The Israeli Consul General in Miami has been arrested (Hebrew) by Israeli police for abusing his 13 year-old daughter. The alleged abuse occurred while he was Consul General in Miami where he is accused of injuring his daughter by throwing her into the shower and damaging her arm. It began after Chaim Shacham had married his second wife (his first wife had died several years earlier), who herself had a son. The two children did not get along well, which angered Shacham. In order impose peace in his home, he allegedly resorted to methods of discipline which included whipping his daughter with a belt and engaging in other forms of physical and verbal intimidation.
Ynet has reported the general outlines of this story. However, the court has gagged identifying Shacham or his diplomatic posting in order to protect the identity of his daughter. Unfortunately, this has the effect of protecting Shacham himself and the foreign ministry, his employer when the alleged crimes took place.
During one incident when the family was on vacation in Israel, they stopped at a gas station, Shacham’s daughter was so frightened of him that she got out of the car and told the gas station attendant to call the police. But before the police could find the family they had driven off. When he discovered that his daughter had reported him to the police, he coached her on what she should say to them to allay any suspicions they might have.
One wonders whether any of this would’ve bothered Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, who joined a Who’s Who of south Florida Jewish leaders in celebrating Israel’s 67th anniversary, where she effused: “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be tonight than right here supporting the State of Israel and our great consul general.”
When she returned to Israel, his daughter reported him to the Israeli police, who began an investigation. That investigation led to the state prosecutor agreeing to press charges against him.
Israel’s foreign ministry released a statement saying that the crimes for which the diplomat is accused were done in his capacity as a private citizen, therefore they have nothing to do with the Ministry itself:
The diplomat has been suspended till the matter has been resolved. The case involves suspicion of a criminal act occurring within the family and having nothing whatsoever to do with the ministry or his role as an official representative.
The fact that the abuse occurred in Shacham’s home, which was rented for him in Miami by the State of Israel puts the lie to this claim. Keep in mind as well, who the Israeli foreign Minister: Bibi Netanyahu.
It’s important to note that this case involves some of the deepest family traumas possible: a daughter left alone after her mother dies. A new step-mother. Travel away from home in Israel to a strange place. This has to have placed an enormous strain on both the daughter and family. It’s possible the daughter may be acting out in some way or getting revenge against her father for remarrying and betraying his first wife.
That being said, I don’t mean to belittle the charges. They are very serious. That is why I’m reporting them. Further, I doubt very much that the police and prosecutor would wish to bring charges against an Israeli diplomat unless they found them to be very credible.
There have been a series of cases in the last few weeks involving senior Israeli officials, in which they have been charged with crimes ranging from sexual to physical abuse. Yesterday Israeli police removed a gag order against reporting that an IDF general named Ofek Buchris was charged with repeated counts of rape and sodomy (Hebrew) with a female subordinate. He is the commander of the Operations Division in the IDF, an extremely important post. This story has not been reported outside Israel.
I broke the story two weeks ago that the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, had been reported by UK police to admit adult men and boys to his ambassadorial residence repeatedly late at night. When this case was reported to his Israeli security detail, they warned the Ambassador that he was compromising the security of the embassy. Taub continued engaging in this risky behavior. The Shin Bet, which provides embassy security, then reported the violations to the foreign ministry in Israel.
Except for Amir Oren, who reported this story without naming Taub, no one in Israeli or foreign media have reported the sexual nature of the charges against him. Both the Guardian and Telegraph reported merely that he invited visitors into his residence without notifying his security detail. Though I asked the Guardian if their police reporter could investigate with the local police to see if they could identify and question the officer who was stationed at the embassy, they never answered my request.
When Taub requested a one-year extension on his ambassadorial posting in the UK, the ministry refused and he returned home. Astonishingly, he was nominated for a major promotion to be the chief legal advisor of the ministry. Dore Gold, the Director General of the MFA, and the committee that reviewed his appointment rejected it because of the serious security breaches (and perhaps because of the sexual dalliances that he had engaged in). Taub appealed to an ally, the Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, who dutifully gave Taub a clean bill of health after a cursory investigation. Mandelbit, you will recall, was the IDF prosecutor general, who gave the IDF a clean bill of health regarding war crimes committed during operation protective edge in Gaza.
I noted in my earlier reporting of this story that Taub is an Orthodox Jew with six children. Homosexuality in the Orthodox tradition is condemned. This is why it’s so important both to Taub and the ministry to squelch any detailed reporting on this story. What’s odd about this case is that neither the IDF censor nor the judiciary have prohibited reporting this story. Yet for some reason, the Israeli media self-censors. They did the same in the case of Naim Araidi, another diplomat accused of sexual abuse during a posting. There was no censor’s demand that the press lay off the story, nor a gag order. But no Israeli reporter bothered to identify him by name.
When Taub was queried about his behavior, he explained that the visits to his residence were for “therapeutic” purposes. Later, he explained that he was engaged in “New Age” healing:
During the examination Taub claimed that the late-night visits were by a therapist providing “New Age therapy” for several health problems.
Taub must have a problem maintaining good relationships with therapists because there were many different visitors according the UK media reports. I wonder how he explains the boys entering the premises. Were they therapists as well? Perhaps he was experimenting with the healing power of gay Tantric yoga?
All of these cases show that there is a culture of both impunity and corruption that afflicts all levels of Israeli society, but especially the elites. They exploit a network of allies who cover each others backs and ensure that their excesses and corrupt deeds will be protected from scrutiny, and that their careers will continue to thrive. All at the expense of the State and people they serve.