The Zionist Orthodox rabbi, who was both a rosh yeshiva (yeshiva dean) and a state-employed community rabbi, has been accused by members of his community of exploiting and having sex with married women in what would be called in many jurisdictions in the Western World be called clergy abuse – a criminal offense.
Rabbi Prevented From Leaving Israel After Married Women Complain He Coerced Them Into Having Sex
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Israel Police arrested a Zionist Orthodox rabbi from Northen Israel as he was attempting to flee the country, Army Radio reported today.
The rabbi, who was both a rosh yeshiva (yeshiva dean) and a state-employed community rabbi, has been accused by members of his community of exploiting and having sex with married women in what would be called in many jurisdictions in the Western World be called clergy abuse.
While it is still unclear if this is actual criminal behavior in Israel, after a second criminal complaint was filed with police against him, police decided to prevent the rabbi from leaving the country until an investigation can be completed and have now reportedly asked a court to extend the rabbi’s remand.
Meanwhile, a beit din led by the Chief Rabbi of Sefat Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu previously heard complaints by a community leader and by a rosh yeshiva who complained the rabbi had sex with women there who came to him for advice. The beit din consulted with unnamed professionals and then asked the rabbi to suspend himself from his all of his duties and banned him from having any contact with the public or with students and people, and exiled him to another city.
The rabbi denies all the allegations against him.
He reportedly claims to be ill and says he recently underwent a catheterization of his heart and has been on complete rest since then due to extreme weakness from medical treatment.
The statement issued for him says that is why the rabbi has not spoken publicly about his legal situation, but claimed he would do so once he feel better.
However, as Arutz Sheva noted, it remains unclear how his attempt to leave Israel jibes with his claim of extreme weakness and with his promise to publicly give his version of events soon.
[Hat Tip: Joel Katz.]
Update 1:35 am CDT 7-3-2015 – Ha'aretz fleshes out the story a bit:
…The story began earlier this week after three leading rabbis decided to expel the suspect from the city where he runs several religious institutions, after they received information regarding alleged sexual crimes he committed. At that stage, the police had not received any complaints against the rabbi. Thursday, in the wake of reports of his expulsion, a woman filed a police complaint for sexual harassment ostensibly committed 13 years ago. The complaint is being investigated, including whether the statute of limitations applies.
Then, at about midnight, another woman filed a complaint for rape that allegedly took place a few years ago. A source involved in the story claimed Thursday that more complaints are expected. A spokesman for the Northern District of Israel Police declined to give details.
S., 38, a resident of the north, was the first woman who went to the police. “The thought of going to the police arose after I saw that nobody had complained,” she told Haaretz. “I said that I can’t let him get away.” S. was allegedly assaulted when she was 25 years old and she met the rabbi to ask for a blessing.
She says that a few hours after the meeting he contacted her and said that “the gates of heaven have opened” and that he had to meet with her immediately. “I was stupid. There were a lot of warning signals,” she said. She says she met with the rabbi in the Biriya Forest in the Upper Galilee and he gave her “holy water” to drink.
She said the rabbi asked her to spread holy water all over her body. “Suddenly I found myself naked. I was scared. I was in the forest alone. I felt that he had bewitched me.” S. said that when she awoke, after she made him stop, he started to threaten her.
S. says she is telling her story so other women aren’t afraid to complain. “People don’t talk about it. Nobody believed it. It’s a leading rabbi. There’s a conflict as to what to do. It’s a rabbi who pretended to be God. It’s frightening.” She believes that dozens of other women experienced what she did.…