Israeli Nightclub Co-owner Charged With Rape and Sexual Assault

Ten women have filed sexual assault complaints against Yossi Schwartz, including a key witness who provided material information leading to his indictment

Nati Yefet
Nati Yefet
Yossi Schwartz at the Be'er Sheva Court, on Monday.
Yossi Schwartz at the Be'er Sheva Court, on Monday.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Nati Yefet
Nati Yefet

Yossi Schwartz, one of the owners of a Be'er Sheva nightclub, was indicted on Monday for the rape of a woman visiting the club, sexual assault against another woman and providing drugs to two other women.

Police view one of the victims as a key witness following a statement she gave last week in which she provided useful information. A fourth woman is expected to complete her statement next week.

Schwartz, who is in police custody, has also been charged with sexual harassment. Ten women have filed sexual assault complaints against him, with some of the cases having exceeded the statute of limitations, according to a court hearing last week.

According to the indictment, Schwartz had no prior acquaintance with the women he allegedly assaulted, and he committed the crimes in his office at the Forum Club, which he co-owns with his brother Roee.

One of the complainants described arriving at the club with her friends, where Schwartz “spoke to them and treated them to drinks from the bar.” He then led her to his office, where he raped her. The indictment states that the complainant “was surprised by his action, froze in place and then pushed him away and said: ‘No’.”

In the second incident described in the indictment, he offered a woman he brought into his office a job as a dancer in the “cage” at the club, telling her that “with a body like hers she’ll make a lot of money.” The complainant made it clear to him that she wasn’t interested, but offered him her phone number after he said he might offer her a different job. At that point he also offered her drugs, but she refused, after which he assaulted her.

“In so doing, the defendant committed an indecent sexual act upon the complainant without her consent and through the use of force, and also repeatedly sexually propositioned the complainant, who showed the defendant that she was not interested,” the indictment reads.

Following Monday’s indictment against him, the Forum Club announced that Schwartz would cease all activity at the club immediately. “This is not our way,” the club’s statement read.

Last week Haaretz reported that there had been significant progress in the investigation against Schwartz. Alongside the first complainant, code-named A., who complained about a month ago that Schwartz raped her at the club, there is a second complainant, B., who testified that he sexually assaulted her two years ago.

Police set up a two-hour confrontation between B. and Schwartz last week, and the Southern District fraud unit investigators believe her testimony is solid and credible. The day after the confrontation, the prosecution announced its intent to indict Schwartz.

Schwartz, 60, from the southern Israeli town of Omer, was arrested in late May on suspicion of raping a woman a few days earlier at the nightclub, and has remained in custody ever since.

A hearing on extending his arrest until the end of proceedings was postponed to next week.

A few months ago, following an exposé on the TV news show “Hatzinor,” B. filed a complaint against Schwartz at a police station in the south, but after he claimed that the sexual encounter was consensual, police stopped the investigation.

Following his arrest, police set up a confrontation between Schwartz and one of the complainants, D., regarding a complaint on which the statute of limitations has expired. Police believe that it could significantly strengthen the argument that Schwartz's actions are part of a consistent pattern.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Election ad featuring Yair Lapid in Rahat, the largest Arab city in Israel's Negev region.

This Bedouin City Could Decide Who Is Israel's Next Prime Minister

Dr. Claris Harbon in the neighborhood where she grew up in Ashdod.

A Women's Rights Lawyer Felt She Didn't Belong in Israel. So She Moved to Morocco

Mohammed 'Moha' Alshawamreh.

'It Was Real Shock to Move From a Little Muslim Village, to a Big Open World'

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister