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Thursday 27 July 2017

I am sorry David paid the price -- ex-partner

Dearbhail McDonald, John Costello and Chen Reuveni

DAVID NORRIS'S former partner last night spoke of his regret at his role in scuppering the senator's presidential bid.

Breaking his silence for the first time since Mr Norris bowed out of the race, Israeli human rights campaigner Ezra Yizhak Nawi (60) said: "I am sorry David paid the price.

"It is the Irish people's loss. He could have been a politician on a global level."

Mr Norris withdrew from the presidential race on Tuesday after it emerged he had written a letter to the Israeli authorities in 1997 seeking clemency and a non-custodial sentence for Nawi after his former partner was convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.

Mr Norris and Nawi had been involved in a relationship for several years after meeting in Dublin in the mid-1970s.

Speaking from Sweden, where he is currently involved in a lecture tour, pro-Palestinian activist Nawi described this sexual involvement with the teenage boy as "a mistake".

He also claimed there was Israeli involvement in Mr Norris's intervention in the rape case coming into the public domain.

"This is a juicy story in Ireland. I have no doubt that someone is involved, whether it's someone in the embassy or someone in Israel," he said.

The Israeli embassy in Dublin has denied its government had any involvement.

Until last night, Nawi had stayed silent about the controversy. He left his home in Jerusalem earlier this week after Israeli media began reporting his role in the implosion of Mr Norris's campaign.

There had been speculation he had fled because of the media storm.

Invited

However, it emerged yesterday that he was invited to Stockholm by a number of groups, including a gay pride organisation and the Palestine Network, for a series of public lectures and screenings of a documentary about his life as an activist.

Arab Jew Nawi is widely regarded as a thorn in the side of Israeli authorities and was convicted of assaulting police officers there in 2009.

In a statement announcing his withdrawal from the race on Tuesday, Mr Norris said he did not regret seeking clemency for his former lover.

However, he admitted he had been "wrong" and that he was motivated by love and concern in writing the letter.

Irish Independent

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