New Complaint Against Ari Shavit: He Grabbed, Tried to Kiss Me While I Was Dating His Daughter

Israeli website publishes the woman's account, who claimed the journalist placed his hand on the back of her neck and tried to move her head toward him ■ Shavit: 'What was done to me is cold-blooded murder'

Ari Shavit speaks at a Haaretz conference in New York in 2015.
Chandler West for IRL Productions

Following an interview with Ari Shavit published in Haaretz last week, in which he referred to various women accusing him of sexual harassment and his subsequent soul-searching, another woman came forward to accuse the journalist of untoward behavior.

The woman's account, published by the independent Israeli online magazine "Hottest Place in Hell," details a claim according to which Shavit placed his hand on the back of the complainant's neck and tried to move her head for a kiss while she was dating his daughter. 

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"When my ex-partner’s father gripped the back of my neck he was a 50-year-old man, husband and father, a highly-respected and well-positioned journalist, a regular at a gym, and at trendy wine bars, surrounded by beautiful women," she wrote. "I could feel all of these weighing on the back of my neck. I felt we both knew he was convinced that he is deserving."

"I reminded him that I am of his own daughter’s partner," she wrote, adding that he responded,"That is not what I understood. You’re her ex. I wouldn’t hit on the partner of a friend of mine, especially if I knew they were still together.'”

Following the publication of the latest account, Shavit told Army Radio that the author "murdered my daughter this morning. She ruined her life. What was done to me is cold-blooded murder. A despicable act, people are being slaughtered in the street with no debate [taking place] or anything. [Even] in the Soviet Revolution there were no field trials. We cannot allow this to go on."

The essay the complainant penned is addressed as an open letter to Dr. Orit Kamir, a lawyer and a legal scholar who drafter the Israeli law against sexual harassment and interviewed Shavit for Haaretz.

The author noted she published her story, with details slightly changed and published anonymously, in July 2013. "My partner was Ari Shavit’s daughter, who is presently, as quoted in your own article, 'a human rights activist and an avid feminist.' Unlike the blatant formulation published on Haaretz online – the first time his daughter confronted his shady actions was not a year-and-a-half ago but six years ago."

"For six years she and I have been coping with that painful night, together and separately, sensitively, bravely, through dialogue," she wrote. "From where I stand I can attest that she has definitely been making progress in this journey, being one of the wisest and most moral women I know. And thus I know that she realizes why I must make this letter public."

According to the report, Shavit responded to the new allegations: "My daughter's ex-partner thinks I should disappear forever. Her position is radical and disproportionate. When I made mistakes regarding young women I took full responsibility. I apologized, I suspended myself, I learned lessons. I went and am still going through a process of mending, but the story told here is completely different. There's nothing between what took place and what is described here. The version changes and evolves. I did not grab her by the neck, I did not try to kiss her, I had no unworthy intentions with regards to her. As it involves my daughter's private life I will not elaborate any further."

In October 2016 Shavit announced his resignation from Haaretz and Channel 10, after Jewish-American journalist Danielle Berrin accused him of trying to forcefully kiss and touch her during an interview.

"I am ashamed of the mistakes I made with regards to people in general and women in particular," Shavit said in a statement following his resignation. "I am embarrassed that I did not behave correctly to my wife and children. I am embarrassed about the consequences of what I did."

Shavit told Haaretz in last week's interview that "besides Danielle Berrin, the woman who opened my eyes is my eldest daughter. She is an impassioned feminist and human-rights activist. She is also one of the wisest, most moral women I know. On a bleak Shabbat, as everything around me seemed to collapse, we took a long walk together in a public park near our home. I was in shock. My world was ablaze. Yet, then and there, my daughter helped me begin my conversion." 

"With great love and empathy, she illuminated for me what I had only begun to see. She told me how young women of the third millennium perceive my actions. She asked me how I would feel if she found herself in a situation similar to the one Danielle Berrin found herself in. Her plainspoken insights, together with what Berrin had written, shook me to my core. When we returned home, I began to see the world differently," Shavit said.

Following Berrin's accusation, a J Street staffer said Shavit 'groped' her hand and tried to call her afterward several times.

In December 2017, the Jewish Currents magazine detailed two further allegations against Shavit that took place in 2014 and 2015. The first reported that Shavit approached her during an event at the University of Maryland to promote his book "My Promised Land."

"At the end of the conversation, we stood up, and while shaking hands, he leaned towards my face," said Farooqi, who was 22 at the time. "I turned my head, and he was kissing the side of my mouth. I said nothing. I felt weird. I didn’t feel assaulted, I just kept thinking, ‘that was weird.’”

The second allegation reported in the magazine refers to an incident that took place in January 2014 at Brandeis. The woman, Catriona Stewart, was 20 at the time and served as a J Street U student leader. According to Stewart, Shavit approached a group of students to in order to take a photograph. “I was excited to take a picture with him," she said. "He had signed my book, and as I stood next to him for the picture he started to move his hand, rubbing me along my lower back it was touchier than I’d ever experienced from an adult I didn’t know."