In court, Rabbi Elon denies charges against him

Yeshivat Hakotel denies all five counts of indecent assault, and indecent assault by force made against him.

Rabbi Mordechai Elon 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Rabbi Mordechai Elon 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Rabbi Mordechai Elon denied all five counts made against him of indecent assault and indecent assault by force in the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday.
Elon, who was a leader in the national-religious community and former dean of Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem, was charged in October with inappropriately touching, kissing and stroking a 17-year old student in 2003 after a friend of his, who had also been a student of Elon’s, was killed in a car accident.
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In a separate incident in 2005, another 17-year old who came to Elon’s office for advice during a family crisis alleges that the rabbi sat him on his lap and touched him inappropriately.
In his response to the indictment, Elon said that he did not remember the 2005 incident as he has sat and consulted with many students over the years and could not remember this specific incident. The rabbi said that it was possible that he hugged and caressed the student since he has many times comforted and encouraged those who have sought his advice in the past in this way.
He stressed however that any contact was in no way for the purposes of sexual stimulation.
Regarding the incident in 2003, Elon acknowledged that he had met with the complainant but denies having forcefully sat him on his knees. He said again that he may have hugged and caressed him, and also kissed him on the neck, but not in any sexual manner.
A close aide to Elon told The Jerusalem Post that anyone who knows him would recognize that this is how the rabbi has acted with thousands of people who have sought his advice and friendship.
“Everyone who knows Rabbi Elon and his body language and reads the accusations thinks its ridiculous,” the aide, a rabbi and teacher, said. “He hugged me at my wedding under the huppa. He is very warm and this is how he expresses it.”
Speaking to the Post, Elon’s attorney, Baruch Rupin, said that out of the hundreds and thousands of people the rabbi has met and sat with, the indictment lists only two complainants. Rupin emphasized that while Elon does not deny having had physical contact with the complainants, “he did so without any sexual connotation whatsoever.
Elon rejected a plea bargain offered to him by the prosecution in October, saying he would not admit to crimes he did not commit. Elon was offered a deal in which he would have had to enter a guilty plea, but would not have been subject to a custodial sentence.
“I never, heaven forbid, carried out any acts with sexual intent toward any of my students,” Elon stated at a press conference in November following his indictment.
He accused the Takana Forum, which initially brought the allegations to light, as having conducted a court martial against him.
“What has been done to me was undemocratic, against Halacha, against the Torah and against humanity,” he said.