Sexual harassment victim [Illustrative].
(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday called for more women who have suffered sexual mistreatment to come forward and file complaints, saying that fear and silence stifle efforts to deal with such wrongdoing.
“I think that we need to encourage people to come forward and file complaints so that we are able to handle them. Unfortunately, we have many cases in which women do not dare to complain due to fear about what will happen to them,” Ya’alon said in an interview with Army Radio.
Ya’alon’s spoke a little over a week after it emerged that Police Commissioner Insp.- Gen. Roni Alsheich had told a group of police officers that the agency would no longer handle anonymous complaints issued against police commanders. Alsheich spoke during a closed police event held to mark International Women’s Day, during which he reportedly said that anonymous complaints are being used in order to “settle accounts” against senior police commanders.
His comments were met with widespread condemnation from MKs and women’s groups, as they came after a series of highly publicized sex crimes cases against senior police commanders in recent years. A number of these cases were opened following anonymous complaints by female subordinates.
The Israel Police is not actually the body responsible for investigating criminal complaints issued against police officers, rather it is the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigative Department. The same day that Alsheich’s statement was made public, the PID spokesman said that it had not enacted any change in policy and that it would continue to examine any and all complaints of criminal wrongdoing that it receives.
In cases where the PID does not find criminal wrongdoing, the Justice Ministry often recommends a disciplinary hearing held by police, as it did in February for former Coastal District head Asst.- Ch. (ret.) Hagai Dotan. Dotan was the subject of a series of complaints issued by female subordinates last year, but in February the PID announced that it didn’t think the case warranted criminal proceedings.
On Tuesday, police said Dotan would face a disciplinary hearing for six cases of alleged sexual misconduct, including three concerning sexual harassment and three in which he allegedly showed conduct unbecoming of an officer by having sexual relations with female subordinates.