Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rav Shmuel Eliyahu: Police system & sexual harrassment

YNET Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu encourages women not to perform national service with police forces due to system that promotes sexual harassers such as former police commander Shaham 

Female police cadets tend to have a strong character. They know what they want and they know how to stand their ground. However, in the recent case involving Jerusalem District Police Commander Nisso Shaham's alleged sexual harassment of female subordinates, the situation was different. Even when one of the victims turned for help, it didn’t really do her much good and that might be the reason why the other cadets didn't dare complain, or why their close female friends, who knew of the continuous sexual harassment didn’t say anything.

I emphasize this point to all women who want to contribute to the State by serving in the police forces and I say to them: Don't do it. If the strong female police cadets felt weak when dealing with a higher authority and further felt that they would not receive the necessary backup from the police system – what will women serving in national service do?

One does not need to be too familiar with the police system to know that this incident was not uncommon. Over the past two years, two police commanders found themselves involved in cases linked to indecent sexual behavior towards women. These commanders were supposed to uphold the law and their virtue. Furthermore, they were required to protect these women from such harassment.


  1. This is one reason army service for women is hareg ubal yaavor. For years people thought the haredim were being extreme.

  2. R. Eliyahu has a sound argument. If his motive is not mere draft dodging he will assert al achas kammah v'kammah (how much more so)in dealing with a rosh yeshiva or teacher in the frum world who has even more power. Thus he should name all rebeim, roshei yeshiva and entire yeshivas which one should not attend because it can lead to znus.

  3. He could start by naming Rabbi Motti Elon. Instead he defended him after many respected rabbonim reluctantly publicly announced he was a danger to bochurim. As it turned out the police agreed with the rabbonim who denounced him and he was charged with sexual abuse of students. As is widely known, R. Elon was exceptionally charismatic, even by the standards of successful popular roshei yeshiva.

  4. Yerachmiel, I used to daven at Elon's shul, which was prior to him becoming Rosh Yeshiva of HaKotel and of course before the scandal broke out. You are quire right about him being charismatic, to the point where he would hold a Friday night tisch , which was Dati Leumi, but quite a few Chassidim would also show up.
    There is a concept of cognitive dissonance - and where somebody you respect is named as such a lowlife it takes a little time to actually make sens of it. My assumption is that R' Eliyahu had this kind of cognitive dissonance - and whether he has since changed his view is not known to me.
    But you make a very good point. Perhaps at some stage in everyone's life they will see somebody who they had greatly respected end up in disgusting low.


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