TEL AVIV, Israel, May 28 -- Transport Minister Yitzhak Mordechai Sunday resigned from the government over a sex scandal and the move might lead to a cabinet reshuffle.
Mordechai tendered his resignation after the attorney general said he will charge the minister with forcibly committing an indecent act, an indecent act and sexual harassment of three women, one when he was a general in the army, then when he had been defense minister, and finally in the transport minister's bureau.
Mordechai denied the accusations and said he will fight to clear his name.
His resignation opens the door to co-opt another Center Party members to the cabinet. The move is expected to bring in one of two former Likud members who had joined the Center Party, Dan Meridor, now the Chairman of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee or Ronnie Miloh, a former police minister.
Commentators suggested Barak may opt for a bigger reshuffle because the hard-line National Religious Party is expected to quit the coalition.
The NRP decided to walk out once Israel transfers the villages near Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. The Knesset (parliament) approved that transfer but Barak is holding out, pending clarification of events that led to recent fighting between Israelis and Palestinians and arrangements to avoid their recurrence.
Barak Sunday told his cabinet he had received Mordehcai's letter of resignation and that during the week he will "consider the implications."