(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom’s legal troubles continued to escalate Thursday as more and more women came out with accusations that they had been sexually harassed by him.
By Thursday night, no less than four women had spoken to media outlets about past incidents involving Shalom, though none was willing to file a police complaint against him.
Along with the three women who made accusations against him in 2014, there are now a total of seven.
Out of the new women complaining against Shalom, at least two claim the incidents occurred over the past decade so they would not be limited by the 10-year statute of limitations.
A probe against Shalom was closed in May 2014 because one of the women described incidents that allegedly occurred 15 years earlier, and the other refused to testify.
Legal authorities said the claims by the new women would be checked, especially those describing recent incidents. But they stressed that there was a difference between looking into the claims and opening a formal police investigation.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, who ordered the 2014 probe closed, had preliminary discussions with the upper echelons of the police Thursday about how to handle the new allegations.
It is possible the police will try to summon the women for questioning, even if they do not want to testify.
Unless women come forward to testify willingly, it was seen as more likely Thursday that a formal police probe would be opened against Shalom’s wife, Judy Nir-Mozes Shalom, than against her husband.
Nir-Mozes Shalom posted and then removed two tweets on her Twitter account in which she appeared to threaten the women who were making allegations against her husband.
Police will examine whether the tweets constituted intimidation and whether her apparent threats interfered with a potential probe of the women’s complaints.
“I of course do not intend to be silent, because my children are being forced to endure this again, even if I am sent to jail for shaming and dirtying,” she tweeted.
Nir-Mozes Shalom questioned in another tweet why the women had waited so long to come forward. Shalom’s associates continued Thursday to deny all the charges against him and to allege that they were part of an organized campaign against him.
Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich, who has been a personal friend of Shalom for 30 years since they attended university together in Beersheba, called upon him to suspend himself Thursday.
She said that if Shalom would not take such action, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should order him to do so.
“I value my friendship with Silvan but seven women is a serious problem,” she said. “I would advise him to at least suspend himself.”
But other politicians have remained silent about Shalom, most notably Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, who was the first MK who called for the resignation of then-MK Yinon Magal when sexual harassment allegations against him surfaced.
“This case is different because Shalom denies the charges, the women have not come forward and police checked allegations against him in the past and decided to close the case,” a source close to Gamliel said.