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August 21, 2013

Liberal Modern Orthodox Rabbi Rips Into Leading Zionist Orthodox Rabbi Over Enabling Of Child Sex Abuse

Rabbi Michael Melchior"…[W]hat more needs to happen before Religious Zionism, Bnei Akiva Yeshivas and Yeshivot Hesder will no longer consider [Rabbi Haim Druckman] suitable to lead them. Is it possible to enter the month of mercy and forgiveness, and the Days of Awe and claim to The Almighty that we have done all that we must do in order to set an example for, and to protect our children?”

Rabbi Michael Melchior
Rabbi Michael Melchior

Originally published at 10:18 pm CDT 8-20-2013

Liberal Modern Orthodox Rabbi Rips Into Leading Zionist Orthodox Rabbi Over Enabling Of Child Sex Abuse
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Writing on his Facebook page, former MK and cabinet minister Rabbi Michael Melchior ripped into Rabbi Haim Druckman, a former member of Knesset who heads Israel’s state conversion authority and the Bnei Akiva system of yeshivas, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Druckman is both an enabler of and an apologist for Rabbi Mordechai Elon, who was convicted almost two weeks ago of sexually abusing a minor who was his student.

Druckman previously viciously attacked Elon’s victims and publicly endorsed Elon. Despite that behavior, Druckman was awarded the Israel Prize. Melchior was the lone Zionist Orthodox/Modern Orthodox rabbi of note who publicly refused to congratulate him.

Then after Elon was convicted almost two weeks ago, Druckman invited Elon to continue to teach a weekly class at Druckman’s yeshiva despite that conviction.

Melchior, who is also the former chief rabbi of Norway and an alumnus of the Zionist Orthodox flagship Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem, wrote that he was “not at all surprised” by Druckman’s invite to Elon, adding “what more needs to happen before Religious Zionism, Bnei Akiva Yeshivas and Yeshivot Hesder will no longer consider this person suitable to lead them. Is it possible to enter the month of mercy and forgiveness, and the Days of Awe and claim to The Almighty that we have done all that we must do in order to set an example for, and to protect our children?”

Elon was convicted on two counts of indecent assault by force against a minor and could serve up to seven years in prison. He was once the one of the most prominent rabbis in Zionist Orthodoxy, serving as Yeshivat HaKotel’s rosh yeshiva (dean).

Elon’s family is extremely powerful and politically connected. His late father was a former justice on Israel’s High Court of Justice and other family members hold important positions politically and religiously in Israel.

No senior Zionist Orthodox rabbis – except for Melchior, who is an outlier – have publicly criticized Druckman for his latest actions.

Melchior’s remarks in full:

Some time ago I received a call from someone asking me to add my name to a long list of prominent people in congratulating Rabbi Haim Drukman for receiving the Israel Prize, and I refused. Rabbi Drukman – Head of Bnei Akiva yeshivot and institutions, who for a long time has been considered the undisputed leader of religious Zionism – receives the Israel Prize, and I refuse to contribute my support!

Several people called me to clarify that the list would include representation from across the religious Zionist spectrum, including many leading names in Israeli society, and I was the only person who refused to sign.

I explained that despite good deeds to Rabbi Drukman's credit and his extensive educational achievements, I could not join hands in any way whatsoever with this person who time after time covers for, protects, and constantly defends someone who harms our youth. I believe that anyone with an ounce of morality within him – whether it is a public personality, educator or common citizen- has the obligation to protect the victims of harrasment. This is especially true for a man who stands at the head of an educational empire which is meant to teach the values of our Torah.

I was therefore not at all surprised to read that Rabbi Drukman continues to invite Rabbi Moti Elon, , to teach young men in his yeshiva in Or Etzion, even after his conviction in court, and the important and thorough work done by the Takana Forum. (The Takana Forum is a vitally important group that is made up of prominent personalities with the objective of fighting sexual abuse in the National Religious sector in Israel).

I wonder, what more needs to happen before Religious Zionism, Bnei Akiva Yeshivas and Yeshivot Hesder will no longer consider this person suitable to lead them. Is it possible to enter the month of mercy and forgiveness, and the Days of Awe and claim to The Almighty that we have done all that we must do in order to set an example for, and to protect our children?

Is it not said that in a place where God's name is being desecrated, we do not give respect to Rabbis? In this instance, when a Rabbi is an icon, I ask what could be a bigger desecration of God’s name than to pay tribute to a man that has turned a blind-eye to harm done to innocent children?

 

Comments

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A Rabbi with balls. What a pleasant novelty in this day and age. Kol HaKavod.

Malchior is too extreme to be taken seriously by anybody outside the extreme left wing.

Last year he claimed that extremist Islamic leaders including the leaders of Hamas are ready for peaceful co-existence with Israel, and he added that he has "yet to meet with somebody who is not willing to make peace" with the Jewish state of Israel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Melchior#cite_note-5

That does not mean he is wrong it means that he need to go out more often.

That does not mean he is wrong it means that he need to go out more often.
Posted by: James Deen | August 21, 2013 at 03:45 AM

How many of these Islamic leaders have you met personally?

A Rabbi with balls. What a pleasant novelty in this day and age. Kol HaKavod.

Amen!

There's Israeli law and then there's Haredi practice which trumps all.

Whether this rabbi sees Hamas thru rose colored glasses or not doesn't in the least detract from the rightness of his rejection of the request that he effectively endorse Druckman, a man who sees nothing wrong with having an abuser teaching under his aegis, in his institution. When he's right he's right even if he's naive as to geopolitical realities.

Norman
Yes

Melchior is a nobody in Israeli politics and Israeli Rabbinics.

Maybe rabbi Druckman should be given a award for finding a outlet and a method to let a failed man continue to work in a guarded and safe way for children.

No matter how much Shmarya would publish he wouldn't have 1/20 on the back story of R Druckmans work for the Jewish people over the last 50 years.

Jake,

Would you want your children being taught religious values by a convicted sex offender?

Award the employer for hiring a convicted sex offender in his school?

Odd.

Pard | August 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM

the man u are talking to, is a rabid fool.
R' Melchior was the chief Rabbi of Norway, the head of Yeshivat Har Etzion THE top MO yeshiva in Israel, and an Israeli government minister.
who does your foolish interlocutor thinks he is?

"R' Melchior was .... the head of Yeshivat Har Etzion THE top MO yeshiva in Israel....."


You are mixing him up with rabbi Yehuda Amital who was the rosh yeshiva of Har Etzion and a fellow Meimad party member.

James Deen | August 21, 2013 at 01:07 PM

I googled & can't find a ref except -not convincing- ref of R' Melchior being the alter ego of R' Amital at YHE.
More convincing as far as I am concerned is a friend of mine, a YHE alumni some 15 years ago, who told me that while he considered r' Melchior as his Mori verabbi, he differed completely with him in political matters.

oops Square sorry

James Deen | August 21, 2013 at 01:07 PM

I googled & can't find a ref except -not convincing- ref of R' Melchior being the alter ego of R' Amital at M E I M A D.
More convincing as far as I am concerned is a friend of mine, a YHE alumni some 15 years ago, who told me that while he considered r' Melchior as his Mori verabbi, he differed completely with him in political matters.

Well done, Rabbi Melchior. Drukman is unfit to lead a chain gang. He has brought the entire Zionist-Religious movement into profound disrepute by his unabashed support for a repeat pedophile.

The two Roshei yeshiva of Gush were R Lichtenstein and r. Amital.
Lots of rabbis gives give shiurim in yeshivot. Not everyone is the Rosh yeshiva, many can be Roshei Yeshiva.

This is a religious Zionist yeshiva not a modern orthodox yehsiVa.
Peope go there serve in the army and a time time while studying there.

since the victims have successfully proven that they have suffered physical abuse from motti elon, it might be possible to file a legal suit against drukman and his buddies for additional emotional distress suffered as a result of his high profile support for their tormentor. they could also try to establish legally, that drukman knew of eilon's habits whilst wilfully ignoring the abuse, like he did when complaints against kopelowitz were brought to him in the years that boys at netiv meir high school were being buggered by their most charismatic teacher. it probably wont work, but in israel, the only effective method to get public officials to assume responsibility for their words and actions is by dragging them into a court of law and getting them to reach into their own pockets to pay legal expenses.

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