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TV: National Library chief paid off employee of his to hush sexual harassment claims

TV: National Library chief paid off employee of his to hush sexual harassment claims

A leader of Israel’s National Library paid a woman who worked for him to silence her sexual harassment allegations against him, according to a Friday report.

The chairman of the library’s board, David Blumberg, agreed to pay his accuser NIS 240,000 ($77,000), and in exchange, she signed a deal barring her from revealing that he sexually harassed her, Channel 13 reported.

The woman was an employee of Blumberg’s, rather than of the library, the report indicated, although she would often come to his workplace.

The two signed the secret agreement with the help of a lawyer in December 2020. The deal stipulated that if the woman spoke of the harassment, she would have the money confiscated, the report said.

The woman is decades younger than Blumberg and had worked under him for a long time.

At some point, she became fed up with his physical and verbal harassment toward her and sent him an email demanding that he halt the behavior.

Blumberg kept silent at first, then found a lawyer’s office to arrange the agreement and silence the allegations, the report said.

She refused to speak about the deal with Channel 13, saying, “I can’t talk about it. It’s just an agreement that we signed.”

Blumberg is helping to oversee the construction of a new National Library facility next to the Knesset. The project has a budget of around a billion shekels.

An official from the library told the network that Blumberg was a “very domineering” director, and he had many women working under him, the report said.

Blumberg told Channel 13 in response to the charges that he “apologizes to anyone he hurt, and anyone who was hurt by him in the 80 years of his life.”

He said he had “enemies” due to his association with former state prosecutor Shai Nitzan, who Blumberg appointed to a top post at the National Library. Nitzan was a key figure in the graft case against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a frequent target for Netanyahu’s Likud party.

The National Library said in response, “The subject is unfamiliar to the library and we don’t know of any connection between Mr. Blumberg and the actions attributed to him.”

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