Actor Moshe Ivgy was convicted Thursday of sexually assaulting a woman on a film lot in 2012.
The Haifa Magistrate’s Court acquitted him on two other counts, but in both cases, Judge Ziv Arieli said he believed the complainants. A fourth count was removed from the indictment after the complainant refused to cooperate with the proceedings.
In the charges for which he was convicted, Ivgy was accused of stroking the complainant’s bare back and putting his hand under her camisole. When the woman, A., objected, he responded: “An opening calls to a thief.”
In another incident, while filming the television series “The Arbitrator,” he pressed himself against A. and whispered that he wanted to “f**k” her.
The court rejected Ivgy’s claim that he was joking and that his conduct constituted “a legitimate attempt at courtship.” It added that his testimony wasn’t credible, as it was “tortuous and evasive.”
Ivgy was acquitted due to reasonable doubt of a 2013 incident when he allegedly shoved his head into the breasts of another complainant, G., and felt her up through her clothing while they were working on a play. Though Ivgy’s testimony didn’t seem credible, Arieli wrote, there were doubts about what actually happened because G. gave varying accounts of the incident to her friends and because she refused to summon two witnesses whom she told about the incident shortly after it happened to testify in court.
Ivgy was also acquitted of another incident in 2013, in which he allegedly approached a third complainant, D., at a falafel stand and asked her explicit sexual questions, including whether she “was being f**ked.” Arieli concluded that Ivgy indeed asked these “invasive, crude, insensitive questions,” but said this didn’t amount to sexual harassment.
- #MeToo Shakes Up Israeli TV and Film Industry as Victims of Harassment Speak Out
- A Milestone for #MeToo and Israel: Iconic Actor Charged With Sexual Assault
- The Trailblazing Israeli Movement That Predated #MeToo
Ivgy’s attorney, Michael Carmel, said his client had been acquitted on three counts, and the fourth would never have come to court had Ivgy not been a famous actor. The prosecution said it would consider appealing the acquittals.
After the allegations came to light, Ivgy suspended his work in the theater. His trial began in June 2018, after Haaretz had reported that the prosecution was considering closing the case without charges.
In 2016, six film and television unions signed a pact to prevent sexual harassment in the industry. It bars inappropriate touching and humiliating treatment, requires that a sexual harassment supervisor be appointed for every production and sets rules for filming scenes involving nudity.