update desk

Netanyahu spokesperson taking ‘time off’ amid sexual-misconduct accusations

David Keyes has denied the allegations, saying “all of the accusations are deeply misleading, and many of them are categorically false.”

David Keyes. Credit: Rafi Kutz.
David Keyes. Credit: Rafi Kutz.

David Keyes, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced on Thursday that he was taking a leave of absence to defend himself against accusations of sexual misconduct by at least 14 women.

The development comes after four Knesset members called on the prime minister to suspend Keyes until the reports about the allegations had been elucidated.

“In light of the false and misleading accusations against me, and in order not to distract from the important work of the Prime Minister, I have asked to take time off to clear my name,” he said in a statement. “I am fully confident that the truth will come out.”

Netanyahu’s office “accepted David Keyes’ request to take time off.”

It is unknown how long Keyes will be out of the office.

Keyes’s move came just after The Times of Israel asked him about a new allegation that he made an “aggressive, sexual” advance towards a female in Israel in 2016, weeks after he became Netanyahu’s spokesperson. A second woman also contacted the news outlet on Thursday, providing a detailed complaint against him.

The Times of Israel published an investigation on Thursday citing 12 women who described a trend of inappropriate behavior by Keyes against themselves and other women in the United States in the years prior to him working for Netanyahu.

For example, New York State Senate candidate Julia Salazar detailed her alleged sexual assault in 2013 by Keyes. Salazar won her primary on Thursday.

Keyes has denied the allegations. “All of the accusations are deeply misleading, and many of them are categorically false,” he told The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

Keyes is not the first person to leave Netanyahu’s office over sexual misconduct allegations. Netanyahu’s chief of staff Gil Sheffer was accused in 2013 of sexual harassment. The previous year, top aide Natan Eshel was forced out over allegations he used a secretly placed camera to film under a female colleague’s skirt.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates