Rabbinate says convicted sex offender Moti Elon may be barred

Rabbi Moti Elon was convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in 2013 of two counts of indecent assault by force against a minor.

January 21, 2019 18:44
2 minute read.
Rabbi Motti Elon.

Rabbi Moti Elon 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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The Chief Rabbinate has sent a letter to convicted sex offender Rabbi Moti Elon informing him that his qualifications to serve in formal positions within the rabbinate are being reviewed and could be revoked.

The Jerusalem Post understands that this is the first step in a disciplinary process that could result in him being disbarred from the rabbinate.

First reported by KAN and confirmed by the Post, the letter informed Elon that the Chief Rabbinate is considering revoking his qualifications and requested he respond within 21 days of receiving the letter.

The letter said his conviction for sexual misdemeanors would appear to be sufficient grounds to revoke his qualification as a municipal chief rabbi and neighborhood rabbi, both formal, salaried positions within the rabbinate.

The Chief Rabbinate’s disciplinary committee will examine Elon’s response and then decide if and how it will proceed.

Since the Chief Rabbinate does not confer ordination but merely qualifications to serve as a public official, it cannot revoke Elon’s ordination and title as rabbi.

According to the Regulations for Jewish Religious Services 2007, the Council of the Chief Rabbinate is empowered to revoke the qualifications of an individual who passed the relevant exams to serve in public office in the rabbinate, such as municipal chief rabbi, rabbinical judge, marriage registrar and others.

The law states that such disciplinary procedures can be initiated if the rabbi “acted in a way that is incommensurate with his position as a rabbi among the Jewish people,” or if he was convicted of a crime whose severity is such that it can be concluded that the rabbi is not fitting to serve as a public official.

The disciplinary committee within the Chief Rabbinate is comprised of Rabbi Yaakov Shapira and Rabbi Yitzhak Ralbag from the Council of the Chief Rabbinate, who, together with one other rabbi, will decide on the matter.

Elon was convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in 2013 of two counts of indecent assault by force against a minor. He did not appeal, and was sentenced to six-months community service by the court.

In December, it emerged that Elon, who returned to public activity several years after his conviction, had sexually molested a youth in a private meeting with him during the last 12 months.

The youth had audio and video evidence that he presented to Rabbis Haim Druckman, Yaakov Ariel and Shmuel Eliyahu, who told Elon to cease all public activity and to stop receiving youths in private for advice.

There are vanishingly few rabbis who have been convicted of criminal offenses who have been disbarred by the Chief Rabbinate.

According to sources, after disciplinary procedures were initiated by the Chief Rabbinate against Rabbi Yonah Metzger, the former chief rabbi who was convicted in 2017 of taking bribes, fraud, taking money to perform Jewish conversion and other corruption charges, he committed to never run for public office again.

As reported by the Post, an alleged victim of Elon’s, Amitai Dan, filed a request with the Chief Rabbinate to revoke Elon’s qualifications to serve in a public capacity in the rabbinate in December.

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