Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
Photo: Avihu Shapira
Police Commander Nisso Shaham
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

Women must steer clear of National Service in police

Opinion: Rabbi 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.


What kind of example did these commanders set for other officers? Do you now understand why these strong and brave cadets did not dare to complain against Shaham? Do you understand why Shaham's acquaintances are protecting him, claiming that he is being picked on?


Is Shaham a worthy commander?

The truth of the matter is that Shaham's promotion to Jerusalem District commander is in itself peculiar. We all remember the severe comments Shaham made against settlers during the Gaza disengagement in 2005. Use of such language indicates that Shaham thinks police officers are above the law. We can then recall his offensive lecture in front of television cameras where he further humiliated women. What kind of idea is a police officer supposed to get from Shaham's promotion?


One does not need to be a wise prophet to make the connection between Shaham's comments on TV and his day-to-day language. He is naturally vulgar, and he does not view his rudeness as being disgraceful or as a lack of respect. This is the language he uses with female police cadets, officers or any women around him. However, the problem does not only lie with the police commanders, but also with their male subordinates and their own male commanders. In fact, the actual problem lies with a system that thought that Nisso Shaham was the right person for the job, a person who would set the best example.


I encourage all women to not perform their national service with the police forces. Do not enter a system that degrades women. Do not enter a system that does not listen to you. Do not enter a system that promotes sexual harassers. Do not enter a system that treats women like an insignificant object. Defend your honor and maintain your virtue!





פרסום ראשון: 08.02.12, 07:00
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