(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Former Bnei Akiva chairman Daniel Goldman said he is boycotting the movement’s conference – which is slated to take place in Israel later this month – because of the planned participation of Or Etzion Yeshiva dean Rabbi Haim Meir Druckman.
In a Facebook post Goldman published Wednesday morning, he said that he has been involved with Bnei Akiva for 40 years and was an active member of its leadership for 15 years, but said: “I cannot in all conscious do so alongside Rav Druckman, until he is prepared to accept responsibility for his decisions with respect to Rav [Mordechai] Elon.”
Elon was convicted of committing indecent sexual acts against a minor in 2013
. Recently, new allegations against Elon surfaced that he had sexually molested another young man after his 2013 conviction when he was trying to rehabilitate his public image, beginning to teach again and receiving people in private for consultation.
Then, earlier this year, another alleged victim, Amitai Dan – a 34-year-old former pupil at the prestigious Horev high school yeshiva in Jerusalem where Elon served as dean from 1987 to 2002 – accused Elon of touching, stroking and embracing him in an inappropriately sexual manner, including seeking to touch his genitals.
Druckman has yet to make any public comment on these recent affairs or apologize for having publicly supported Elon after his conviction in 2013.
Goldman wrote: “Rav Druckman remains a prominent spiritual and political leader for Bnei Akiva and the entire religious sector, and as such, his continued silence casts a shadow over a lifetime of achievement and dedication to the cause.”
He continued: “The victims of sexual predators in our community, and specifically of Rav Elon, deserve better from our leaders.”
Goldman said that members of Bnei Akiva are taught to lead by personal example and that “we have a responsibility for every Jew, and as such I will have to step aside until this injustice is rectified.”
Goldman could not be reached before press time, but in a letter a month ago, he told the Hebrew newspaper Makor Rishon that he had contacted Druckman, and when he did not receive an answer, decided to boycott the event and publish his decision.
He told The Jerusalem Post
that because of Rabbi Druckman’s “status” in the religious community, by not speaking out, “he is blocking any progress to educate the community on how to deal with this issue. Other rabbis are paralyzed into not commenting because Rabbi Druckman will not make a statement.”
Goldman said that several victims of sexual molestation and abuse have told him that raising awareness alleviates their pain and he thinks that Druckman “does not appreciate this.”The Post
reached out to Druckman and spoke to his assistant, who identified himself only as “Yaniv.” When asked how the rabbi would respond to these allegations, he said: “I don’t know how Rabbi Druckman would respond; I really don’t know how to answer you.”Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.
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