The Jerusalem District Court postponed Monday morning the evidentiary stage in
the trial of Rabbi Motti Elon for alleged indecent acts, in order to allow the
defense team time to review the new material and to present its response to the
state attorney’s office.
Jerusalem District prosecutors requested last
week to add four new witnesses to the case to testify about the rabbi’s custom
of hugging his students, as well as the testimony of a social worker who says
she saw one such event.
The court was scheduled to begin hearing
testimony from witnesses today but Judge Haim Liran ruled that the defense must
be provided with all the new material, which it has not yet received, to present
its response. The judge will then rule on whether or not to accept the new
Elon’s defense attorneys, led by Yaakov Rubin, described the
attempt to add witnesses to the case as an “attempt to breathe life into the
corpse of an already dead indictment which anyway lacked substance.” They also
alleged that the new material presented by the prosecutors was first leaked to
the press before being given to the defense team and accused the prosecution of
trying to conduct the trial through the media.
State attorney Sagi Ofir
said that the new witnesses were being brought to strengthen the testimony of
one of the original complainants and that some of the new material had not been
passed to the defense because of logistical issues during
Elon’s defense will have seven days to file a written response
once it has been given all the new material.
Elon, who was a leading
light of the national-religious community before the allegations against him
came to light, is charged with five counts of indecent assault, and indecent
assault by force against two minors.
The rabbi has vigorously denied the
allegations against him and has said that nothing he did had any sexual
The judge rescheduled the hearing for May 14.