Religious Storm in Israel Following Accusations Against Rabbi

Published: February 17th 2010

Rabbi Mordechai Elon
Pic: WikiMedia Commons


The Orthodox community in Israel is in turmoil following media reports about the supposed sexual activities of Rabbi Mordechai Elon, considered to be one of the most important rabbis in the religious-Zionist movement.


On Tuesday, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published a report containing a complaint about Elon by a young man, 29, who asked for advice from Elon about 10 years ago. The young man, who was called D by the newspaper, said that when he came to consult Elon about issues regarding his sexuality, the rabbi became intimate with him and this continued over several meetings between the two. D said that Rabbi Elon told him that this was necessary in order to "save him" from his sexual urges.


Takana, a forum which works to prevent sexual abuse in the religious-Zionist sector, published a statement Monday in which they said that Elon is suspected of sexual harassment and was suspended from educational and rabbinical activities four years ago, following several complaints they received and which were verified. Israel’s News1 website published the contents of a document released by Takana which outlines some of the allegations against Elon, and which states that a complaint against Elon was one of the first complaints the forum received after it was founded. Later on, while the forum was investigating the first complaint, a second one came in. The forum claimed that Elon was having sexual relations with male students for long periods of time.

Following the Yedioth Ahronoth article on Tuesday, more claims of harassment against Elon have come in, both from young people and their parents. Ynetnews, the newspaper’s online edition, reported on Wednesday that Takana is investigating further claims against Elon, and that Ran Nizri, the attorney general's senior assistant, advised Takana that the complaints filed against Rabbi Elon for sexual harassment must be turned over to the police.


During a gathering Tuesday with his supporters in his home town of Migdal, Rabbi Elon denied the allegations against him and referred to them as blood libels. Ynetnews quoted Elon as saying: "We always knew that the real enemy who may cause Haman to win is jealousy and hate. We won't get swept up in this. I won't attack – we'll build. I refuse to take part in the mudslinging. And I ask everyone to refrain from this."


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