Rabbi Moti Elon indicted for indecent assault

Indictment highlights offenses exploiting two minors in 2003 and 2005; indictment comes after Elon refused to accept a plea bargain.

Rabbi Mordechai Elon 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Rabbi Mordechai Elon 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment on Wednesday afternoon against Rabbi Mordechai Elon, charging him with five counts of indecent assault, and indecent assault by force.
According to the indictment, which was filed in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, Elon, 51, the former head of Yeshivat Hakotel and a leading figure in the religious-Zionist world, exploited his position as a revered figure in carrying out the offenses against two minors.
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In January 2003, according to the indictment, 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.
In February, the State Attorney’s Office announced its decision to press charges after a police investigation against Elon had been conducted at the request of Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein.
After refusing the plea bargain, Elon announced that his lawyer, Yair Golan, had ceased to represent him.
Since then, Elon has hired a new lawyer, Zion Amir. One of the country’s most prominent criminal attorneys, Amir represented several public figures, most notably former president Moshe Katsav.
“The rabbi insists he is perfectly innocent and intends to fight to prove that innocence,” Amir told the media on Wednesday.
Elon has headed several Jewish, religious and social organizations and institutions, 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.