Rabbi Elon begins trial for assault against minors

Trial of leading religious-Zionist figure begins in Jerusalem; lawyer optimistic that charges will be dropped.

Rabbi Mordechai Elon 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Rabbi Mordechai Elon 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The trial of Rabbi Moti Elon began Wednesday at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. Rabbi Elon is charged with five counts of indecent assault and indecent assault by force. The trail comes just over a month after an indictment was filed against the rabbi claiming that he exploited his position as a revered figure in carrying out the offenses against two minors.
Rabbi Elon arrived at court accompanied by his family- his wife, two children, sister, and in-laws.
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Yaakov Rubin, the rabbi's lawyer, said that "Rabbi Elon, god willing, will be completely exonerated, with a stainless record, and all the accusations against him, which are hanging by a thread, will be completely discredited." He added his hope that the charges against the rabbi will be dropped by the end of the case.
According to the indictment, in January 2003, Elon held a private meeting in his office at Yeshivat Hakotel in the capital with a 17-year-old student, identified as “Bet,” who had lost a personal acquaintance in a traffic accident that day. During the meeting, Elon allegedly hugged Bet, drew him close and kissed him on the neck. Similar incidents occurred later the same day and again several weeks later.
In July 2005, another 17-yearold boy, identified as “Alef,” allegedly arranged a meeting with Elon at the offices of an educational NGO in Jerusalem of which he was the director, to discuss a family crisis. Alef was recommended to speak with Elon by a friend who had previously consulted with the rabbi on personal issues.
At the meeting in his private office, the indictment alleges that Elon forcibly sat Alef down on his lap and inappropriately stroked him on his head, stomach and knees.
The indictment was filed after Elon rejected a plea bargain offered to him by the prosecution on Sunday night, 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 subjected to a custodial sentence.
Elon denies the charges and says nothing he did was for sexual gratification, and that his actions were misunderstood.
Elon, the former head of Yeshivat Hakotel and a leading figure in the religious-Zionist world, has headed several Jewish, religious and social organizations, and hosted television and radio shows. He also headed a bible study group held at the President’s Residence.
Elon is the son of former Supreme Court deputy president Menachem Elon, and his four siblings include former tourism minister Benny Elon and current Beersheba District Court President Joseph Elon.