Former Jerusalem Police District chief Major General Niso Shaham was finally let go. Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino got together and fired him. To many in Israel, from all walks of life and all ends of the political map, this was a decision that should have been made years ago.
Shaham was fired full eight years after an incriminating 2005 video showing him instructing underlings to use merciless violence against Jews in who demonstrated in Kfar maimon against the uprooting of Jews from Gush Katif, Gaza, made it to You Tube.
It wasn’t just the subject matter of the video – a high ranking Israeli police officer ordering his men to be ruthless against Jewish civilians; it was also Shahar’s lowbrow language, replete with curses, references to excrement and imageries of ladies of the night in action, that created a cult of Niso Shahar Haters. He became the face of the Israeli bad policeman, more like his counterpart in Cairo than in, say, London.
“[prostitution expletive], let there be arrests, kapara, I want arrests, and I’m telling you, use the water cannon to disperse demonstrators, [excrement expletive] on them, let them burn, don’t hesitate, use the water cannon, you say I talked to Niso, Niso gave me permission in advance,” Officer Shaham was saying while the Channel 10 camera was rolling and the soundman was picking up every precious pearl. Mind you, this was regarding a peaceful demonstration – and Shaham was planning its deterioration into violence.
“I’m not some [street walker] who [description of what said street walker does for a customer]. I collect payment for [doing what the street walker does]… I will [be highly intimate] with the mother of their mother,” Niso was instructing his underling and the whole country was watching. Here’s the video. If your Hebrew is not good enough – I don’t know of a better incentive to check into an ulpan:
But, somehow, despite the mounting evidence showing Major General Shaham (second in rank only to the police commissioner) as an offensive public servant and obviously a terrible influence on the police force – the man managed to cling to his job, and was promoted to deputy chief of the Jerusalem district in 2007, and then, in 2011, chief of our men and women in police uniform in all of Jerusalem.
Interesting factoid: in 2007, when his promotion was announced, some good citizens, including Attorney David Shusheim, appealed it to the Supreme Court, saying his promotion will encourage even more violence and crude behavior on the part of police. The high court, in a cowardly fashion, went with the cursing bully, with a decision that, essentially, said, if the police brass want him, they must know what they’re doing. So now if you read about Israeli policemen tasing a man in Yitzhar while he is sitting quietly in his home – you know who had a chance to say it ain’t right but just didn’t.
By the way, the court record on Niso Shaham offers a complete recitation of his colorful curses and violent expressions. I’m no psychiatrist, but I just know the man could benefit from a hefty regime of Thorazine.
But Major General Niso Shaham was not defeated by his penchant for smacking heads and breaking bones, nor by his colorful language that’s now been recorded for posterity by the Supreme Court. Like all great men, Niso Shaham was caught by his zipper.
Two weeks ago, also after years and years of complaints that no one bothered to heed, the prosecution charged Niso Shaham with criminal sexual harassment and abuse against female cops under his command. Only then, when the police brass that defended and promoted this violent and uncivilized officer realized his peccadilloes were going to be splashed across the tabloids while he was still drawing a paycheck, and that could reflect on them.
So they finally did the right thing for all the wrong reasons.
Folks on the right are saying today that Niso Shaham is joining the long list of Israeli officials who participated in the crime of uprooting the Jews of Gush Katif and have paid a heavy price, some through a radical deterioration of their communication skills, others by a degradation of their political power. But if you ask me, that list will not be complete without adding to it the Supreme Court, who made all this injustice possible.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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