'Rav Motti' as ultimate unifier

rabbi motti elon, bennis (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
rabbi motti elon, bennis
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Rabbi Mordechai "Motti" Elon, head of Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem's Old City, is popular among religious Zionists for his eloquence and message of unity. Son of former Supreme Court Judge Menahem Elon and brother of MK Benny Elon (National Union), "Rav Motti", 46, appears on Channel 1 every Friday afternoon. His weekly lectures are attended by hundreds and are broadcast on Radio Kol Hai and Techelet, a cable TV station with Jewish content. Elon heads the Me'breshit Movement, which has set as its goal to deepen Jewish identity and community cohesiveness. The movement trains leaders and encourages community education and volunteer work. However, Elon, who served as an IDF tank commander, opposes aggressive attempts to convince secular Jews to embrace Orthodoxy. "Rav Motti always says his role in life is to bring about unity among Jews," said a close aide. "If as a result people get closer to religion, that is fine. But that is not the Rav's main goal." During disengagement, Elon opposed IDF insubordination as a means of stopping the Gaza pullout. However, in certain cases he advised soldiers to disobey orders under extraordinary conditions. "One soldier, who was a resident of Kfar Darom and served in the Duvdevan Battalion at the time of disengagement, told the Rav that his wife would divorce him if he cooperated. So the Rav advised him to disobey orders," the aide said. Although he is an independent thinker, Elon is expected to ask the advice of head of Yeshivat Mercaz Harav Avraham Shapira, former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, rabbi of the Old City Avigdor Halevi Nebenzhal, and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef regarding the possibility of a political career. Elon learned and taught in Kiryat Shmona before he moved back to Jerusalem, where he returned to teach at the Chorev Yeshiva High School. He later become the head of the yeshiva.