Silvan Shalom “made the right decision” to leave political life amid the numerous sexual harassment allegations that have recently been raised against him, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.
(Update: The allegations against Shalom were not substantiated and the investigation was subsequently closed.)
Netanyahu told a meeting of his Likud party’s Knesset faction that he had thanked Shalom, who until his resignation had served as interior minister and vice prime minister, for his service.
Shalom announced his decision to leave political life on Sunday, after a growing number of women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment — and a former security guard also appeared to confirm many of the allegations.
“Silvan Shalom informed me of his decision to leave public life under very unfortunate circumstances,” Netanyahu said during the meeting. “I thank him for the years of service he gave to the nation. I think that he made the right decision.”
Amir Ohana, the first openly gay Likud member to enter the Knesset, will move into the parliament to fill the void in the party left by Shalom. Next in line on the Likud’s list will now be Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick.
Netanyahu lauded the incoming Ohana, calling him “a serious man, a loyal Likud member and a person with an impressive military past. I am sure that he will give a lot to the party and to the country.”
Thus far 13 women have come forward to make allegations against Shalom, though none has apparently filed an official police complaint.
Police have nevertheless reportedly opened a probe into the complaints against Shalom and are gathering evidence and looking for potential witnesses to testify over the accusations.
In a statement released Sunday evening to announce the decision, Shalom cited the pressure on his family in the wake of the allegations.
“For 23 years I have served the public with dedication and devotion as a Knesset member and as minister in different roles, from a sense of calling and desire to promote important social and public issues,” he said.
“I am weary of the suffering that has been parceled out to my family, wife, children and elderly mother. My family fully supports me, but there is no justification for the price asked of them. For these reasons I have decided to resign my position as a minister and Knesset member.”