Two women who claim they were sexually harassed by Interior Minister Silvan Shalom four and six years ago were expected to meet Sunday with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and ask for full confidentially in return for filing a police complaint that would pave the way for a criminal investigation, Channel 2 reported.
Legally, the women’s agreement to come forward with details of the alleged assaults would allow police to forgo a process of examination and immediately open a criminal probe.
Police officials assessed that this time – as opposed to a year and a half ago, when similar allegations surfaced against Shalom but bore no fruit – a full criminal investigation will begin.
According to Channel 2, after the two women testify, others who have spoken to journalists but refused to turn to the police may also agree to testify.
Officials close to Shalom said that the minister denies all allegations. He will make a decision on Sunday regarding his future course, they were quoted saying.
Earlier on Saturday, Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich, an old friend of Shalom, called on him to suspend himself from his political duties and Meretz leader Zehava Galon called on Weinstein to instruct police to begin an examination of his case. Galon spoke hours before the Channel 2 report said the two women were willing to testify if their identities remain undisclosed.
Speaking at a cultural event in Beersheba, Galon called on Weinstein to instruct police to investigate Shalom as well as his wife, Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes.
“An investigation should be opened against the Shalom couple. The minister’s wife, Judy, threatens women complainants and obstructs investigation procedures,” Galon said.
She said that the complaints piling up against Shalom leave the attorney general no other option.
On Friday, the minister’s wife said “no one will break me” on a weekly radio show she co-hosts.
“Since my brother was run over by a car and my dad was run over by a car and my first husband died in a plane crash and my mother died within the span of three months when I was young […] I hope I won’t have illnesses on account of this whole story,” she said.
On Friday, she also tweeted an implied threat against complainants but then rushed to delete it.
She then on Saturday tweeted against Galon that “if I were a terrorist, she would love me,” referring to Galon’s dovish political views.
Yachimovich wrote on Facebook on Saturday that Shalom should “at the very least” suspend himself temporarily until his name is cleared.
Yachimovich wrote that she has known the senior Likud minister for more than 30 years and that they have been good friends despite being on opposite sides of the aisle.
“It was not easy for me to talk about this affair. I admit that I even considered not referring to it until the matter is clarified,” she wrote. A picture she added to her post, of her and Shalom speaking at the Knesset plenum, “is not a rare occurrence,” she wrote.
“Another testimony arrived and then another, and I got more and more phone calls, the pattern became clear,” she wrote, “and then Judy’s tweet came […] I understood how concerned [the complainants are] and I decided: enough,” Yachimovich wrote. “My commitment is not to those who wield power, like me, but first and foremost to those whose faces are unknown, who have letters instead of first names.” She was alluding to the media’s identification of the women complaining of alleged abuses only by their initials.
Yachimovich praised former Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal, who recently quit the Knesset amid complaints of sexual harassment, for “setting a new and important standard. He did not badmouth the complainants, he admitted – and he quit. Magal’s conduct is part of a welcome change we are experiencing. Women stop being ashamed of what they experienced and those who are ashamed and pay the price are those who should be: the aggressors, not the victims.”
The Zionist Union MK ended her post by criticizing the remarks by some of Shalom’s colleagues that some of the complaints against him were “old or recycled.”
“Well my friends, the gun does not remember, but the target never forgets,” she wrote.