Second Woman Accuses ex-Israeli President Shimon Peres of Sexual Assault

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Haaretz
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Former President Shimon Peres
Former President Shimon PeresCredit: Dan Balilty/AP
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Haaretz

A second woman has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Shimon Peres, the late prime minister and president of Israel, Channel 12 reported on Saturday.

The former senior clerk to the president said that Peres harassed her on more than one occasion.  

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The woman gave a detailed account of the alleged assault to Channel 12, and described how Peres touched her inappropriately, before pinning her to the wall despite her protest. "I have terrible memories of him. I carry them with me to this day," she added.

The new allegation comes about a week after former Labor lawmaker Colette Avital, who worked with Peres in the Foreign Ministry, made similar allegations to Haaretz. In response to the new allegations, Avital told Channel 12: "It's disheartening, but it seems there were a few cases like this." Avital added that while she was left with difficult memories, "it was a time when men thought it was allowed. I'm not saying it was normal, but that was the way things were."

Avital recalled that it wasn't the only harassment she endured in those days, remarking that "it was not the only price we, as women, had to pay."

Former MK Colette Avital in her homeCredit: Daniel Tchetchik

The former consul general to New York told Channel 12 that while she has felt empowered and supported since the original report came out, she had never originally intended to reveal her story. But when asked directly, Avital said that she couldn't deny it.

"I think that as someone who spent years fighting sexual harassment, I would be setting a bad example by lying. That's why I think that young women today should know that they don't have to be victims and carry it with them all these years."

In her interview with Harretz, Avital broke her silence after years of combatting rumors that she had a sexual relationship with Peres, or that she "slept her way" up the professional ladder.

Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy said of the allegations against Peres on Channel 13 News that "there were women I know who were not willing to be left alone in the room with him."

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