Retired Israeli Judge Admits to Sexually Harassing Female Employee

Former president of Nazareth District Court Yitzhak Cohen sentenced to community service after reaching a plea deal.

Retired judge Yitzhak Cohen in magistrate’s court in Rishon Letzion, Israel, December 4, 2016.
Retired judge Yitzhak Cohen in magistrate’s court in Rishon Letzion, Israel, December 4, 2016. Nir Keidar

The former president of the Nazareth District Court, Judge Yitzhak Cohen, admitted on Sunday to having sexually harassed an employee while she delivered a document to him in his chambers in 2010. 

The admission in magistrate’s court in Rishon Letzion came as part of a plea agreement reached by the prosecution and Cohen and provides that there would be no criminal conviction and that Cohen would be sentenced to community service.

Magistrate’s Court Judge Einat Ron has not yet accepted the plea agreement and will await an evaluation by the probation department of Cohen, who has retired from the bench. The plea agreement also provides that Cohen will pay 2,500 shekels ($650) in compensation to his victim.

Cohen was indicted about two weeks ago with the approval of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan. The indictment alleges that while Cohen was deputy court president of the Nazareth District Court, around September 2010, another district court judge asked the female employee to deliver a document to Cohen.

When she entered Cohen’s chambers, he allegedly sat her on his lap and touched her back under her blouse. In her confusion, the employee told the judge of her impending wedding and after a period of time, got up. Cohen allegedly then got up himself and hugged her. Cohen’s actions were carried out without the employee’s consent, the indictment alleges.

With regard to the proposed plea agreement, the prosecution issued a statement saying that in the context of efforts to reach an agreement, the prosecution took the employee’s position into consideration in that she consented to the agreement.