Jerusalem police chief Niso Shaham suspected of sexual harassment
Jerusalem District Commander takes forced leave of absence after he was questioned under caution for allegedly harassing female police officers under his command.
Jerusalem District Commander Niso Shaham was questioned under caution on Wednesday over suspicions of sexual harassment, indecent assault, and illicit sexual relations.
Shaham, who is suspected of sexually harassing female police officers under his command, has taken a forced leave of absence, following a recent investigation conducted in the Israel Police.
As part of the affair, Jerusalem periphery police chief, Commander Nissim Edri, has also taken forced leave. Edri was investigated on suspicion that he was aware of Shaham's actions and did not report as required by law.
During the investigation, the two cooperated with police and at the end of the inquiry announced they will be taking a leave of absence. Shaham and Edri were forbidden to contact anyone involved in the affair.
The investigation has been put under a gag order for weeks, and details of the affair only started to emerge Thursday.
One of the female police officers at the center of the affair was under the direct command of Edri. Officials involved in the investigation told Haaretz that it wasn't the woman who turned to the Police Investigation Unit, but an officer in the Jerusalem district who did so as retribution for being refused a promotion.
The Police Investigation Unit has text messages that suggest that Shaham may have done the actions attributed to him. Shaham, as the commander of the Jerusalem district, is prohibited from holding intimate relations with his subordinates, even if they are consensual.
Shaham's associates said Thursday that the affair has been blown out of proportion in the media, insisting that it is simply the cause of the personal vendetta of individuals in the police against Shaham.
Officials in Jerusalem police said that its top brass is holding consultations on the situation, and will issue a statement later Thursday.
The position of Jerusalem district commander will be temporarily filled by Meni Yitzhaki, commander of the national crime-fighting unit Lahav 433. Before commanding Lahav 433, Yitzhaki served as deputy commander of the Jerusalem district.
Shaham is remembered in Israel as the commander who was caught on camera instructing police officers to handle settlers with severity and use batons against them during the disengagement from Gaza in 2005.
Before serving as commander of the Jerusalem district, Shaham served as commander of the David District, the Negev District, deputy commander of the Jerusalem District, head of the police logistics unit. He was appointed to the position of commander of the Jerusalem District in May 2011.
Right-wing activist rushed to comment on the affair. Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo founder of SOS Israel said "Niso Shaham joins a long line of persons who initiated and carried out the disengagement from Gaza and were punished for their part."