Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top media adviser has resigned after Netanyahu said he had lost confidence him. The adviser, Yoaz Hendel, is one of three top aides the prime minister has chided for bringing sexual harassment allegations about another colleague directly to the attorney general.
Hendel, who heads the National Information Directorate, tendered his resignation on Monday. Bureau chief Natan Eshel, the subject of the sexual harassment allegations, has already resigned. Eshel allegedly harassed an employee at the Prime Minister’s Office, who has only been identified as R.
Cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser is also expected to step down shortly. On Monday, the prime minister met with Hendel, Hauser and the PM’s military secretary, Yohanan Locker. Netanyahu is said to have told the three that he had lost confidence in them for not informing him of the allegations by the office worker. He chastised them for going to Weinstein behind his back, as he was said to have put it.
“I’m disappointed that you didn’t share the information with me and that you hid this from me for a month,” Netanyahu is said to have told the three. “You should have come to me before and I would have acted exactly as you did. I would have contacted the attorney general immediately.
“I would expect from you − as the people at the top staff level − to share the information with me. I would have passed it on immediately to be looked into. Just as it’s clear to me that every harassment complaint needs to be seriously investigated, it’s impossible that I have to learn from the media about something so central happening in my office.”
Hauser and Hendel told the prime minister they did not inform him because they did not want to embroil him in the case. But Netanyahu told them their argument wasn’t working and they had violated his trust.
Hendel asked Netanyahu that his resignation come into force within 24 hours. The prime minister accepted the resignation, though Tuesday he asked Hendel to defer it by several days until a replacement was found.
Locker was expected to leave the Prime Minister’s Office shortly in any event to take up a new post in the Israel Defense Forces. Sources at the Prime Minister’s Office say Hauser will soon resign. Tension has been high between Netanyahu and Hauser and between Netanyahu and Hendel, the sources said.
Some of this tension was evident at the beginning of Sunday’s cabinet meeting when Netanyahu took Hauser to task in front of the cameras because the cabinet room door had not been locked. “Didn’t you hear me?” the prime minister asked Hauser. “I asked for this last time. Carry it out and that’s that.”
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