Police Set to Close Sexual Harassment Probe Into ex-Knesset Member Magal

Former lawmaker quit Habayit Hayehudi party last November after series of allegations against him by former colleagues at news website.

Yinon Magal sitting at an office in the Knesset, November 5, 2015, with a security guard behind him.
Olivier Fitoussi

The police on Monday recommended closing a sexual harassment probe into former MK Yinon Magal. The ex-Habayit Hayehudi lawmaker’s attorneys welcomed the move.

The police said they believed there was insufficient evidence “to prove that the former MK committed a criminal offense.”

Until being elected to the Knesset last March, Magal had been editor of the Walla website. The probe dealt partly with events that allegedly took place at his farewell party in a Tel Aviv bar, about a month before the election. Magal was also investigated in regard to alleged acts against female employees who worked for him.

The police said Magal had been “questioned under caution, a considerable amount of testimony was taken from people involved, and various investigative activities were carried out.” Magal’s attorneys, Oded Gazit and Galia Cohen, welcomed the recommendation and said they were “convinced this will also be the opinion of the State Prosecutor’s Office.”

The story broke last November when Walla journalist Racheli Rottner complained in a Facebook post about Magal’s behavior at his farewell party, when he allegedly made sexual comments to her. A series of other testimonies followed by other female workers, alleging that Magal had touched them on the backside and attempted to kiss some of them.

Magal subsequently resigned his position as a Habayit Hayehudi MK and faction chairman on November 23. At the time, Magal told party leader Naftali Bennett he was certain there was nothing criminal about his actions, but realized some people had been hurt by his behavior and he therefore asked to resign.