Top Israeli lawyer demands police investigate ex-colleague who posted his sex tape

Ex Israeli bar chief resigned after allegedly masturbating on a Zoom call in front of a female lawyer who had been seeking his professional recommendation


The former head of the Israel Bar Association has called for a police investigation into a fellow lawyer after she released a video of him allegedly masturbating while they were on a work-related Zoom call.

Avi Himi, one of Israel's most respected lawyers, has given investigators permission to access his electronic devices and restore all messages exchanged between him and attorney Ruth Kolian, who has accused him of sexual misconduct.

In a letter sent to the national crimes and corruption unit Lahav 433 on Monday morning, Himi said he wanted to clear his name and called for an investigation into the incident so that he could present his version of events.

Himi told the police his reputation and life had been destroyed in the media with the accusation and publication of the intimate video.

Last week, Israeli police announced an inquiry into Himi, who resigned from his role as head of the Israeli Bar Association after the claims of 'sexual bribery' emerged.

The police announcement came less than 24 hours after TV Channel 13 revealed that Himi had exposed himself to the female lawyer. After notifying her that he had sent a letter recommending her promotion, the senior lawyer allegedly took his pants off and started masturbating.

According to the Times of Israel, Avi Himi acknowledged having an “intimate” relationship with his accuser several years ago and denied wrongdoing, but Kolian said he performed sexual acts while she sought his aid in securing a recommendation to become a judge.

Police said their decision to examine Kolian’s allegations of sexual misconduct was made following consultations with the State Prosecutor’s Office.

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

Himi insisted he received consent before engaging in sexual activity. He continued to defend himself after his resignation, telling Channel 12 that the timing of the accusations was not coincidental, referencing his opposition to the government’s attempts to restrict the power of Israel's Supreme Court.

“This is part of the poison machine of those who work to promote the coup d’état [the judicial reform]. We are witnessing the dangerous manner in which desperate politicians work to trample anyone whose opinion differs from theirs,” he said. “The past day was the hardest day of my life. I can’t look my wife and kids in the eye.”

The Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli said that Himi “does not deny sexual acts with a woman whose professional fate was in his hands. Even if it is ‘consensual’ and he only ‘gave a recommendation,’ this is sexual exploitation and abuse of his power and position. All the more so if there was no consent. He should resign and go home.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir stated that Himi had “taken on the role of preacher of national morality in recent weeks,” which provided further imperative for “deep self-reflection”.

This is not the first sex-for-judgeship scandal by an Israeli Bar Association head. In 2019, Efi Nave resigned after he was accused of promoting judicial candidates in exchange for sexual favours.

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