Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is Rabbi Mordechai Elon a Pervert ?


Is the famous Israeli national religious Rabbi Mordechai (Motti) Elon a pervert and has he abused some of his male Yeshiva students ?
At least ten of his former students stand witness and say that they have been abused by the Rabbi when then came to him for private counseling.

The Rabbi has been under suspicious for at least four years and was told to look for psychological help. Mordechai Elon comes from a famous family and his brother Benny Elon is a Knesset member for the National Religious Party. Their father Menachem Elon used to be a judge at Israel's Supreme Court. The accused Rabbi used to be the head of the famous Yeshiva "Yeshivat HaKotel" at the Western Wall (Kotel). Many times, I saw him and his students dancing in front of the Kotel almost every Erev Shabbat (Friday night).

Seven years ago and even before, the national religious Rabbi and Chief Rabbi of Bet El, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, was accused of abusing women coming to him for advise. At that time, more than ten Rabbis (obviously Aviner's friends) quickly signed an announcement denying the accusation and that the women would only speak "Lashon HaRah - Slander" against the Rav. Those Rabbis signing knew no details about the accusations but just signed because their Rabbi friend was apparently causing a scandal for the entire national religious movement.
Before that, the former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Israel Lau was accused of abusing women but there were no further charges. The Lau case is rather complicated, as the prosecution didn't publish details and kept quiet. When Lau ran for presidency a few years ago, some politicians told him that they would publish his records and thus Lau resigned as fast as he could. He would not run for presidency anymore but became the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and was told to shut up.

After the Aviner scandal, the national religious movement founded a special forum (committee) for investigating such accusations. It was the forum investigating Rabbi Mordechai Elon for the past years and now the forum members decided to go public, as Elon again had started his private counseling.

Rabbi Mordechai Elon himself claims that nothing is true and that any accusation against him is "Lashon HaRah". The national religious press keeps quiet. As expected. 
None of their journalists wants to mess with their Rabbis. The secular press as well as the forum sees Elon as guilty. Not only because there are so many witnesses and Yeshiva students claiming that they have been abused by the Rabbi. He would touch them, ask them to take off their shirts and even their underwear.

The scandal has again caused a public discussion about homosexuals who claim to be religious and "keeping" the Torah. Furthermore the case shows how religious society including its press sticks together and uses the justification of Lashon HaRah.


  1. shalom
    for years i followed Rabbi Elon's weekly shiur on Parshat Shavua on Channel 1. his clarity always astonished me, and i ofen quote his teachings in my own. i am agonized about the accusations against him. however, we have no business labeling the rav a homosexual, or a pervert, or a criminal unless his actions are proven beyond question. even our Sages opposed execution of a murderer unless his crime was witnessed and irrefutable.
    trial by media is the lowest road to take.
    if none of the yeshiva boys are willing to come forward and make proper accusations, there is no criminal case. and in order to expell doubts regarding the rav's morality and sexual leanings, i would say to him
    - demand justice- say your piece, and say it truly. if it is slander, sue. if it is true, be gone as a teacher and rabbi.
    rav Elon MUST come clean. i feel very sorry for him, but i agree that we cannot learn Tora from a person who does not embrace its teachings, and instead embraces (sorry for the pun) its pupils. i hope rav Elon succeeds in clearing his name, and i wish him well.
    Dr. Ruth Samuel Tenenholtz

  2. B"H

    Elon's problem is that, years ago, he had already agreed to the committee to move somewhere else. This is a kind of admitting his guilt.
    Why would he agree to change his job / move when he is innocent ?
    This is the main question behind it.
    Rabbi Elon, on the other hand, is asking why the committee waited for four years and only then went public.

    Nevertheless, I feel sorry for his wife and the children. I don't know about him, as I am not a great follower of national religious matters.

    Those witnesses have not gone to the police but only to the committee. The reason may be that after standing witness against the Rabbi in court, their career may be finished. Which girl is going to have a Shidduch with
    an abused guy ? What about the neighbours or the family when someone admits that he was abused by the Rabbi ?
    How can they themselves become Rabbis or find prestigious Yeshivot when they stand witness in court ?

    I am excited to see what the national religious weekly "Be'Sheva" is going to say in its edition tomorrow.

  3. regarding the allegations against R. Aviner - Maariv, the newspaper that originally published the story against him, funded an investigation into the story and concluded it was not true and published an official retraction. At the time, there were hundreds of signatories on posters put up throughout Israel (not 10) and many markolets refused to sell the paper.

    You should be careful with destroying people's reputation.

  4. B"H

    So, why did THE SAME NEWSPAPER mention the story again. Two days ago, Maariv referred to the story with Aviner and compared it to Elon.

    It is interesting to see how people blindly follow some Rabbis ! The real victims are the VICTIMS of such cases and no one speaks about them !

  5. Miriam,

    It's now about following blindly - it's about being moral, just and thinking critically without emotion.

    In the case of Rav Aviner, there were two adult women who anonymously made accusations that Rav Aviner was inappropriate (not even accusing him of relations) and the Maariv newspaper ran the story. The newspaper then ran an investigation and retracted the story.

    These are all facts. Whether or not Rav Aviner is guilty or not is something that you or I will never know for sure. And that is what is so sad and frustrating about these cases. On the one hand we want to do everything possible to prevent the victim. On the other hand, sometimes the victim is the one being accused!

    I see no reason why Rav Aviner should be lumped together with this simply because 2 women made accusations against him, without any evidence. In addition, the newspaper that ran the article has repeatedly interviewed Rav Aviner on many subjects in the years since then. In addition, Maariv conducted an investigation and retracted the story.

    Why they mentioned the story (as you have said) in their article, I do not know. But it is not "following blindly" to give a person the benefit of the doubt in the face of absolutely no substantial reason to think otherwise.

  6. B"H

    I agree with you and I hate this covering up by other Rabbis.
    In the case of Rabbi Aviner: I heard that there were even complaints about him long before Maariv ran any story.

    What is so disturbing about the Elon case is that Nathan Sharansky and Mordechai Eliyahu try to protect Rabbi Elon.
    First the press published that it was Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu advising Rabbi Elon to move abroad. This happened four years ago when there was evidence.
    A few days ago, however, Rabbi Eliyahu started to protect Mordechai Elon.

  7. I suggest you read the article, very well written by a former student of Chorev (and Rav Elon), today a known and respected journalist of Haaretz.
    you can find the article of Anshel Pfeffer online. I think it is an excellent article, that sheds some light on the dangers of a charismatic figure without taking away anything from his grandeur

  8. B"H

    Thank you for mentioning the article.

    It once happened to me myself that I got carried away and later on found out, who that particular Rabbi really was.

    Attachment to a Rabbi is a great thing but everyone should be aware that he doesn't just blindly follow any person.

  9. Let's stop defending perverts who use the cloak of religion to perpetrate vile and heinous crimes against the vulnerable. Those with power and money seem to get away with's a disgrace that these actions are simply brushed under the carpet in order to save the careers of these beasts. If the catholic church has the guts to expose the awful crimes against minors, then so should we..