Prominent national religious figure Rabbi Moti Elon, who was convicted in August of two counts of indecent assault by force against a minor, was set to be sentenced at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Wednesday morning.
Nearly four years after the first suspicions of sexual misconduct toward his students were made public, the court will decide if Elon will face a prison sentence for his crimes as the state attorney has requested, or a lighter sentence.
At a hearing to determine Elon's sentence in October, the prosecutor asked for a sentence of eight to 18 months in prison.
The rabbi’s defense team has asked that he be given community service instead of a jail term.
According to the conviction in August, during a private meeting in 2005 with a 17-year-old boy, known as “Alef,” Elon stroked his face and different parts of his body on top of his clothes; sat the boy on his lap; and kissed him on the face for a prolonged period.
In a separate incident Elon met Alef in HaKotel Yeshiva where the rabbi served as yeshiva dean. He took him to his office, closed the door and sat down next to the youth on a couch. He then brought Alef towards him, sat him on his knees and, while clothed, rubbed his genitals against Alef’s body.
Charges regarding a second complainant were dropped in February when the victim refused to testify in court.
Elon vigorously denied the allegations and his supporters have argued that he was accustomed to giving warm hugs to many of his students.
They claim that the incidents for which he was convicted were misinterpreted.
Elon had been one of the predominant figures in the national religious world before allegations of misconduct arose and was dean of the renowned HaKotel Yeshiva. His Torah lessons were broadcast on national radio, he had a television slot and enjoyed a large and devoted public following.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders