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Sunday, 23 September 2018

Netanyahu spokesman takes leave after sex misconduct claims

AFP , Thursday 13 Sep 2018
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File Photo: David Keyes, NetanyahuÕs international media spokesman (C) speaks to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he sits next to Israeli Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman during the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, June 24, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
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A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he will take a leave of absence "to clear my name" after a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him.

David Keyes, Netanyahu's spokesman for international media who has been interviewed regularly on television, was notably accused in recent days of sexual assault by Julia Salazar, a candidate for the New York state senate in the United States.

"In light of the false and misleading accusations against me and in order not to distract from the important work of the prime minister, I have asked to take time off to clear my name," Keyes said in a statement.

"I am fully confident that the truth will come out."

Salazar has received criticism in the course of her campaign over inconsistencies in details about other parts of her life she has shared.

But following Salazar's accusation, The Times of Israel news site reported on Thursday that 11 other women had also accused Keyes, 34, of inappropriate behaviour.

Ten of the woman spoke to the news site on condition of anonymity. Wall Street Journal reporter Shayndi Raice went public with accusations against Keyes.

"The man had absolutely no conception of the word 'no'," she said on Twitter.

"No matter how often I said no, he would not stop pushing himself on me. I was able to extricate myself quickly and it was a very brief and uncomfortable moment but I knew as I walked away I had encountered a predator."

The accusations date back to before Keyes took up his job in Netanyahu's office in 2016, when he was in the United States.

Before joining Netanyahu's office, US-born Keyes was executive director of New York-based Advancing Human Rights, an NGO which sought to assist dissidents in oppressive countries.

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