The 81-year-old former Israeli ambassador and Labor MK Colette Avital said that former President Shimon Peres tried to initiate unwanted sexual contact with her on two separate occasions.
In an interview with Haaretz’s Gidi Weitz, Avital recalled being invited to dine in Peres’ Paris hotel in the early 1980s, when the then-opposition leader was visiting the city where she was stationed as part of the Israeli diplomatic mission.
When Avital arrived she was told the meeting would take place in his room due to “security reasons” and, upon entering, she discovered that Peres was waiting for her in his “pajamas.”
Peres pushed her towards the bed, she resisted and left the room agitated.
“It took a few seconds,” she recalled, stating that she then told Peres aide Yossi Beilin that the next time his boss came to Paris “I will not be left alone with him.”
In 1984, after three years in Paris, Avital returned to ‘Israel’ following Shimon Peres and Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir’s deal to form a unity government in rotation.
She pushed for a position in the new administration but was told that her gender would prove a barrier to advancement.
During one meeting, after Peres had declined her request for a prominent position, she said that he “pinned me to the door and tried to kiss me,” she recalled. “My legs shook when I left, it repulsed me.”
Peres, who’s known among the Palestinians as ‘the butcher of Qana’ and ‘the engineer of genocide against Arabs’, is not the only Israeli president to be indicted with sex offences.
In 2011, Israel’s former President Moshe Katsav was sentenced for seven years in jail, as he raped an employee in the 1990s when he was tourism minister, and of later sexual offences while he was president.