Hamstrung by cowardly Israeli politicians and furious that Elon will continue to teach at Druckman’s yeshiva, “concerned Israeli parents are turning to the American Friends of Yeshiva Bnei Akiva to protest his continued employment. They are also asking for support in pressuring Or Etzion head Rabbi Haim Druckman to reverse the decision to retain him.”
Rabbi Mordechai Elon
Zionist Orthodox Parents Turn To American Supporters To Stop Convicted Sex Offender From Teaching In Israeli Yeshiva
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Allison Kaplan Sommer has a detailed blog post on the Ha’aretz website about the reaction by some Zionist Orthodox parents to the news that Rabbi Haim Druckman, the most senior Zionist Orthodox rabbi in Israel and the head of the Bnei Akiva yeshiva network, is continuing to allow convicted sex offender Rabbi Mordechai Elon to teach in Or Etzion, the yeshiva Druckman heads, despite the law that forbids him from doing so.
Druckman is an Israel Prize laureate and is very powerful politically, and he has backed Elon – who is himself politically powerful and connected – since news of Elon’s wrongdoing first became public several years ago.
Last week, after Elon received a slap on the wrist no-prison sentence for sexually abusing a teen boy, Druckman criticized the conviction and the sentence, and argued that – despite much evidence corroborating Elon’s predatory behavior – the case was “he said, he said” and therefore, Elon should never have been put on trial let alone convicted.
Furious that Elon will continue to teach at Druckman’s yeshiva, AKS reports that “concerned Israeli parents are turning to the American Friends of Yeshiva Bnei Akiva to protest his continued employment. They are also asking for support in pressuring Or Etzion head Rabbi Haim Druckman to reverse the decision to retain him.”
Beit Shemesh resident Miriam Zussman reportedly sent a letter to Bnei Akiva supporters in the Diaspora about Druckman and Elon and reportedly described Elon in that letter as a “dangerous, habitual sexual predator.”
“[Allowing Elon to continue teaching] reflects very badly on Rabbi Druckman's judgment and calls into question whether he should be entrusted with the welfare of the 24,000 students in the school network…. If you agree and are a donor to YBA or know any of the North American leaders…I would appreciate if you could contact them and explain how dangerous the support of Moti Elon is, and how flawed Rabbi Druckman's judgment has become,” Zussman reportedly wrote.
Zussman, however, is apparently unaware that Druckman's judgement has been this flawed for many years, and that Druckman previously enabled and covered up for another rabbi-pedophile, Rabbi Ze'ev Kopolovich, the rosh yeshiva (dean) of Yeshivat Nativ Meir. Police found out about Kopolovich despite Druckman’s coverup and arrested him. Kopolovich was convicted and was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.
Druckman opponents have now also reportedly created a Facebook page called “Supporters of the Victims of Rabbi Elon.” Its slogan is “Those who deny sexual violence, permit sexual violence” – a lesson Druckman seems incapable of learning.
Among the opponents of Druckman’s enabling of Elon reportedly is a co-chairman of the World Bnei Akiva organization, Daniel Goldman.
“As head of the network, Rav Druckman has a much greater responsibility than someone who runs his own institution. The fact that he is ignoring and denying the outcome of the appointed court of law on this matter, makes a bad statement and sends a bad message with respect to what we say about what goes on within our schools and what should be the level of tolerance of people who have been convicted of sexual offenses - there should be zero tolerance. Whatever personal feelings Rabbi Druckman might have shouldn’t matter,” Goldman reportedly told Haaretz.
But why gather Diaspora criticism of Druckman?
“…Rabbi Druckman seems to be immune to criticism in Israel, I wouldn’t do it under other circumstances - but I think people feel strongly… [Druckman is] not somebody who responds well to criticism [and because of his advanced age and his position of authority] it is quite difficult to apply any sort of sanction [against him within his Israeli organization],” Goldman said.
Bnei Akiva is a member of the Zionist Orthodox Takana Forum, which was formed to deal with cases of clergy abuse and similar sexual crimes and ethics violations.
Takana heard a case against Elon years ago and forced Elon to stop teaching, essentially in exchange for not helping law enforcement criminally prosecute him. But Elon reneged on that agreement almost immediately and Takana fumbled – in part because of Elon’s powerful friends within it.
The Zionist Orthodox website Kipa polled Zionist Orthodox members of Knesset on the Druckman-Elon issue.
Habayit Hayehudi MK Uri Orbach responded that convicted sex offenders “must not be permitted to teach young people” and that “first and foremost, we have to stand behind the victims.”
Minister of Economy and Trade Naftali Bennett told Israel Radio that Elon should not be teaching.
"I think a man convicted of this should not be teaching. Certainly, not for a period of time. That is my position,” Bennett said.
But all of the other members of Knesset polled, including Israel’s Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Piron, reportedly declined to comment – another indication of Druckman’s political power and Elon’s (and Elon’s family’s) political connections.