Rabbi Mordechai (Moti) Elon responded Wednesday to testimonies of sexual abuse claims against him that had been made public by Takana, a forum that fights sexual abuse in the Orthdox community, saying "man's greatest strength is to remain silent."
"What there is in the world is not the noise around," Elon said during a sermon in a Bat Yam synagogue.
Elon, who was suspended from his public position following the police's recommendation to charge him with the allegations against him, said "Rachel taught me the secret of silence. There are kinds of silence that are above talk."
Following a lengthy investigation, the police announced in August they had collected sufficient evidence to recommend that Elon, one of the most prominent rabbis in the religious Zionist movement, be indicted on charges of sexual crimes.
Police suspect Elon of forcibly committing indecent acts on two minors.
The investigation included testimony from various individuals who had come into contact with the complainant during the time the alleged crimes were committed and strengthened the suspicions against Elon.
Earlier on Wednesday, hundreds of Elon's students signed an online petition criticizing "the malicious intention to publish defamations."
"For the last year we have gotten used to attempts to humiliate Rabbi Elon, and the Rabbi, in his humility has remained silent," the students wrote in the petition. "But now things have reached a point at which we cannot remain silent. To us, who have known Elon for many years, you cannot tell stories. We testify that over the many years we have been privileged to study and teach with Rabbi Elon, we have never, in any matter, not sight, nor rumor or even a hint of any kind, encountered exploitive or inappropriate behavior on Elon's part."
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