State Prosecutor Supports Suspension of Ch. 1 News Director Over Sexual Harassment Claims

State sides with petition heard by High Court against Moshe Nestelbaum.

The State Prosecutor's Office has come down on the side of petitioners demanding the suspension of Channel 1 news director Moshe Nestelbaum, who is facing a complaint of sexual and verbal harassment. The petition was heard by the High Court of Justice on Sunday.

The petition against Nestelbaum and the Israel Broadcasting Authority, which operates Channel 1, was filed by the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Journalists Associations after the IBA failed to remove Nestelbaum from his management position in the wake of the complaint.

Disciplinary proceedings against Nestelbaum are currently before the disciplinary court of the Civil Service Commission, which recommended to IBA Chairman Amir Gilat that Nestelbaum be suspended from all management positions until the end of proceedings against him. Despite the recommendation, the IBA decided to keep Nestelbaum in the post.

"The state is of the opinion that it would be appropriate to accept this petition, in so much as ordering the cancellation of the decision of the Israel Broadcasting Authority's executive committee," the prosecutor's office said in its official response to the High Court on Sunday. "[The IBA decision not to suspend Nestelbaum] exceeds in a considerable fashion the bounds of reasonability."

The disciplinary action against Nestelbaum followed a complaint by IBA journalist Yigal Ravid, who said that Nestelbaum had subjected him to "sexual and verbal harassment based on his sexual orientation." A subsequent investigation heard testimony from dozens of IBA employees, one of whom, IBA journalist, Rotem Avrutzky, also laid a complaint of sexual and verbal harassment based on her sexual orientation against Nestelbaum.

Nestelbaum is said to be in line for an even more senior position: That of the head of IBA television. 

Yael Engelheart