Senior national-religious leader Rabbi Haim Druckman publicly defended Rabbi
Moti Elon on Sunday, saying there is no reason for him not to teach at his
yeshiva despite his conviction and sentencing for indecent assault by force on a
On Thursday, MK and former Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich wrote to
Education Minister Shai Piron and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak
Aharonovitch asking them to prevent Elon giving such lessons in accordance with
the law which stipulates that someone convicted of sexual crimes not be allowed
to work in an institute where minors are present.
Speaking in a radio
interview with Arutz Sheva on Sunday, Druckman said he believed Elon’s
conviction was a mistake, that he “fully believed the rabbi,” and that he could
continue to give lessons at the Or Etzion yeshiva where Druckman serves as
“I don’t believe there is anything in his Torah lessons that is not
kosher, there is no reason not to learn from him or listen to Torah lessons from
him,” the rabbi said.
Druckman, an Israel Prize laureate, said that he
believed the court was mistaken in convicting Elon and that there were no
witnesses to the incidents in question other than the rabbi and the
“At the end of the day, we’re talking about an incident in
which two people were in the room, Rabbi Elon and the complainant. There
was no one in the room apart from them,” he said. “This person claims one thing,
which the other denies. There’s no other testimony [on this incident].
Who says the claim is true? No one knows what happened in the room and no one
can know. This is why I saw the ruling as a mistake.”
saying that “he [Elon] is a warm person who hugs people and for sure people who
have problems, he brings them close. Maybe people will say this is ok or not ok,
but it is nothing more than this.”
Elon has always denied the allegations
and he and his supporters have argued that he was accustomed to giving warm hugs
to many of his students, which, they claim, were misinterpreted in the incidents
for which he was convicted.
Although there were originally two plaintiffs
against Elon, one of them subsequently decided not to testify and his complaint
was withdrawn from the accusations against the rabbi.
As Druckman noted,
Elon was convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on the basis of the
claims of the sole remaining plaintiff, known as Aleph, but additional testimony
was brought by other individuals to verify Aleph’s claims, although they did not
themselves submit complaints against Elon to the court.
witness, referred to as “Shin,” gave testimony of an incident similar to that of
Aleph, between himself or herself and Elon, and a third witness referred to as
“Mem” said that he or she had witnessed an incident of an “intimate” nature
between the rabbi and a yeshiva student.
The testimony of Shin and Mem
was not made available to the press because of the nature of the allegations. In
the judgement, Judge Hagit Mak-Kalmanovitz wrote that she believed Aleph to be a
credible witness, and that Shin and Mem also gave reliable testimony.
wrote in the judgement that “the possibility that three people created a
criminal connection between themselves to falsely libel the accused is not in