No charge for sex case Israeli rabbi

Police have recommended that no criminal charges should be brought against one of Israel's leading rabbis, Motti Elon, for homosexual encounters with young men who sought spiritual guidance.

According to the police, all the cases they investigated involved consensual acts with men over 18.

The Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, is expected to accept the police recommendation.

The investigation was launched into Rabbi Elon last month after a forum of senior rabbis and educators, Takana, announced that he had been accused of sexual impropriety.

Rabbi Elon, widely regarded as the national religious camp's figurehead, resigned from his rabbinical positions three years ago and left Jerusalem for the northern village of Migdal. According to Takana, the popular rabbi's departure was due to complaints by young men against the rabbi. Since none of them had been willing to go to the police, Takana agreed with him that he was to refrain from giving spiritual guidance in closed sessions.

The decision to publicise the affair was taken following new complaints received by the forum, which indicated that Rabbi Elon was not sticking to the agreement. Investigators, however, found no grounds for criminal action, as all the men they interviewed had been over the age of consent and had agreed to the relationships. They were seeking spiritual guidance from Rabbi Elon, but using a rabbinical position for sexual favours is not illegal.

Sources on the Takana Forum said this week that not all the complaints against the rabbi were investigated due to the reluctance of some of the young men to go to the police and the time that elapsed since the alleged events.

Rabbi Elon has denied all the charges against him but refused to go into any detail over his dealings with the forum.

    Last updated: 2:23pm, March 25 2010