Chief Rabbinate declines to revoke accreditation for disgraced rabbi Elon

Elon, who was convicted in 2013 of two counts of indecent assault by force against a minor, has instead committed not to seek appointment to a state-paid position until the age of legal retirement.

Moti Elon (photo credit: screenshot)
Moti Elon
(photo credit: screenshot)
Despite legal pressure from a petition to the High Court of Justice, the Chief Rabbinate has declined to revoke the accreditation obtained in the past by disgraced rabbi Moti Elon, and has sufficed with merely accepting his pledge not to seek any public position in the rabbinate.
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 2018, new allegations of sexual molestation of a minor were made against Elon, who had returned to public activity several years after his conviction, and three of the most senior religious-Zionist rabbis in the country. Rabbis Haim Druckman, Yaakov Ariel and Shmuel Eliyahu, told him to cease all public activity and to stop receiving youths in private for advice.
Efforts were made to have the Chief Rabbinate revoke his qualifications to serve as a municipal chief rabbi and neighborhood rabbi, since under the terms of the Regulations for Jewish Religious Services 2007, the Council of the Chief Rabbinate can do so if a 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 fit to serve as a public official.
Last year, however, a disciplinary committee set up by the Chief Rabbinate decided to suffice with a declaration by Elon that he would not seek public office for a period of 10 years after his conviction, which would have expired in 2023.
Several individuals and organisations, including the Association of Assistant Centers for Victims of Sexual Assault in Israel, the Jewish Community Shield, Kol Va’Oz, Ayelet Cohen Vider and Professor Hannah Kehat, subsequently filed a petition to the High Court of Justice arguing that given Elon’s crimes, his alleged offences since his conviction, his ongoing teaching, and his failure to apologise to his victims, the the terms of the law require the Chief Rabbinate to revoke his accreditation. 

The Chief Rabbinate in its response to the High Court petition noted that Elon has now committed not to seek public office again, and to stop conducting weddings, arguing that this commitment ensures he will never serve in a public position again.
The petitioning organizations and individuals rejected the Chief Rabbinate’s response and will still ask the court to require the Chief Rabbinate to revoke Elon’s credentials.
“It is not possible to accept that a rabbi who was convicted of sex offenses will not have credentials revoked by the Chief Rabbinate which is authorized to do so,” they said.
Attorney Riki Shapira, who represented the petitioners, said: “There needs to be an unambiguous declaration that the Chief Rabbinate is distancing itself from this man, who has never accepted the judgment, never apologized, continues to harm people, and is a danger to the public.”