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Popular Israeli Author Announces Time Out after Sexual Harassment Allegation

Israeli author Ari Shavit, arguably the nation’s personality most in demand for public appearances and commentary based upon the success of his best-selling book, “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel,” has announced he will take “time off from his journalistic work” after the American journalist who alleged she was sexually abused by Shavit rejected his apology. Danielle Berrin wrote about her 2014 experience without naming Shavit, but told of the encounter that included physical contact and a proposition that she be his “mistress while [he’s] in the United States.” Shavit admitted he was the “Israeli media personality” she was referring to, but said Berrin’s version of the incident was a “misunderstanding.” The California-based writer dismissed his apology, saying, “No person of sound judgment would have interpreted his advances on me as anything other than unwanted, aggressive sexual contact.” Shavit’s decision to take “time off” is apparently a given as those organizations associated with him wasted no time in distancing themselves from the author. The daily newspaper Haaretz, for which he is a leading columnist, issued a statement saying Shavit informed the paper that he is “taking time off,” but most believe Haaretz left Shavit no choice. The newspaper’s announcement came after the Hillel International, a major Jewish organization found on college and university campuses throughout the world, immediately cancelled Shavit’s speaking tour. Shavit’s book, released in 2013, was a New York Times Bestseller, named by the Times as one of “100 Notable Books” of the year; and by The Economist as one of the best books of 2013. It also won multiple literary awards.