Israeli Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, a veteran politician in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, resigned on Sunday following allegations that he had sexually harassed several women during his career.
The decision to step down by Shalom, who also served as the country’s interior minister and once held the post of foreign minister, was not expected to affect the stability of Netanyahu’s government.
Israeli media have reported in recent days that several women have complained that Shalom harassed them. Israel’s attorney general on Sunday instructed the police to investigate the allegations.
“I have decided to resign my position as minister and member of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament),” Shalom said in a statement, adding he was worried about the toll that recent events might take on his family.
Shalom has maintained his innocence.
In her first response to the resignation, Shalom’s wife, Judy Nir Mozes Shalom, wrote on Twitter: “Sad, but my children above all.”
Shalom is not the first high-level Israeli politician to be forced from office in a scandal regarding allegations of sexual misconduct.
Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav left office in 2007 and was later sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted of twice raping an aide when he was a cabinet minister in the late 1990s, and sexually assaulting two other women who worked for him while he was president.
Katsav denied any wrongdoing.