Israel's Civil Service Comission Probing Conduct of Netanyahu Spokesman Keyes

Commission examining allegations of sexual assault against the prime minister's spokesman, who went on leave, and is set to check whether there were 'disciplinary aspects' in envoy Dermer's behavior after he failed to inform PM of what he knew

David Keyes (right) and Ron Dermer
GPO and PERRY BINDELGLASS

The Israeli Civil Service Commission has started examining allegations of sexual harassment by the spokesman of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, David Keyes.

They will examine whether there were any allegations made by women against Keyes while he was enlisted in the civil service. Keyes has denied the allegations and says he plans to fight to clear his name.

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"We are working to check whether there are allegations of similar events even after Keyes became a public servant," the commission said. "If such cases are found, they will be examined from a disciplanary point of view."

Nonetheless, the commission said in a statement that If the incidents decribed in testimonies against the spokesman occured while he lived in the U.S. and predated his service, "these matters are not within the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission and it is correct that they be clarified in the United States and in accordance with the laws that apply there.”

As of this time, Keyes has been accused of sexual impropriety by 14 women, including politician Julia Salazar and Wall Street Journal reporter Shayndi Raice. It was also revealed that Bret Stephens, now a columnist at the New York Times, warned Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer about Keyes’ behavior, saying that he “posed a risk to women in Israeli government offices.”

>> Read more: Israeli Ambassador Dermer, who knew about Keyes' misconduct, says he didn't inform prime ministerIsraeli lawmaker demands Netanyahu spokesman Keyes and envoy Dermer's conduct be checked

The commission confirmed the statements made by Dermer according to  which he received information about Keyes' behavior after he enlisted in the civil service, and did not transfer it to Netanyahu or the officials in charge of the case.

“As for Ambassador Dermer - from what was published and from his response - it emerges that after Keyes was already hired as a civil servant, Mr. Dermer was given general, not specific, claims that Keyes had acted inappropriately towards women at a time when he was not yet a civil servant. This information was not transferred to the superiors.”

The commission said that it is looking into whether Dermer’s actions will require disciplinary action.