“Peres suddenly pinned me to the door and tried to kiss me,” said MK Colette Avital. “When I left, my legs were shaking. I was repulsed.”
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Shimon Peres, former prime minister and president of Israel who was one of the nation’s most storied statesmen, repeatedly sexually harassed former Labor MK Colette Avital, she revealed during a bombshell interview on Thursday with Hebrew language daily Haaretz.
While stationed in Paris while on a diplomatic assignment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 1980s, Avital said that Peres invited her to his hotel room to discuss an urgent security matter.
The supposed emergency was really just a pretence to pressure her into sex, Avital told Haaretz.
Upon arrival, she was surprised to find Peres clad only in his pajamas. He then tried to physically push her onto the bed, but she left the room.
She told Peres’ advisor, Yossi Beilin, who later served as a minister in his government, about the incident.
“I told him: ‘The next time Peres arrives in Paris, I will not be left alone with him. You will be with me,’’ Avital recalled.
At the time, Peres was head of the opposition in the Knesset.
Initially, Avital believed the incident was a one-off event, but he sexually harassed her again a few years later.
After returning to Israel from her assignment in Paris in 1984, Avital was called for an interview with Peres for the position of his communications director. Peres was then the prime minister of Israel.
Avital told Haaretz that the interview had been uneventful, until she tried to leave the meeting room.
“He suddenly pinned me to the door and tried to kiss me,” she said. “When I left, my legs were shaking. I was repulsed.”
She added that just minutes before, Peres had expressed reservations about hiring a woman and said he was worried what people would say if he chose a female for the position.
Beilin told Ynet that he had no recollection of the Paris incident.
“I do not remember such an event and I certainly was not exposed to such behavior from Peres,” he said.
“I was very surprised by this interview. I am also not in a position to deny things, because I do not remember.”