The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Monday sentenced Police Major General Niso Shaham, 62, to 10 months imprisonment, a fine and financial compensation to be paid to his victims. The conviction followed an appeal by state over the disturbingly light sentence Shaham had received from a lower court for fraud, breach of trust, illicit sex and sexual harassment.
Monday’s ruling stated that Shaham had corrupted his workplace with his conduct and severely impaired his commitment to law enforcement and to the public interest with which he was entrusted.
Shaham was convicted of carrying out intimate, sexual relations with subordinate young policewomen, usually low rank and in junior positions during his service as a senior Israeli police officer. Despite these connections, he did not avoid dealing with their professional and personal affairs while concealing his intimate relationships with them.
The court accepted the Police Internal Affairs’ position that a senior officer who regularly uses his rank and status to these ends should be imprisoned.
In July of 2005, a month before the forced expulsion of some 8,000 Jews by force from the Gaza Strip, Shaham commanded the police forces at the Kfar Maimon clashes, during which tens of thousands of Israeli citizens who objected to the exile gathered. In the course of events, Shaham ordered the Border Guard commander to use open violence against the demonstrators. He used crude and vile expressions, which—since there is some justice left in our world—were picked up by a Channel 10 camera crew and aired on the Friday night news.
Following the broadcast and the consequent media storm, Shaham expressed regret for his remarks and was removed from the disengagement administration. He faced a disciplinary hearing before Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi on charges of profanity and misconduct by a police officer, and was given a severe reprimand and a fine in the amount of six days’ pay.
Appeals Judge Shmuel Melamed wrote on Monday: “The breach of trust item does not refer to the consent of the women. The harm was to the public’s trust. Every civil servant should know that he or she is forbidden to handle the cases of people with whom they maintain a connection beyond the proper professional relationship, and from the moment he failed to do this, he harmed our protected values. The value is not the harm to women, as the accused perceives it, but to the public’s trust.”