The first account accusing David Keyes of engaging in inappropriately aggressive sexual behavior during his tenure as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign media spokesman emerged Thursday evening, shortly after the announcement that Keyes was taking a leave of absence from his job.
The Times of Israel reported that an unnamed woman, described as a recent North American immigrant to Israel, had come forward with a description of advances which fell short of sexual assault but involved “aggressive, sexual behavior.” The incidents took place, she said, in April 2016, a month after Keyes began working in Netanyahu’s office.
According to the woman, after meeting and exchanging phone numbers, Keyes began “aggressively texting” her suggesting that they meet, and two months later, he ambushed her at a location she had told him she would be at with friends on WhatsApp.
She said that Keyes followed her to the bathroom “pushed me up against the wall and tried to come on to me. I had to push him off and ran away,” the TOI quoted her as recounting, and that “he tried to grab me from behind, but I sort of pushed him away. There was no kissing, no touching, just very aggressive trying.”
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After her rejection, she said, he left her alone, but continued to text her.
Until this new account, all of the accusations of sexual harassment and assault against Keyes, including that of New York State Senate candidate Julia Salazar, took place in the United States, in the years before he began his job with Netanyahu, when he served as the executive director of Advancing Human Rights.
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In its report Thursday, the Times of Israel said that in addition to 12 women with whom they had been in contact over the past two years regarding their encounters with Keyes and reported on Wednesday, two additional women had come forward, bringing their total of his accusers to 14.
One of the new accounts, which the website said came from a former staffer at the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC involved “very negative” and “uncomfortable” experiences with Keyes, including invitations via text to visit his hotel room. Although “he never physically forced himself on me but put a LOT of pressure on me repeatedly,” the woman said.
Neither Keyes nor the Prime Minister’s office offered a response in the latest TOI report. On Wednesday, Keyes told the publication that “all of the accusations are deeply misleading and many of them are categorically false.”