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Rabbi faces assault charges

    One of Israel's best-known rabbis is to stand trial on indecent assault charges.
    Mordechai Elon comes from one of the most respected religious-Zionist families in Israel. His father, Menachem, is a former Supreme Court justice and his brother, Benny, is a former Knesset member. Rabbi Elon is a charismatic religious leader who has thousands of disciples.

    He has been indicted on two counts of indecent assault against minors. He allegedly assaulted a 17-year-old male student who was coping with a death in his family and who looked up to Rabbi Elon. And he allegedly assaulted another 17-year-old who went to him for advice. According to the indictment, the incidents took place in 2003 and 2005 respectively.

    Rabbi Elon maintains his innocence, and said that the charges are "based on gossip and slander".

    Jerusalem-based novelist Naomi Ragen, a keen observer of Israeli Orthodoxy, said: "It is a bright sign that there is more willingness in the community to investigate abuse and that there are no sacred cows."

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