In recent days, several women have come forward with stories of sexual assault by a current MK from the HaBayit HaYehudi (The Jewish Home) party. Chagit Moriah-Gibor, who won the 36th slot in the far-right party’s last primary, opened a post on a religious women’s Facebook group on Wednesday, November 30, in which she complained that there is a “roaring silence” about “a serving MK who has been sexually assaulting women for years.”
Moriah-Gibor told Kol Israel radio this morning that she had testimonies from three women. None has gone to the authorities thus far. Moriah-Gibor wrote on Facebook that women are afraid to go to the authorities or speak publicly about their experiences because they will pay a high price. Therefore, she asked women to send her testimony in order to expose the MK, and promised to keep their names secret if they wish.
“This is a classic case in which everyone knows but no one can do anything, and in the meantime, women continue to be harmed,” Moriah-Gibor wrote. “I know it’s difficult. I respect any decision and send hugs from afar, but I am still asking, let’s put an end to this. A group has power, and you are not alone.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that he spoke to the MK in question, who completely denied the allegations.
Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women chairwoman MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash – Joint List) called the case “further proof that the phenomenon of sexual harassment can happen anywhere and in all population groups.” Touma-Sliman said she and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein worked together to make the procedure of complaining about sexual harassment easier for parliamentary aides and anyone else working in the Knesset. “When women know they have a serious place to turn which will take care of their complaints, they submit complaints,” she said. “It will be very serious if it turns out that this MK did indeed commit such crimes, in which case he must be prosecuted.”