Outgoing Public Security Chief Denies Harassment Charges

Former adviser claims Hagai Peleg verbally abused and sexual harassed her over a period of several months.

The recently-resigned director general of the Public Security Ministry yesterday rejected sexual harassment allegations brought against him by an external ministry adviser.

"I deny the charges, they're exaggerated and overblown. I didn't harass or abuse. The complainant and I had professional work relations and differences," Hagai Peleg, who resigned on Wednesday, reportedly told confidants.

Peleg implied the complaint was linked to renewing the adviser's contract with the ministry, which was due shortly. He said his relations with the adviser were informal, as they had worked together.

Peleg denied having resigned over the complaint and said the reason was a conversation he had with a senior ministry official about the complaint. He said he realized afterward he had been wrong to talk about the complaint, as this could be interpreted as an attempt to obstruct the investigation.

Peleg has not been questioned by the Civil Service Commission yet. The commission is not authorized to investigate a retired official, putting the case's future in the air.

The adviser said in her complaint that Peleg had tried to harm her and her professional status, using verbal abuse and sexual harassment over a period of several months.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch yesterday appointed deputy director general Eliezer Rosenbaum as acting director general, until a replacement for Peleg is found.