Rabbi Mordechai Elon 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The police’s announcement on Sunday that there was enough evidence to pursue sex
crimes charges against Rabbi Mordechai “Moti” Elon was greeted with a measured
response by members of a rabbinical forum that fights sexual abuse by religious
leaders, a member of the forum told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
David Stav said the Takana forum does not review allegations of sexual
impropriety on a criminal or legal level, and therefore the police announcement
would have no impact on its recommendations regarding Elon.
influenced by the police; even if they said there is no evidence for him to
stand trial, it wouldn’t affect us. They deal with issues of law and the penal
code; we deal with ethical issues only,” Stav said.
In February, Takana
posted a warning on its Web site demanding that Elon cease all teaching,
rabbinical and community activities, saying he poses a threat to the
Two days later, Takana posted a statement that said that Elon
stood accused of having sexual relations with male students.
itself as a venue in which allegations of wrongdoing that would probably not
make their way to the police are addressed, and through which those accused of
impropriety are kept away from members of the public. The forum was founded
because many in the religious community are not willing to turn to the police,
and also because some ethical violations would not be considered criminal
violations by police.
“In a lot of the cases we deal with, people
wouldn’t be willing to speak to the police, and it isn’t clear that the police
would be able to do anything, because in may cases what we say is wrong or
unethical isn’t always illegal or seen as sexual abuse by the law, but from the
ethical perspective we see it as wrong,” Stav said.
“We only deal with
issues that people don’t want to go to the police about. We are not trying to
replace the police; we are part of this country. What we do is that when we see
there are complaints about a teacher or a rabbi’s behavior, we try to prevent
the next case from happening, by informing the community and preventing the
accused from staying in his community position.
publication of the warning against Elon, the forum was the subject of much
criticism for going after a revered member of the national-religious community,
to which the forum belongs. Stav said the police announcement might help change
“Obviously those who said we made these allegations up
are wrong and the police announcement strengthens the fact that we didn’t make
it up,” he said.
“I’m sure there are many people who are still angry at
Takana and I can’t blame them, but I think that the number of people who are
angry at Takana has been reduced and will continue to fall. At the beginning
there was much criticism, but after people realized that we didn’t make these
stories up out of the blue and that rabbis came to us to check what we are
doing, I think that most of them were pleased.”
Stav is the chief rabbi
of Shoham and the spokesman for the Hesder Yeshiva system. He is a former
education leader of the flagship Or Etzion yeshiva.
against Elon include forceful sexual molestation, and sexual molestation of at
least two minors.
Police said Sunday they will pass the investigative
file against Elon to the Jerusalem District branch of the State Attorney’s
Elon’s attorney Yair Golan said on Monday that the police
announcement had not significantly changed things for him and his
“After the announcement he told me: I believe in my innocence, I
am strong, and I will fight this,” Golan said.