Netanyahu spokesman 'taking time off' over misconduct allegations

Netanyahu spokesman 'taking time off' over misconduct allegations
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A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking a leave of absence after multiple women came forward in recent days to accuse him of physical misconduct, The Times of Israel reported.

"In light of the false and misleading accusations against me and in order not to distract from the important work of the Prime Minister, I have asked to take time off to clear my name. I am fully confident that the truth will come out," the spokesman, David Keyes, said in a statement to the news outlet.

Keyes has come under scrutiny in recent days after roughly a dozen women alleged he was physically aggressive toward them, sexually harassed them or made inappropriate comments or gestures, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.

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New York state Senate candidate Julia Salazar (D) claimed in a tweet Tuesday that she was a "victim of sexual assault" by Keyes. 

The spokesman promptly denied the allegation from Salazar. Salazar, according to The Times of Israel, first accused Keyes of sexual assault in a private Facebook post in April 2016 that has since been deleted. Salazar has acknowledged posting the accusation.

Salazar has faced criticism in recent weeks after it was revealed she was dishonest or misleading about her religious background, her political affiliation and whether she immigrated to the U.S.

Wall Street Journal reporter Shayndi Raice responded to Salazar's claim that she was assaulted by Keyes, claiming that Keyes had "no conception of the word 'no'" during her own interactions with him.

The Times of Israel reported that it spoke with 10 other women in recent months who accused Keyes of making aggressive advances, being physically menacing or acting inappropriately.

Other sources told The Times of Israel that Keyes was asked to stay away from certain New York offices because of his alleged misconduct.

Keyes has denied the additional allegations.