Jewish Journal

Israeli police looking into alleged sexual abuse by Rabbi Motti

by Brad A. Greenberg

February 21, 2010 | 9:48 am

As I’ve explained before, sexual abuse isn’t just a Catholic clergy thing. It affects all religious communities, including the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, where until recently families had been unwilling to come forward with allegations. Friday police in Israel said they were looking into claims of abuse by one of the country’s most famous rabbis:

Mordechai Elon—known as “Rabbi Motti” by viewers of his popular TV show and by many young men in the West Bank settler movement—has vehemently denied the accusations by a group of fellow rabbis who say their aim is to combat sexual harassment by authority figures.

But that has not stopped a wave of soul-searching, which has some parallels with recent turmoil in the Roman Catholic church.

At issue is the power of charismatic clerics over young people in their care, as well as questions about the extent to which religious communities should regulate their own affairs without involving the Jewish state’s secular authorities.

A Justice Ministry spokesman said the attorney-general had asked police to consider whether there was sufficient evidence to mount a formal criminal investigation, after the organisation Takana alleged Elon had broken a promise made to fellow rabbis some years ago to limit his contacts with young men and youths.

Read the rest here.

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