Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and lawmakers on the Right and Left called for MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) to resign from the Knesset amid accusations of sexual assault on Thursday.
The allegations against Slomiansky from as many as eight women involve touching and kissing them against their will, including in the Knesset.
Slomiansky denied the charges, with his office stating that he “never harassed women. From meeting with rabbis he understood that it is possible that his behavior, which is known to be warm towards all people, was interpreted in a different way, and he is sorry for that. MK Slomiansky has served the public for 40 years, including in the Knesset, and will continue to do so.”
Two weeks ago, Bayit Yehudi activist and former primary contestant Chagit Moriah-Gibor posted on a religious women’s Facebook group that there is a “roaring silence” about “a serving MK who assaulted and assaults women for years.” Army Radio reported Thursday morning that the MK in question is Slomiansky and after a group of rabbis led by Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu spoke to him, he plans to resign from the chairmanship of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.
Soon after Slomiansky’s denial, Edelstein said the MK should resign from the Knesset.
“I would call on Nissan Slomiansky to clarify these matters outside of the Knesset’s walls,” he told Army Radio. “That means, I think, to suspend himself [from the legislature] or quit, as he chooses. I say these things with pain. I usually hold back and don’t decide these things.”
An MK cannot be removed from office unless he is convicted of a crime with moral turpitude or, in a law passed this year under Slomiansky’s leadership, if 90 MKs vote to impeach him on grounds of inciting racism or violence or supporting armed conflict against Israel.
Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Shuli Muallem said Slomiansky must remove himself from work in the Knesset while things are investigated.
“There is no place for harassers in public leadership,” she said on Israel Radio. “There is too big a gap between his message and the women’s testimony. This is a difficult morning, because he is a friend and a public servant, but he must remove himself.”
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) said he supports the rabbis’ decision, trusts them and stands behind their findings.
Meretz MKs Zehava Gal-On, Michal Rosin and Tamar Zandberg said that “harming women is not a public service. Slomiansky’s public service does not clear him from the testimony of women he allegedly harmed in the Knesset and outside of it. We call on him to take responsibility for his actions and resign from the Knesset immediately.
If he does not do so, his party leader, the Education Minister, must stand with the women and our clear call.”
MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union), who had a notoriously antagonistic relationship with Slomiansky when he was chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, said his behavior is a form of corruption.
“Slomiansky must resign immediately. Bayit Yehudi’s leadership must engage in deep introspection. There is no room in the Knesset for people who use power they received from the public to hurt women,” she stated.
Last year, then-MK Yinon Magal of Bayit Yehudi resigned after allegations of sexual harassment and assault came to light. The State Attorney’s Office closed the case against him months later, saying it does not warrant an indictment.