Rabbi Mordechai Elon had sexual relations with male students in the past, a rabbinical forum that works to prevent sexual abuse in the national-religious sector said in a statement on Wednesday
The Takana forum held an emergency meeting Tuesday night to discuss the allegations facing Elon, following an announcement they posted Monday demanding Elon step down from all rabbinical, teaching and community responsibilities, warning he is a threat to the public.
Elon admitted to the acts during the emergency meeting, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, a member of Takana told Army Radio Wednesday, adding that the rabbi's confession is documented in the forum's protocol.
The statement released by Takana on Wednesday addresses their decision to post the announcement, and says the incidents in question “can only be described as acts of the most severe kind“.
The statement says that after it was founded by a group of leading national religious rabbis and community leaders in 2003, one of the first complaints Takana received was against Rabbi Elon, dealing with allegations of “sexual exploitation by a religious authority.”
After the first complaints were received, Elon was called in for a meeting with Takana and “swore that he had overcome his problems and that the allegations were in the past and there were no additional incidents,” the statement reads.
After a year passed Takana received another complaint, this one reportedly of a more severe nature than the first one, according to the statement.
Takana said that when they looked into the new complaint, it dealt with incidents “of a deliberate sexual nature carried out over an extended period of time” that allegedly took place while the group was holding discussions on the original allegations. The group said that because they then “lost all belief in the words of the rabbi – who concealed these actions while the committee was discussing the original complaint” they came to the conclusion that it was no longer fitting for him to work as a religious teacher or counselor.
According to the statement, the rabbi was then asked to leave his post as head of the Kotel Yeshiva and cancel a number of public appearances and community roles.
The statement says that Elon “has not fulfilled his obligations he agreed to” – in particular the requirement that he stay away from intimate, personal and private meetings with people seeking his advice or religious counsel. The statement says Takana made the decision to go public with the allegations “because they saw no other way to protect the public from possible harm in the future.”
Elon has publicly denied all of the allegations against him and said they derived from one “seriously disturbed” student, adding that the charges constituted “a blood libel, but I am happy that the truth is beginning to emerge."
Takana Chairman Yehudit Shilat told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that claims made that the allegations against Elon were solely the result of a single disgruntled student or someone with a personal vendetta against the rabbi were “absolutely false.”
Shilat, who said she hadn’t slept over the past 55 hours, would not comment on the number of complaints received against Elon nor the severity of them, saying the organization still needed more time to determine how many of them have any basis.
According to a statement posted by Takana Wednesday, the group was
reluctant to publicize the matter in order to “protect the
Shilat said this was in order to protect the privacy of the families of
the complainants, a desire that was later outweighed by the public
security concerns that prompted the posting of Monday’s announcement.
Shilat said that the publication of the allegations has been met by
“sadness and anger” in the national religious community, but the
organization’s principal concerns were for the torah and the community.