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Israeli Academic Extremism

Hebrew University - Eyal Ben-Ari arrested for complaints of "sexual harassment"

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1008511.html

Three students file harassment complaints against professor

By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent
05/08/2008

Three former students have filed police complaints of sexual harassment against Professor Eyal Ben-Ari. As of Monday, the three women testified that Ben-Ari's made them indecent proposals. Police say that in the coming days they expect the women to add additional charges to the file.

Ben-Ari, a senior lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was arrested last week on suspicion of forcing sexual relations on students and doctoral candidates he was advising in exchange for their advancement and scholarships.

The police have the names of seven students who were allegedly victimized by Ben-Ari. A number of them have been summoned to the police to testify, and police continue to seek out other possible complainants.

Investigators say they believe the publicity in the case will bring other women forward.

Ben-Ari, a sociology and anthropology professor, denied the allegations during his police questioning. He would admit only to having a consensual affair with a student 12 years ago.

The investigation against Ben-Ari began after students who were allegedly victimized by Ben-Ari sent an anonymous letter to the university authorities. The students accused Ben-Ari of rape, forced sexual relations and misuse of university funds to finance his own trips abroad with female students and to purchase gifts for them.

Ben-Ari was released last week with restrictions. He has been banned from the campus for 30 days and prohibited from contacting the complainants or university officials. He is also not allowed to leave the country and had to sign a bond of NIS 10,000.

Three months ago, a teaching assistant published sexual allegations against a colleague of Ben-Ari's, which ultimately led to Ben-Ari's arrest.

The university has denied dragging its feet in handling sexual harassment complaints. But Israel Women's Network attorney Yifat Mitzner, who is representing the teaching assistant, said the university tried to close her client's case without even hearing the complainant's testimony.

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