Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom has resigned over accusations from several women that he sexually molested them, according to media reports.
The 57-year-old man said on Monday in Tel Aviv that it had become necessary for him to resign, because the distress was becoming unbearable for him.
“I have had enough of the distress and I hope to protect my mother, wife and five children from further scandal. “My family stands behind me, but it is no longer worth the cost,” he said.
Meanwhile, Israeli Attorney-General, Yehuda Weinstein, has launched an investigation into the claims, which forced Shalom out of the presidential race last year.
Shalom was a leading member of the ruling right-wing Likud party and had previously served as foreign and finance minister. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had tasked Shalom in May with leading negotiations with Palestinians.
The talks stalled last year and Shalom had spoken out in the past against a Palestinian state.
Shalom was married to journalist Judy Nir-Moses, a member of one of Israel’s most prominent families. Israeli newspaper Haaretz had reported about accusations from a former colleague who accused Shalom of attempting to touch her inappropriately.
After the accusations became public, other women stepped forward with similar allegations.
Meanwhile, politicians from the left-liberal opposition party, Merez, welcomed the resignation as a “victory for public norms” that must be followed by Israel’s political representatives.