Staffer Accuses Former Israeli Foreign Minister of Sexual Assault

'He said: "Take off your pants and show me you like me,"' Linor Itzkovitch said in an interview with Channel 12 News. Silvan Shalom, who was her boss during his term as Israel's foreign minister, denies her claims

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Silvan Shalom, in 2015.
Silvan Shalom, in 2015.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

A former employee accused former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom of sexually assaulting her in 2003 on a Channel 12 News interview Tuesday. Shalom denied the accusations.

Linor Itzkovich, who was Shalom's secretary when he was Israel's foreign minister, is the first former employee who openly accused Shalom of sex crimes after several allegations have been made anonymously.

"[Shalom] stood in front of me and asked if I liked him, nothing happened before that,” Itzkovich said during the interview. “I said: 'of course I like you'."

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"He said: ‘Then take off your pants and show me you like me,’" she added, "[he] came up to me and began to kiss me. I pushed him back gently, I was scared, I didn’t know what to do. And he simply gestured to me with his eyes to go to the sofa."

"He told me: ‘lie down,’ I lied down on the sofa, and then he bent down on me, opened my legs with force. He did what he did, and it hurt, I didn’t breathe, only stared at the fluorescent [light] and began counting. It took a full five minutes, and it was over, then he told me ‘I’m done, thanks.’ When he left, he said to me: ‘You’re getting up? I’m in a big hurry'."

Itzkovich said that after the incident, Shalom continued to harass her, even after she asked him to stop.

In 2014, because of complaints filed against Shalom, the police approached Itzkovitch – but she denied it and refused to cooperate with the investigation.

The accusations of sexual harassment and crimes against Shalom were first made public in 2014, amid his intentions to run for president. An investigation started after a former employee filed a complaint, but it was closed after she refused to testify.

He withdrew from the presidential race but continued serving as a lawmaker and in the cabinet. He resigned in December 2015 after Haaretz reported on testimony in another case of sexual assault from a woman who worked in his office, which led to other women speaking out.

Shalom's spokesperson told Channel 12 News on Tuesday that "this is a libel" which was conceived only because "Shalom had given in to the monetary demands and pressure to receive money on the part of Itzkovitch and her mother."

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