Hospital Department Head Arrested on Suspicion of Rape

Dr. Yitzhak Shnirer, Head of the Oncology Department at Poriya Hospital in Tiberias is suspected of sexually assaulting against patients and hospital workers.

Tiberias Police arrested Dr. Yitzhak Shnirer, Head of the Oncology Department at Poriya Hospital on Thursday on suspicion of sex crimes. Shnirer was brought in to a court hearing in Nazareth, where he was remanded for a week.

A number of women lodged complaints with the Tiberias Police three weeks ago, claiming that Dr. Shnirer sexually harassed them, and one of the women claimed that he had raped her. Shnirer was not investigated or arrested by the police during the past three weeks.

shnirer - Gili Eliyahu - March 31 2011
Gili Eliyahu

Judge Lili Young-Geffer noted during the proceedings that "there is a significant body of evidence that connects the suspect to the acts he is suspected of having carried out." She also rejected a request by Shnirer's lawyer to ban the publication of the doctor's name.

Shnirer was arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport on the way to a medical conference in the United States. His lawyer, Eyal Cohen, presented as evidence Shnirer's plane ticket, which had been purchased in January, before the complaints had been lodged and before any investigation had been opened.

Mordechai Kadosh, who had interrogated two of the complainants, who were terminally ill, said at the hearing, "I did not detect from these women even a single sign of having coordinated [their testimonies]." Kadosh added, "The complaints came from a number of sources, not from a single source."

Lawyer Shimon Kokush, who is representing the complainants, told Haaretz, "We are talking about indecent assaults, indecent assaults using force, sexual harassment, rape, and attempts at extortion. The women claim that they complained to the hospital administration, but nothing happened."

Dr. Shnirer's lawyer responded to the charges, saying, "These are recycled complaints… these complaints, most if not all of them, were already investigated by different state agencies, and the case that dealt with those complaints was closed."