Prominent Zionist rabbi indicted on two counts of sexual assault of minors
Rabbi Mordechai (Moti) Elon, a leader of the religious Zionist movement, indicted for assaulting two 17-year olds, including one of his students; Elon says his actions misunderstood.
An indictment was served Wednesday against Rabbi Mordechai (Moti) Elon, one of the most prominent rabbis in the religious Zionist movement, for two counts of indecent and sexual assault against two minors, one of whom was his student.
According to the indictment, served to a Jerusalem court, the incidents took place in 2003 and 2005. Rabbi Elon was head of the Hakotel Yeshiva in Jerusalem’s old city at the time.
In 2003, Rabbi Elon assaulted B., who joined the Yeshiva as a student in December 2002. B. was seventeen years old at the time of the incident, and according to the indictment, he saw Rabbi Elon as someone to look up to. The incident took place following a death in B.’s family.
In 2005, Rabbi Elon assaulted A., also seventeen years old, who was not one of his students. According to the indictment, A. approached the Rabbi for advice after going through an emotional crisis, on the recommendation of a friend.
During hearings at the State Attorney’s office, Rabbi Elon has claimed that he did not break the law, and that his actions were misunderstood. He said his actions stemmed from the love of a teacher for a student, and that they were in no way sexual abuse. The State Attorney’s office did not accept this version of events.
Police recommended that Rabbi Mordechai (Moti) Elon be indicted on charges of sexual crimes in August 2010. Police suspect Elon of forcibly committing indecent acts on two minors.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador closely followed the case while the police were still investigating Elon.
In February 2010, Weinstein instructed the police to examine complaints about Elon that had been made public by Takana, a forum that fights sexual abuse in the Orthodox community.
Suspicions against Elon came to the attention of Takana in 2006. The forum demanded that Elon cease his educational activities, and placed various restrictions on him. With no explanation to his students and followers, Elon, who was popular with students, left his post as head of Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem, and moved with his family to Migdal on the Kinneret.
In 2006, Takana informed then attorney general Menachem Mazuz of the complaints against Elon. Mazuz conveyed the information to the police, but decided not to order an investigation against Elon.
Takana said they decided to go public with the allegations at the time because Elon "did not follow the restrictions imposed on him."