Danielle Berrin, the Los Angeles journalist who accused Israeli author Ari Shavit of sexual assault, said she admired his recent apology — as he announced he is resigning from posts at Haaretz and Israel’s Channel 10.
Berrin told the Forward in an email that her intention in telling her story was “never to be hurtful, but to be honest and encourage other women to speak out.”
“I hope that in time everyone hurt by this will be able to heal and move forward.”
In a Tweet, Berrin, who works for the Jewish Journal, used a Hebrew term meaning “accounting of the soul” to praise Shavit’s actions in recent days since the news broke.
I’m grateful for Ari Shavit’s powerful, honest statement. His resolution to do ‘heshbon hanefesh’ - an accounting of the soul - is admirable https://t.co/OOGMIOuNHD— Danielle Berrin (@hollywoodjew) October 30, 2016
Berrin was responding to Shavit’s emotional apology and resignation, which came after the Forward broke the news of a second accuser.
“In the last few days I have understood that I have been afflicted by blindness,” Shavit wrote in a statement to Haaretz on October 30. “For years I did not understand what people meant when they spoke of privileged men who do not see the damage that they cause to others. Now, I am beginning to understand.”
Shavit, the author of the acclaimed “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel,” said he would “devote more time to being with my wife and children, who are most valuable to me, and to make personal amends.”
“I understand that it is not a quick process and I am committed to doing it truly. I will do everything in my power to ensure that I will never again be embarrassed by my actions.”
Shavit’s resignation came after the Forward’s October 30 report that a second woman had joined Berrin in accusing him of sexual misconduct. The woman, a 29-year-old J Street staffer, said that Shavit fondled her hand and made sexually suggestive comments at a J Street event in 2014.
The woman was motivated to come forward after Berrin’s October 19 Jewish Journal article about how an Israeli writer sexually assaulted her when she went to interview him at his Los Angeles hotel.
“He lurched at me like a barnyard animal, grabbing the back of my head, pulling me toward him,” she wrote.
Amid intense speculation in Israel and Jewish American circles, Shavit outed himself as the Israeli writer in question. He apologized for what he first called a “friendly meeting” with “elements of courtship” between the two, a characterization that Berrin firmly rejected. He later made the more extensive apology and quit his journalism posts.
Naomi Zeveloff is the Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.