Israel Police Recommend Closing Sexual Harassment Case Against Minister

Statute of limitations expired for original complainant, and no other woman was willing to come forward.

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Silvan Shalom speaking to the press last month in Jerusalem.
Silvan Shalom speaking to the press last month in Jerusalem.Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

The police on Tuesday recommended closing the sexual harassment case against Energy and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom, though the final decision rests with the prosecution and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Shalom was being investigated on suspicion of having committed sexual offenses against M., a woman subordinate to him, when he was science minister 15 years ago.

Over the past few weeks the police tried to persuade other women who were allegedly more recent victims of improper behavior by Shalom to file a complaint, but none of them was willing to testify against him. The statute of limitations for offenses alleged by M. is 10 years.

An associate of M. said, “It was clear to [M.] that no criminal proceedings would be launched against Shalom and that the case would be closed because of the statute of limitations. Still, there’s importance in telling the public what happened, and things are not measured solely by whether there’s a decision to bring someone to trial or not.”

In a recording broadcast by Army Radio, M. described the incident about which she filed the complaint.

“I came to a hotel and entered his room,” said M. “He was sitting on the far bed and asked me to come sit next to him. He told me that I was about to change his life. I said, ‘What does that mean?’ Then I went to the bathroom and when I came out he was not on that bed. There was another room, and he was laying there, his legs crossed, in a robe. He said, ‘Come join me.’ I was very shocked. I had such an uncomfortable feeling.”

According to M., Shalom then undressed and asked her to perform oral sex on him. She complied, she said, and left the hotel room. According to testimony submitted to the Attorney General’s Office, a few weeks after the incident, M. left her job at the ministry.

Shalom was questioned under caution last month for two hours, and claimed throughout that he did not know the complainant personally and had no recollection of the alleged incident. Shalom did not deny that he frequented the Jerusalem Hyatt Hotel, where the incident allegedly occurred, but said that his stays there were related to his job.

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