David Keyes, Netanyahu’s international media spokesman (C) speaks to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he sits next to Israeli Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem. Picture: Gali Tibbon/Pool via Reuters

Tel Aviv – A top aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood aside Thursday after 12 women accused him of engaging in sexually inappropriate behaviour, local media reported.

David Keyes, Netanyahu’s foreign media spokesman, said in a statement cited by the Times of Israel that he was taking time off “to clear my name,” following accusations from the women. “I am fully confident the truth will come out,” the statement added.

One of the women, New York Senate candidate Julia Salazar, said on Twitter Tuesday she “was a victim of sexual assault by David Keyes.” Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reported that he sexually assaulted her in his New York apartment in 2013.

Wall Street Journal reporter Shayndi Rice later wrote the she “also had a terrible encounter with David Keyes once and 100 per cent believe [Salazar].”

“The man had absolutely no conception of the word “no.” No matter how often I said no, he would not stop pushing himself on me,” Rice tweeted.

“I was able to extricate myself quickly and it was a very brief and uncomfortable moment, but I knew as I walked away I had encountered a predator,” she added.

Before taking the advising job with Netanyahu, Keyes was a New York-based activist.

The Times of Israel reported Wednesday that 10 other women had come forward with allegations against Keyes, including “one detailed accusation of physically aggressive behaviour …, claims of overly aggressive advance by him, and incidents of inappropriate behaviour.”

The paper said Keyes’ alleged behaviour took place before he became Netanyahu’s spokesman in 2016 and “was so well-known that he was asked to stay away from certain offices that he used to frequent in New York.”

Keyes told the Times Wednesday: “All of the accusations are deeply misleading and many of them are categorically false.”