss me. I told him to stop but he didn’t, he continued... I managed to escape from the car. After that we never spoke about it.”
Margalit worked for Haaretz from 1964 to 1991. Over the years he also worked for Maariv and Israel Hayom, and anchored TV shows for Channel 2, Channel 10 and the public broadcaster Channel 1. He later returned to Haaretz, where he currently writes a column for the newspaper.
A spokesman for Haaretz told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that Margalit’s column would not be published on Thursday as scheduled. He would not comment on Margalit’s long-term future with the newspaper.