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Uri Sagi Photo: Roni Schutzer
Uri Sagi Photo: Roni Schutzer
 
Shelly Yachimovich Photo: Ofer Amram
Shelly Yachimovich Photo: Ofer Amram
 
  Photos: Ohad Zwigenberg, Ofer Amram, Haim Zach, Ido Erez

 

Sagi: Yachimovich gains political capital at my expense

Former brig.-gen. who dropped out of Labor race over alleged sexual harassment complaint, claims party mishandled the case; Labor dismisses allegations

Matti Siver
Published: 11.12.12, 20:15 / Israel News

Former Military Intelligence Chief Brigadier-General (Ret.) Uri Sagi, who announced last week that he was withdrawing from the Labor Party primaries, commented Monday on the sexual harassment allegations that were reported as the reason for his decision to drop out of the race.

 

Referring to Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich, who was reportedly the one who asked him to forsake the bid, Sagi told Ynet: "Since the case became public, Yachimovich has been gaining political capital at my expense, by leaking and briefing to such an extent that it tarnishes my reputation and borders on slander."

 

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Sagi added that, "The public has a right to know what is behind this case, and further details will become clear in the future."

 

Three weeks after the Labor chairwoman introduced the former intelligence chief as the party's military expert, Yachimovich informed Sagi that a woman who was his subordinate during his military service confided in her that he had allegedly harassed her when the two were serving in the IDF.

  

As a result, Yachimovich asked Sagi to quit the race, which he did a few hours later, citing "health and personal family reasons."

  

What seemed to be a mutual agreement between Yachimovich and Sagi, however, grew into political rivalry, as both Sagi and Yachimovich continued to address the issue.

 

Last week, Yachimovich, spoke of sexual harassments during a speech at a women's business conference, likely implying to Sagi's rumored sex scandal.

  

"Almost every woman among us has gone through something similar, be it harassment or rape… We have a moral obligation to enforce the law in these cases and make sure that justice is done," Yachimovich said.

 

Sagi insisted Monday that the complaint was baseless and that he regretted to have agreed to the demand to withdraw from the race. "I have to deal with such allegations without being able to actually respond," Sagi noted, concluding that "punishing an innocent person by an anonymous complaint" was too easy a task to perform.

 

According to Sagi, the official statement accompanying his retirement from the party was composed by Yachimovich herself and her advisor Shalom Kital, who did not reveal the identity of the complainant, and ensured Sagi that her aim was to stop him from assuming public office.

 

The Labor Party dismissed Sagi's criticism of the party's handling of the complaint. "There was no other way to act in light of the circumstances. We reject Sagi's allegations and are surprised that he insists on continuously discussing the issue," the party statement read.

 

Tzvika Brot and Shahar Chai contributed to this report

 

Matti Siver is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent 

 

 

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