JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli lawmaker was temporarily suspended from the Labor Party amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Eitan Broshi was suspended by Labor head Avi Gabbay on Sunday after accusations that he sexually harassed a woman in an elevator 15 years ago.
The incident allegedly took place at the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College when Broshi was mayor of the Emek Jezreel Regional Council, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.
“He didn’t let me leave the elevator, touched my intimate parts, and then asked me why I am not going with the flow,” Channel 10 quoted his accuser as saying.
Gabbay in a tweet called the alleged actions “deplorable” and asked Broshi to accept responsibility and leave the Knesset.
“There is no place for sex offenders either on the streets or in the Knesset,” the Labor leader said.
שוחחתי הערב עם ח"כ ברושי והודעתי לו על השעייתו לאלתר מפעילות במפלגה, ודרשתי ממנו לקבל אחריות על מעשיו המבישים ולפרוש מהכנסת. אין לעברייני מין מקום ברחוב או בכנסת.
— Avi Gabbay אבי גבאי (@GabbayAvi) July 29, 2018
Broshi has threatened to sue the party.
“As a person who abides by the law and respects the rule of law (for which you have won my client’s favor), it was surprising to see you running to the media and social networks to smear my client’s name, before you were able to act accordingly with authority, patience and moderation,” read a letter to Gabbay from Broshi’s attorney.
“(W)hat you did to my client was a very serious act, in which you decided to serve as judge, jury and executioner.”
The accusation comes three weeks after Broshi caused controversy by patting the rear end of a female colleague during an official visit to southern Israel. He apologized for the incident. Witnesses said he was attempting to ask his fellow lawmaker Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin to move out of his way.
Nahmias-Verbin accepted his apology but has still said she felt he touched her in an “inappropriate” and “humiliating” manner.
The Association of Rape Crisis Centers told Channel 10 that it received information that there are other accusations involving Broshi.
The Knesset is in recess for the next three months. Several Knesset members reportedly have called for Broshi’s resignation.