Outcry Against Rabbi Chaim Druckman Employing Rabbi Motty Elon
There is growing public outrage about Rabbi Chasim Druckman's decision to continue employing convicted child sex offender Rav Motti Elon as a teacher in Yeshivat Ohr Etzion.
The major media outlets in Israel are reporting the story, including articles in Maariv (pictured above) and Haaretz, as well as reports on Israel TV and radio.
A protest Facebook page has been established called "Supporters of Victims of Rav Elon".
Rabbi Chaim Druckman is a winner of the Israel Prize, for his lifetime's achievements, is the spiritual head of The Bnei Akiva Youth Movement, and head of the Ohr Etzion Yeshiva. The rabbi is held in esteem in the National Religious world, as well as in the wider Israeli society.
Rabbi Motty Elon was the disgraced head of Yeshivat Hakotel, and in his hey-day was a renowned religious leader, with his own TV show and his weekly lectures were broadcast live on national radio. Amid intense media interest, Rav Elon was convicted in August 2013 on two charges of indecent acts with force against a minor, and was subsequently sentenced this month to 6 months community service, and a suspended 15 months prison sentence.
Rav Elon has denied any culpability, declaring himself to be the victim of a set-up, and derisively welcomed the community service order "I am pleased to be asked to do community service - I have been doing community service faithfully for three decades."
Rav Druckman has stated that he believes Rav Elon to be "entirely innocent" of any wrongdoing and therefore plans to continue employing him to teach teenage boys in Yeshivat Ohr Etzion.
Ori Orbach of the National Religious Jewish Home Party has publicly condemned Rav Drutman's decision.
MK Rabbi Dov Lipman has issued a statement in connection to the Rabbi Druckman decision, saying "once an educator has been convicted of illegal sexual contact with a student they should not be allowed to continue teaching.
Lipman explained that "This is important first and foremost to protect students, but also as a value in terms of what kind of society we seek to create in Israel."
Meanwhile, Rav Druckman faces stiff criticism from within the Bnei Akiva Movement. World Bnei Akiva co-chairman, Daniel Goldman, said that "Our supreme responsibility as lay leaders is to do the utmost to secure the welfare of those under our responsibility.
"I personally believe that the threshold of acceptable behaviour for a Rabbi or teacher is somewhat higher than that of a court of law, but a high profile Rabbi following a conviction of this type should not be teaching in a school or Yeshiva."
The Child Protection organization "Magen" published a statement saying "Magen deplores the decision of Rabbi Chaim Druckman to employ Rav Motti Elon, a recently convicted child sex offender, to teach boys in Ohr Etzion Yeshiva.
"By so doing, Rabbi Druckman may be placing the students at risk. No less dangerous is the message this gives to the public at large, and to the students in his yeshiva: That the Israeli criminal justice system is worthless - as apparently Rabbi Druckman knows better; and that children who are abused should not divulge this, as they will not be believed."
Rabbi Druckman has been criticized in the past for his role at Netiv Meir school in the 1990's. Rabbi Druckman was apparently aware of allegations that the school headmaster, Rabbi Zeev Kopolovich, had molested boys at the school, and yet Rabbi Druckman failed to alert the authorities. Rabbi Kopolovich was subsequently reported to the police by parents, and sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for sexually assaulting minors.
In light of the Netiv Meir scandal, National Religious leaders established The Takana Forum, to receive and investigate complaints of rabbinical abuse. It was Takana who received initial complaints about Rav Elon, which eventually led to his conviction.