Senior Official at Netanyahu's Office to Resign Following Eshel Affair

WATCH: Netanyahu rebukes cabinet secretary at meeting; Prime Minister reprimands National Information Directorate head Yoaz Hendel for not sharing information that bureau chief Natan Eshel allegedly sexually harassed an employee.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The head of the National Information Directorate at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, Yoaz Hendel, resigned from his post on Tuesday, in wake of the Natan Eshel affair.

Natan Eshel, Netanyahu's bureau chief, agreed on Sunday to resign after being accused of sexually harassing an employee.

Yoaz Hendel in Tel Aviv, December 2011.Credit: Moti Milrod

Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser was also called into a private meeting with Netanyahu, and was informed that the prime minister has "lost trust" in him and in Hendel because they did not inform him of the matter and instead turned to the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Hendel told Netanyahu that if he had lost his trust he would like to resign. At first Netanyahu accepted the resignation, but later asked him to stay on so that he may consider what to do, at first for an additional 24 hours and later for two weeks. Hendel agreed.

"I am disappointed that you did not share the information with me and hid it for a month," Netanyahu told Hauser and Hendel. "You should have turned to me first and I would have acted exactly like you did and turned to the attorney general."

Hauser and Hendel told Netanyahu that they did not update him so as to not implicate him in the affair. Netanyahu, however, replied that he was not convinced and that the two have betrayed his trust.

Netanyahu had a similar conversation with Military Secretary Yohanan Locker, who was already expected to leave his post at the prime minister's office for a different one in the Israel Defense Forces.

The Natan Eshel affair ended Sunday with an agreement that led to the resignation of Netanyahu's bureau chief, who was accused of sexually harassing an employee identified only as R., and his admission of inappropriate conduct.

Netanyahu said he was sad to see Eshel go, and praised him warmly. But the prime minister conspicuously refrained from praising the three senior members of his bureau who reported the alleged transgressions, sparking a disciplinary inquiry into Eshel's conduct.

Earlier Tuesday, footage emerged of Netanyahu reprimanding Hauser at the start of a cabinet meeting, telling him to be more assertive in having the meeting door closed so that no one could enter.

Watch the video below and read the transcript.

Hauser: Etti, if you may, close the door, and when the Prime Minister is talking-
Netanyahu: No, ‘close the door’; not, ‘if you may’. Close it! Simply, "lock the door. Lock it."
Netanyahu: Didn’t you hear me?
Hauser: No, no, OK.
Netanyahu: No, because they are opening the door. So say (something), put a person there who will stop people from entering.
Hauser: Don’t let people come in. Etti will stand outside and will not let people come in.
Netanyahu: That’s it. Now make sure that there's a lock. Make sure that you have a lock. Lock it! I asked this last time. Carry it out and that’s it! Everything is recommendations.



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