Convicted Child Sex Abuser Allegedly Hosted And Honored By IDF’s Chief Rabbi

By Shmarya Rosenberg
Failed Messiah
May 31, 2015

The Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, allegedly had a prominent guest over the Shavuot holiday – convicted child molester Rabbi Mordechai “Motti” Elon.

Elon, the  former rosh yeshiva (dean) of the flagship Zionist Orthodox yeshiva, Yeshivat HaKotel in the Old City of Jerusalem, was treated as a guest of honor by Peretz, who is a state employee, even though Elon was convicted in August 2013 of molesting a minor teen boy, and even though Elon has been completely unrepentant.

Before that trial and Elon’s conviction, the Takana Forum, Zionist Orthodoxy’s and Modern Orthodoxy’s internal body that deals with clergy abuser and related problems, heard enough credible damning evidence to force Elon to resign from his Yeshivat HaKotel post, leave Jerusalem and promise to stop teaching public classes.

But within weeks of leaving Yeshivat HaKotel and the city in 2006, Elon – the scion of one of the most prominent Zionist Orthodox family in the country (his brother was a leading politician, his father was a Supreme Court judge and a published scholar of Jewish law, another brother is a district court judge and yet another is a biblical scholar) – resumed teaching. Not long after that, he began planning to return to Jerusalem in another public teaching role.

Elon’s violations of his deal with Takana grew more brazen. Eventually a police investigation into the politically connected Elon’s sexual abuse was launched in 2010. That lead to two victims coming forward. (People familiar both with Takana’s investigation and the investigation by police have said there were more victims, and that the behavior of Elon was worse than what had been made public.)

Elon’s followers harassed and threatened both victims mercilessly. Police did nothing of note to stop that witness tampering, and one of the victims eventually dropped out of the case because of it.

Nonetheless, the other victim’s allegations against Elon were heard in court, as was the testimony of others – including a social worker who years before saw Elon fondle and kiss a young male he was allegedly counseling.

On August 7, 2013 Elon was convicted of two counts of forcible sexual assault against a male minor.

After the conviction and while awaiting sentencing, Elon openly taught a class at the yeshiva headed by Rabbi Haim Druckman, the most prominent Zionist Orthodox rabbi in Israel and a known enabler and protector of rabbis who abuse children. (Despite that deplorable track record, Druckman was given the Israel Prize in 2012, angering many survivors of child sex abuse.) Druckman defended Elon at the time and did so again after Elon was sentenced in December 2013 to community service and a long term of probation. Druckman also reiterated previous attacks on Elon’s victims, and said Elon would be able to teach at the yeshiva for as long as Elon wanted to do so.

Elon's sentence angered survivors and child protection advocates.

Takana was marginalized by the Elon affair, and many observers note that in Israeli Zionist Orthodoxy, sex abuse allegations and their aftermath are handled in ways almost indistinguishable from how they are handled in the haredi community, which is well-known for covering up allegations of child sex abuse and for protecting alleged abusers.

Elon is a father of 11 children who remains married to his wife of many years. While he continues to claim he did nothing illegal, he also chose not to appeal his conviction.



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