Leading Israeli LGBTQ Activist Accused of Sexual Assault by Two Men

Gal Uchovsky has stepped down as president of the gay youth organization IGY following an investigative report on the matter

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Gal Uchovsky in 2011.
Gal Uchovsky in 2011.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

Two men have accused prominent LGBTQ activist Gal Uchovsky of sexually assaulting them, according to an investigative report on Kan public television.

The report said Uchovsky, a journalist and scriptwriter, forced himself on one of the men during a sexual encounter, ignoring his pleas to stop, and assaulted the other man during a work meeting. The first incident happened less than two years ago, making it within the statute of limitations.

Following the Kan report, Uchovsky, who was serving as president of the gay youth organization IGY, announced that he was stepping down from the role.

The police's Department of Investigations and Intelligence started looking into the case on Tuesday to determine whether there is a need to launch a criminal probe into the cases.

The first man, A., told Kan that he received a message from a man he didn’t know on a dating app and discovered that it was Uchovsky only after the man sent him pictures of himself.

“All our correspondence was about coordinating our sexual expectations,” said A. “Before every meeting with someone for this purpose, it’s important to me to coordinate our expectations very clearly ... about what kind of treatment I want to give and receive.”

But when he met Uchovsky, “I immediately felt there was something very different in the energy than there was in our correspondence – that I was meeting someone who had come to satisfy some very animalistic urge,” A. said. “It was very aggressive from the first moment.”

“I don’t see myself as someone who is threatened easily,” he added. “It felt very unpleasant ... as if he didn’t understand that there was a person in front of him. During this encounter, I said several times that it was unpleasant and he should stop doing something specific.”

“It was as if someone had pressed a button,” A. continued. “He didn’t communicate like a human being; he communicated like an animal. It was very aggressive, very violent ... He tried more than five times to turn me over forcibly. I told him, ‘Enough, let’s stop this.’ ... At one point, he leaned over me and, surprisingly and shockingly, simply slapped me in the face. That silenced me.”

A polygraph test found A. to be telling the truth.

The second man, B., had a work meeting with Uchovsky 11 years ago. B., who was in his 20s at the time, said Uchovsky had invited him to his home to talk about writing a film together.

“We were sitting far apart from each other, and suddenly, he simply jumped on me and started kissing me,” B. said. “I tried to push him away and he started in with, ‘Just a little bit, just a little bit.’ He forced himself on me despite my objections until he was done.”

A source at IGY said the organization had been completely unaware of this behavior, but if any complaints would be received, they would be handled “using all the necessary tools.”

The television report also prompted Uchovsky to leave a gay WhatsApp group he was a part of. Before leaving, he wrote, “Friends, this is a very difficult moment in my life. Therefore I’d prefer you to talk about me without me. I’m leaving for now. I’m leaving my full response to the report for your perusal. The [Kan news] corporation chose to edit it. But I mean every word I wrote in it.”

Uchovsky pasted in the statement he gave to Kan. Regarding the first incident, he said that he and A. had agreed to a sexual encounter that “ended in a friendly manner, and until now Gal didn’t know anything about the feelings of this member of the [LGBTQ] community.”

After receiving Kan’s request for comment about A.’s accusations, “Gal discovered that the person in question is in sexual spats with many members of the community who have contacted Gal and offered to share recordings and screenshots attesting to this,” the statement continued. “Nevertheless, out of understanding and sensitivity, Gal wants to apologize from the bottom of his heart to this man over the bad feelings he caused.”

Regarding the second incident, Uchovsky’s statement said that “in violation of the law and all the rules of ethics, the [Kan news] corporation didn’t give Gal any details about it, so there’s no way for him to respond to or defend himself against this incident, since he doesn’t know the details. But again, if this is how [B.] feels, he apologizes to the second complainant as well.

“As someone who has devoted his life to the community, Gal decided that he has a responsibility to end his role as president of IGY,” the statement concluded. “This organization was his life’s work and he doesn’t want anything to tarnish the organization.”

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