Keyes, who denies the allegations, first took an open-ended leave of absence in mid-September, when The Times of Israel published an exposé regarding him, citing 12 women who described a pattern of inappropriate behavior toward themselves and other women, including at least two accounts of what could be considered sexual assault, according to presstv.ir.
Since then, four more women have contacted The Times of Israel to complain about their encounters with Keyes. To date, four of the women who have complained about Keyes’s behavior have been named.
After the publication of the exposé, Keyes said all the allegations “are deeply misleading and many of them are categorically false.”
He later said that he was taking a leave of absence amid the uproar to try to clear his name.
On November 29, the Civil Service Commission formally closed its probes into alleged misbehavior against Keyes, saying no wrongdoing was found on his part that would require further disciplinary action.
The head of the commission’s Department of Discipline, Guy David, said in a letter that most of the complaints against Keyes related to the period before he started working for Netanyahu, and cited a 1963 law that states that disciplinary measures can only be taken against civil servants for deeds committed while they were working for the state.
In a statement on Wednesday, Keyes said he was stepping down to “pursue new opportunities in the private sector.”
Netanyahu, in response, praised his “talent and contribution” in a separate statement, and wished him success.
The Israeli premier himself has long been a suspect in ongoing criminal investigations, but he has so far refused to step down.
Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's former minister of military affairs, said last year that Netanyahu “should have resigned a while ago” as a result of the ongoing criminal investigations against him.
“This is a matter of political culture, obviously there is no smoke without fire,” he said in April 2017.
Under Israeli law, a prime minister does not need to step down if indicted and can continue to serve as premier during the duration of a trial.
The Israeli premier is under probe over charges that he had accepted highly-valued gifts lavished upon him by billionaires and entered a deal with the Yedioth Ahronoth paper ensuring more favorable coverage of his political career.
Netanyahu’s allies have said they would support him continuing to serve as prime minister even if either of the criminal investigations against him, which are known as Case 1000 and Case 2000, leads to an indictment.
Case 1000 involves alleged illicit gifts given to Netanyahu and his family from billionaires, including Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.
Most notably, the gifts include hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne, which Netanyahu and his wife Sarah have played down as mere “trifles” exchanged between close friends.
Case 2000 is focused on an alleged clandestine deal under which Netanyahu has accepted to advance legislation to reduce the circulation of Yedioth’s main commercial rival in exchange for friendlier coverage from the newspaper.
Every Israeli prime minister in the last 20 years has been embroiled in graft scandals, including Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon. Dozens of cabinet ministers, Knesset members and mayors have also been the subject of graft investigations.
Netanyahu has been the subject of criminal investigations before. During his first term as prime minister in 1997, he was accused of appointing an attorney general who would offer favorable treatment to a political ally. Police then recommended charging Netanyahu, but prosecutors declined to file charges.
Two years later, Netanyahu was again investigated for fraud, this time for accusations involving a government contractor but once again, he was not charged.
Sharon was accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in the late 1990s and prosecutors recommended bringing charges against him, but the attorney general prevented it.
Ehud Olmert is currently serving a 19-month prison sentence for fraud and breach of trust in a 2012 scandal and then another for taking bribes in 2015.
Israeli minister of military affairs Avigdor Lieberman has been interrogated over money laundering, fraud, and breach of trust in a long-running corruption probe that still resurfaces in the Israeli news.
The most high-profile scandal, however, involved former president Moshe Katsav who was released from prison last December after serving five years of his seven-year sentence for rape and other sexual offenses.