In Israel, LGBTQ-rights activist Etai Pinkas Arad has been accused of sexual misconduct, with two men saying he had sexual relations with them when he met them as teens through a youth group, The Times of Israel reported.
Windy City Times noted that, in light of the allegations, Pinkas Arad announced on social media Nov. 3 "to Mayor Ron Huldai, to the chairman of the Minister Nitzan Horowitz and to the chairman of my factory in the municipality of Meital Lehavi about my decision to suspend myself as a holder of the LGBTQ case in the Tel Aviv Jaffa municipality, a central part of my life factory."
He added, "As someone who has fought all his life for the rights of the community so dear to me, these are hard hours for me and my family. But I'm not the story here, but those who were hurt by me. 15 years ago I saw things differently, in a culture that [had] well-being in the community, and today it is clear to me that these are actions that should not have happened.
"It's good that we live in a time where these things come on the agenda without fear. I, who was sexually harmed by myself at a young age, today is completely committed to the fight against sexual harm in the community.
"I'm sorry. Very sorry, and I apologize to all of you and especially to those who were hurt [red heart emoji]."
One of the men, identified only as by the Hebrew initial Aleph, told the Ynet news site that although he was over the age of consent (16) at the time of the encounter with Pinkas Arad, and he did not reject the activist's advances, there had been a clear power imbalance, The Times of Israel added.
Aleph said that he had not spoken out before now because Pinkas Arad was a senior figure in Israel's LGBTQ-rights movement, but then he told the story to a friend who had another friend with a similar story, so he believed it established a pattern.
Pinkas Arad was the second prominent LGBTQ activist to be accused of misconduct in recent days. The men said they met Pinkas Arad, who holds the LGBT portfolio at Tel Aviv city hall, a number of years ago thorough the group IGY—Israel Gay Youth. IGY's president, TV personality Gal Uchovsky, had already stepped down amid separate accusations of sexual assault.