Jerusalem's Ex-top Cop Fired Over Sexual Misconduct Charges

Dismissal, rather than resignation, of former Jerusalem District police chief charged with assaulting female subordinates is meant to send broad message.

Former Jerusalem District police chief Nisso Shaham was dismissed from the Israel Police on Tuesday, two weeks after he was indicted on numerous sexual misconduct and corruption charges. Shaham has been accused of the sexual harassment and assault of eight female officers, some of whom were his subordinates at the time.

Shaham's dismissal was recommended by Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and approved by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

Shaham had tendered his resignation in August, once it became clear that the indictment was imminent. But Danino refused to accept his resignation, believing that given the severity of the impending charges dismissal would be more appropriate. That, however, meant waiting until Shaham was actually charged rather than allowing him to step down.

Shahm resubmitted his resignation three days after the indictment, even offering to waive the retirement leave to which departing officers are legally entitled. But Danino again turned him down.

“In light of the gravity of the indictment and the circumstances of the incidents alleged against the officer, it is fitting to recommend his resignation,” the Israel Police said in a statement Monday, adding that Shaham had waived his right to a hearing to contest the decision.

Immediately after the indictment, Shaham’s lawyer announced that he would argue in court that charging his client amounted to selective enforcement because Shaham's behavior was in keeping with accepted practice in the force at the time.

At a meeting of senior police officials on Sunday, Danino vehemently rejected this claim.

“When the indictment was filed, claims about unacceptable norms of behavior in our organization were heard in the media,” Danino said. “The incidents described in the indictment – their continuousness, their intensity, the gaps in rank and the entirety of the circumstances – do not reflect the norms of our organization, or anything close to it. This has never been the norm in the Israel Police and never will be. We will not let any one incident, however grave it may be, stain an entire dedicated community of 30,000 policemen who do their work day and night in the service of the citizenry and the public.”

Michal Fattal