Silvan Shalom Resigns Knesset Seat After 23 Years in Parliament

Shalom, interior minister and deputy prime minister at the time of his resignation from office, was accused of sexual harassment by at least six women.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Silvan Shalom, who announced his resignation as interior minister on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015.
Silvan Shalom, who announced his resignation as interior minister on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015.Credit: AFP
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Former interior minister and deputy prime minister Silvan Shalom resigned from the Knesset on Thursday, after 23 years in parliament.

Shalom handed his resignation letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein during an off-site meeting near where the two of them live.

Shalom announced his resignation from the government on Sunday, after a week of escalating allegations of sexual assault against him in the Israeli media.

The first allegation was published by Haaretz a week before Shalom's resignation. It was followed by several additional allegations, primarily on TV, by women who had not previously come forward.

In all, at least six women alleged sexual harassment by Shalom in media interviews, though none of them lodged a formal complaint with the police.

Shalom denied all the allegations. "For some 23 years I have been dedicatedly and faithfully serving the public as a MK and minister in different ministries, out of a sense of purpose and a drive to promote very important social and public goals," he said in a statement announcing his resignation.

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

Shalom's Knesset seat will be filled by Amir Ohana, the first openly gay member to represent the Likud in parliament. Ohana, an attorney, heads the Likud's LGBT caucus.