Former Israel Bar chief questioned over alleged sexual misconduct

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Police on Tuesday questioned the former head of the Israel Bar Association, Avi Himi, on suspicion of sexual misconduct and breach of trust.

Himi resigned in January, a day after a TV report detailing allegations that he had exposed himself to a female lawyer.

The Channel 13 report said the incident took place during a Zoom call with the lawyer, who had asked Himi to support her appointment as a judge. After notifying her that he had sent a letter recommending her promotion, the senior lawyer allegedly took his pants off and started masturbating.

Himi has insisted that the act was consensual and they had a relationship that went on for several years, although the accuser — who has declined to reveal her identity — insisted there was no consent.

“He was a man with status who allowed himself to behave in an unacceptable manner. Unfortunately, this regressive behavior by men of authority toward women still happens today,” the woman told Channel 13 news. “What he did is sexual harassment.”

Himi, who had been one of the loudest opposition voices against the government’s plan to radically overhaul the judicial system, also suggested that the surfacing of the allegations was a deliberate act to silence him.

“The timing was intentional and clear — they tried to take me out. They’ll never succeed,” he said before resigning.

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