Former Israeli Mayor Convicted of Sex Crimes, Corruption

Ex-Or Yehuda mayor named a street in the town after a resident with whom he had an affair.

Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron
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David Yosef in court, Tuesday, May 26, 2015.
David Yosef in court, Tuesday, May 26, 2015.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron

David Yosef, the former mayor of Or Yehuda, was convicted Monday of sex crimes and corruption, including using his position to name a street in the town after one of his lovers.

Yosef was convicted by the Tel Aviv District Court on 16 counts of forcible sexual assault, indecent acts, sexual harassment, fraud, breach of trust, theft by a public employee and other crimes. He was acquitted on nine counts due to a reasonable doubt concerning his guilt. Of the 15 counts of sex crime with which Yosef was charged, Judge David Rozen convicted him on 11.

Rozen said in his decision that Yosef violated the trust placed in him and acted against the public interest for which he was responsible. The judge also said his lofty position when he carried out the crimes was not to his benefit in the case, since as mayor he was required to act according to the strictest moral constraints. Instead he exploited his position for his personal benefit, said Rozen.

During more than two terms as mayor, from May 2007 to June 2015, Yosef ran the municipality “with an iron fist,” according to the indictment. He demanded that city employees obey him unconditionally, and anyone who didn’t was punished – sometimes by dismissal, other times by having their projects canceled or their budgets slashed.

Yosef “sought to systematically conduct sexual relations with many women, of varying ages and marital status, whom he met during his work,” the indictment said. When women were in his office, he would rub up against them, caress them and/or kiss them without their consent, and sometimes despite their explicit objections. Women who consented to sleep with him were “showered with gifts such as personal computers, gift vouchers and other benefits purchased with the city’s budget, including luxurious redecorations of [municipal] offices,” the indictment continued.

In one of the incidents that drew great public attention, Yosef apparently named a street in the town after a lover. When Bali Street was dedicated in Or Yehuda, the municipality explained that it was named after the educator and musician Nissim Bali, an Or Yehuda resident. But according to the indictment, Bali is the nickname given by Yosef to a young resident of the city with whom he had an affair.

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