Another Woman Says Israeli Interior Minister Harassed Her

Channel 10 reports that she, too, declines to file police complaint against Silvan Shalom.

Olivier Fitoussi

Another woman has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, according to a Channel 10 report last night.

The woman, who was not subordinate to Shalom but had a working relationship with him, said he had touched her against her will on two occasions; once he tried to forcibly kiss her, and another time he tried to put his hand under her skirt when the two were riding in the back seat of a car.

The woman does not plan to file a police complaint. Channel 10 said that it had not given Shalom the name of the woman when they sought his response to the allegations, which they described to him. Shalom said he knew nothing about the incidents.

Haaretz reported Tuesday that a woman who once worked in Shalom’s office had told police that Shalom had repeatedly harassed her for over a year, but that she has refused to file a formal complaint against him.

She said Shalom touched intimate parts of her body many times, although she pushed him away and clearly resisted him. She also described instances when they were sitting together in the back seat of a car and Shalom tried to insert his fingers into her panties and touch her sexual organs, but she was dressed in a manner that prevented him from doing so. She said the incidents took place both in the workplace and when the two were outside the office, including at hotels.

The statute of limitations has not yet expired on those actions. Following that report, Meretz MKs Zehava Galon, Tamar Zandberg and Michal Rozin asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to summon Shalom for questioning, despite the absence of a complaint.

In May 2014, Weinstein decided to adopt the opinion proposed by the State Prosecutor’s Office – that there was no point in continuing to investigate previous, similar allegations made against Shalom, either because the statute of limitations had run out, or because the women were unwilling to file complaints. Now Weinstein will have to decide whether to conduct another examination.

As a rule, sexual offenses are not prosecuted without the cooperation of the complainants, and thus it is their willingness to cooperate that usually determines how law enforcement will respond. During last year’s examination of accusations against Shalom, it emerged that except for a woman complaining about events that had taken place a decade before, no one was willing to file a formal complaint. The testimony by the willing complainant, whose allegations included Shalom asking her to perform oral sex on him, could be used to buttress other, more recent claims, but Shalom could no longer be prosecuted for what he allegedly did in her case.