Labor Party and Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay suspended Labor MK Eitan Broshi Sunday following recent complaints that he patted his party colleague MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin on the backside and fresh allegations that he sexually harassed a colleague while he was mayor of the Jezreel Valley Regional Council some 15 years ago.
“ I have spoken with Knesset Member Broshi this evening and informed him of his immediate suspension from the party activities. I have also demanded him to take responsibility for his shameful actions and retire from the Knesset. Sexual offenders have no place in the street or in the Knesset. ” Gabbay wrote in a statement.
Two weeks ago, Nahmias-Verbin accused Broshi of touching her on the buttocks during a field trip. Broshi apologized for the incident and claimed it was just a “friendly gesture.” Nahmias-Verbin accepted the apology but wrote on her Facebook page that Broshi had behaved inappropriately and humiliated her.
On Sunday, Channel 10 TV published allegations that while Broshi was mayor of Jezreel Valley Regional Council, a post he held from 1999 to 2006, he had trapped a female colleague in an elevator and touched her “intimate parts.” The woman, who remains anonymous, told Channel 10 that she had to “fight off” to escape from the elevator.
According to the Channel 10 report, the woman notified Gabbay of the allegations in a letter. Broshi’s lawyer Ilan Bombach categorically denied the allegations and said he would sue for defamation. “MK Broshi never committed any act of harassment,” Bombach said, adding that his client would fight for his good name as he did when he was a soldier in the IDF’s Golani infantry unit.
Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich wrote on her Twitter account on Sunday that Broshi should have been expelled two weeks ago.
“Broshi’s terrible indecent act against a Knesset member was sufficient to suspend him from political life, and now we have received further proof of this. Broshi and other sex offenders like him have no place in the Knesset and in public” she wrote.
Meretz MKs Tamar Zandberg and Michal Rozin also called on Broshi to resign immediately from the Knesset.
If Broshi resigns from the Knesset, he will be replaced by anti-corruption activist Eldad Yaniv who was among the organizers of recent weekly protests against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Yaniv is the next name on the Zionist Union list after former MK Robert Tiviaev, who will replace outgoing opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog after the latter was appointed head of the Jewish Agency.
Meanwhile, Broshi sent a letter to Gabbay Monday demanding that he apologize and immediately retract the decision to suspend him by 9:00 pm otherwise he will take legal action against him.
By: Mara Vigevani