Never mind Iran...Netanyahu´s office rocked by sex scandal (INDEPENDENT UK) DONALD MACINTYRE JERUSALEM 02/25/12)
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The plot would have been too exotic for The West Wing, the relations
in the Prime Minister´s inner circle more fractious than those
portrayed in Borgen. But the real-life drama that has unfolded in
Benjamin Netanyahu´s office in the last fortnight would certainly
make a riveting television series, even if some of its twists and
turns would strain the audience´s capacity to suspend disbelief.
The storyline would go like this. A Prime Minister determined to stop
his country´s leading adversary from acquiring nuclear weapons is
less than a month away from a crucial meeting with a US President
anxious to prevent him launching a military strike. His top adviser
and bureau chief resigns in a plea bargain acknowledging sexually
harassing a female employee by taking inappropriate photographs of
her, reading private emails and other "unbefitting and unacceptable"
But then the Prime Minister rounds on the three officials in his
office who had reported the sexual harassment allegations for taking
them not to him, but to the Civil Service Commission. The officials,
who thought they were acting loyally by keeping the Prime Minister
out of the affair, are affronted, so much so that one of them resigns.
This summarises recent events in Mr Netanyahu´s office. Yoaz Hendel,
the communications chief who resigned this week, is the latest
casualty of the acutely embarrassing affair of Natan Eshel, a close
ally of Mr Netanyahu and his wife Sara.
Under the deal he made with the Attorney General and the Civil
Service Commission, Mr Eshel will leave his post on 1 March. The
Commission interviewed 28 witnesses, including Mr Eshel, but not
including the woman he was accused of harassing, known as R, who
refused to testify.
This week, Mr Netanyahu, right, confirmed his annoyance with the
three officials who took their concerns to the Civil Service
Commission: Mr Hendel, the Cabinet Secretary, Zvi Hauser, and the
PM´s military secretary, Major General Yohanan Locker. While saying
that he would have dealt "exactly" the same way with any suspicion of
harassment, for him to be kept in the dark was a "tough hurtful,
In one of the most a damning commentaries on the affair, Yedhiot
Ahronot´s Shimon Shiffer wrote that, having covered every Prime
Minister since Menachem Begin, he had never seen as "conflicted and
frenetic" a work environment as that surrounding Mr Netanyahu.
Lamenting the "emptying" from his office of some of his best people,
Mr Shiffer added: "Now try to think about how Netanyahu will make the
decision that he is moving towards, according to foreign reports: A
strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities. To whom is he talking
about this? Whom can he count on? It is a puzzle. To tell the truth,
it is rather frightening." (©independent.co.uk 02/25/12)
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