Rabbi Mordechai Elon - Olivier Fitoussi
Rabbi Mordechai Elon outside Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court before his trial in December last year. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Prominent Rabbi Mordechai ‘Moti’ Elon denied on Sunday the charges against him that he sexually abused two male students.

Elon, until recently considered one of the spiritual leaders of religious Zionism, is the former head of Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem, went on trial at Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in December last year on charges of forcible sexual assault against the two students, who had sought his emotional support.

Responding to the indictment against him, which details the charges of sexual assault against a 17-year-old male, identified as A., and another 17-year-old male identified as B between 2003 and 2005, Elon said that his contact with the students was not sexual in nature.

According to Elon’s lawyer, meetings with A. and B. did not take place in the way that is presented by the prosecution.

Elon said he does not remember meeting A., who was not one of Elon's students, but who had allegedly sought the rabbi out at a time of personal distress at the suggestion of a friend. Elon said, however, that it was possible that there had been physical contact with A., but that this would have been to comfort him, and not for any sexual gratification..

Elon says he remembers meeting with B., who according to the indictment sought Elon out for comfort after someone close to him was killed. Elon maintains that any physical contact was meant to comfort B., and denies any sexual intent.

During the opening session of Elon’s trial in December, Elon's lawyer, Jacob Rubin, said that Elon would admit to some of the facts in the indictment, but only those that in and of themselves did not constitute an acknowledgment of having committed a crime. Rubin said at the time that his client would deny carrying out any kind of indecent sexual acts on his students.

Read this article in Hebrew