Israeli Mayor, a Former Likud Minister, Investigated for Rape and Bribery

Or Akiva mayor Yaakov Edri is also suspected of extortion and making threats, as well as assault and battery

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Yaakov Edri in Rishon Letzion's Magistrates Court, November 10, 2020.
Yaakov Edri in Rishon Letzion's Magistrates Court, November 10, 2020.Credit: Ilan Assayag
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Yaakov Edri, the mayor of Or Akiva and a former Likud cabinet minister, is being investigated by the police on suspicion of rape and other sex crimes in a number of incidents.

On Wednesday, the court allowed the allegations to be published at the request of Haaretz.

Edri was arrested two weeks ago on suspicion of corruption, including allegations of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust. While the corruption investigation was being conducted, a woman filed a complaint with the police that Edri had raped her in the past and committed other sex crimes against her. As part of these alleged crimes, Edri is also suspected of extortion and making threats, as well as assault and battery.

Edri has denied all the accusations against him. On Wednesday he was ordered into house arrests for 10 days and banned from acting as mayor for another 45 days.

The police are investigating an allegation of a rape that occurred six years ago, when Edri served as deputy public security minister. The woman said Edri raped her when the two were alone in his office, a source with knowledge of the details of the investigation told Haaretz.

Police asked for a gag order last week for the sexual and violent crimes being investigated, but the gag order was partially lifted on Wednesday by Judge Guy Avnon of the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court, at the request of Haaretz and the Kan public broadcaster.

Edri is also being investigated on suspicion of a number of counts of forbidden consensual intercourse, which occurred less than 10 years ago – so the statute of limitations has not yet run out on these alleged crimes.

One piece of evidence the police have is a text message Edri sent to the woman, which was presented in court and in which it seems Edri was apologizing for forcing himself on her. Edri denied this during questioning, began crying and said he has been a public servant for 45 years and has never been accused of anything.

A major development in the corruption case occurred in the past few days. A number of businessmen and real estate developers suspected of bribing Edri have been arrested. His former personal assistant and confidant Orly Yehezkel was arrested and is suspected of brokering the bribes – and she is expected to turn state’s evidence against him.

Edri’s lawyers said the gag order ended on Wednesday and was not extended with Edri’s agreement. “As for the new suspicions attributed to Mr. Edri in the area of sex crimes and violence, these are suspicions whose severity is as great as their baselessness.”

That no complaints have ever been filed against Edri on such matters shows they were only invented in an attempt that has a single goal – to harm and slander Edri “out of clear motives that at this stage we are prevented from elaborating on,” added the lawyers.

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