Israeli deputy PM resigns over harassment accusations

Israeli deputy prime minister quits office after at least 13 women accused him of sexual harassment last week

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a quiet word with his deputy Silvan Shalom at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on July 19, 2009

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, who also served as the interior minister, announced his resignation on Sunday, only one week after accusations that he has sexually harassed a number of women during his term emerged on Israeli media.

"For some 23 years I have been dedicatedly and faithfully serving the public as a member of Knesset [Israeli parliament] and minister in different ministries, out of a sense of purpose and a drive to promote very important social and public goals,” Shalom said.

“I had enough of the torments that befell me and my family, my wife, kids, and my elderly mother. My family completely supports me, but there is no reason for the price they are forced to pay,” he continued.

“Under these circumstances, I decided to resign my position as a minister and a member of parliament."

Last week, at least 13 women accused Shalom of sexual misconduct according to Israeli media sources. One of his former bodyguards also said that he had witnessed Shalom having inmate relations with several women during his testimony broadcasted on television.

Israel’s attorney-general announced on Sunday that the police will investigate the accusations against the politician who is from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Shalon’s decision to step down was welcomed by Knesset members from various political parties. Shelly Yachimovich, a politician from Zionist Union party said, "It's good that Silvan didn't wait and resigned. On a personal level he did the right thing."

Israeli parliament members Zehava Galon, Michal Rozin and Tamar Zandberg also released a statement saying "It is good that Silvan Shalom resigned from political life. It is a victory for public norms required of Israeli public officials."

This is not the first high-level sexual harassment case in Israel’s history, as former Israeli President Moshe Katsav who is also from Likud party resigned in 2007 and was sentenced to seven-years in prison in 2010 after being convicted of rape and sexual assault.


TRTWorld and agencies