The verdict in the case of Rabbi Mordechai Elon, charged with five counts of
indecent assault and indecent assault by force against two minors, is due
The allegations surrounding Elon have created a storm in the
national-religious world in which the rabbi was a leading light until
accusations of sexual impropriety against him.
The two main witnesses in
the case, alleged victims known as Aleph and Bet, claim separately that Elon
touched, kissed and stroked them in an inappropriate manner in private meetings.
The incidents in question date back to 2003 and 2005.
Elon, a former dean
of the prestigious Yeshivat HaKotel institution, strenuously denies the
allegations. The rabbi’s supporters argue that he was accustomed to giving warm
hugs to many of his students and that the incidents in the meetings with the two
witnesses were misinterpreted.
On Monday night, an interview conducted
with Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel last year was published for the first
time on the Kipa national-religious news website.
Ariel said that Elon
had admitted to the charges against him in a meeting with the Takana Forum of
which Ariel is a member.
The forum was established by leading figures of
the national-religious community to combat sexual harassment and was the body
that initially brought the allegations against Elon to light.
morning however, Ariel strongly protested the publication of the interview a day
before the verdict of the trial was due. He said on Army Radio that it was an
injustice and damaging to the legal process.
Elon’s legal counsel
Attorney Asher Ohayoun made similar comments in response to the publication of
the interview, saying that it was intended to influence the result of the trial
and argued that Elon never admitted to anyone that he had committed any crimes
of a sexual nature.
“These things [admission of guilt] never happened,”
“To publish such things two days before the ruling implies
that there is a blatant and ugly attempt to influence the court in any way
[possible].” In the original interview with Kipa, Ariel insisted that Elon had
admitted to the charges in front of members of the Takana forum.
Elon harmed his students in a serious manner, several years ago, and they bore
this with them for many years,” Ariel told Kipa.
“The complainants told
us the story and he [Elon] admitted the facts and said it was a one-off incident
and wouldn’t happen again.
“A year afterwards, additional testimony
became known to us that revealed to us that during the same period that he said
this was a one-off incident, and that he would no longer be alone with young
students he caused a deep emotional crisis for [another] youth...
Elon admitted to all the incidents but said that he had slipped.
another incident, he admitted, but said he had done it for the boys own good and
gave explanations. The bottom line is that he admitted the facts,” said
According to the indictment, in January 2003 Elon allegedly held a
private meeting in his office at Yeshivat Hakotel with a student, identified as
Bet, who had lost a personal acquaintance in a traffic accident that
During the meeting, Elon allegedly hugged B, drew him close and
kissed him on the neck.
Similar incidents occurred later the same day and
again several weeks later.
In July 2005, the indictment alleges that a
minor, identified as Aleph, arranged a meeting with Rabbi Elon at the offices of
an educational NGO in Jerusalem of which he was the director, in order to
discuss a family crisis. Aleph was recommended to speak with Elon by a friend
who had previously consulted with the rabbi on personal issues.
meeting in his private office, the indictment alleges that Elon forcibly sat
Aleph down on his lap and inappropriately stroked him on his head, stomach and
The indictment was filed after Elon refused a plea bargain offered
to him by the prosecution.
He was offered a deal in which he would have
to enter a guilt plea but would not have been subject to a custodial sentence.