Thursday, February 18, 2010

Avrum Burg and A7 slam Takana

Who would have thought that Avrum Burg and Arutz Sheva would be on the same side of any issue?

Apparently, they're in agreement when it comes to TAKANA, and it's publiciation of public warnings against R' Motti Elon.

Avrum Burg writes in YNET:

My inner feeling is that Rabbi Elon is a positive man, and that whatever happened or did not happen between him and that other person, we should be listening to Elon’s explanations and in my view giving him the benefit of the doubt unless proven otherwise.

The Elon story implies that the state of Judea is not merely a vision simmering on the radical and Messianic margins of the settlers; rather, it is found at the very heart of the religious Zionist consensus and functions as a cultural and normative autonomy in every respect.

And Arutz Sheva writes:

The Takanah Forum’s abrupt announcement was greeted in the religious-Zionist public with a large measure of criticism. Charges were raised that the rabbis should have found another way to deal with the unproven suspicions against Rabbi Elon other than by “ruining his life” and “causing a desecration of G-d’s Name.” The theoretical fear that students might be harmed by him, despite the many thousands of students he counseled constructively over the years without incident and who continue to love and venerate him, was said to be outweighed by the clearly predictable negative results that in fact occurred as a result of the publication.

While Lurker may be upset that TAKANA didn't publicize their findings immediately, his criticism has nothing to do with the existance of the Forum.

My personal opinion is that TAKANA is extremely important, and I find it disturbing that Arutz Sheva is mirroring the same criticism from Avrum Burg. They seem to believe that R' Elon is the victim and not those who were really victimized.



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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't tend to read the details of these stories but I had a question.

If Rabbi Elon was "unusually harsh" with some students. Or if he said mean and insulting things to them, such as "your parents don't care about you." or "we will ruin you if you go against me." (just randomly made up mean not appropriate things to say to people)

And Takana found this to be bad behavior for an educator, and thought he was doing more damage then good with such actions, would the action of Takana make sense?
Isn't that a form of harrasment which is bad and terrible, but no where near anything like molestation?

Or are the victims here really claiming molestation?

Anonymous said...

The same thing happened in America. There were big Rabbis and public officials who came out against the victims because they went public.

One Rabbi, who was on the side of the victims and wanted to help formulate a "procedure" by which the frum male educational system could be shaped to deal with "the Problem", was vilified, threatened, and forced to retreat from the issue. Others were attacked in the street.

I haven't heard anything recently about what the politician was able to accomplish to put an end to the abuse suffered by children and young boys.

Unfortunately, the impulse for this type of abuse might be something historically ingrained in the educational system, and the lifestyle. I hate to say that, but it could be the downside to extreme separation. If a BIG rabbi can make a judgment that
"as long as there is no penetration" blah, blah, blah.
It was such a repulsive response, and so many parents are having to deal with protecting their children. Many perpetrators are allowed, by the same Rabbis, to live among the community, thinking whatever they are thinking about 'these perps changing their ways'. But learned professionals testify that it is rare if not impossible to repair these guys. Also, those abused often become abusers.
I have no sympathy for them.

chanie said...

what arutz sheva seems to be saying is that he has counseled and taught so many and been ok with them, so we can overlook a few cases of harm.
disturbing.

Anonymous said...

In fact, the problem is elsewhere, it's not just "protecting rav Elon".
This rabbi did great things, helped a great number (thousands !!!) of young people with hard problem or to make tshuva, and his shiourim were really good and popular.
So the biggest problem with this story is the risk that hundreds of young people will fell because of their leader's fall.
He helped a lot of people overcoming their own yetzer hara, and now he has fallen himself, those might well abandon...

And still, we don't know what was really done, if this is really a deep probelm or a few misplaced words and actions...

And there is too the fact that it is going to divide the dati-leumi world...

westbankmama said...

Jameel - if you read today's Makor Rishon you will see a good interview of Yehudit Shilat of Takana. One of the good points she makes is that it took the members of Takana a while to "accept" the truth of the allegations, and they heard Rav Elon confess to them! She says that after the first shock it becomes clear that these things did occur, and the rest of the Dati Leumi public will come to accept them also. Arutz 7 is just one example of this - now whoever wrote this is in denial - pretty soon they will change their minds.

Anonymous said...

There are many reasons why we should not be giving Rav Motti the benefit of the doubt here, mostly:

1) Takana is comprised of a diverse group of very prominent and respected public figures. If it was one or two people's word against his, maybe there would be some question, but this is a large group of very respected figures. It's inconceivable that they could all be wrong about this.

2) This process has taken years. This was not a rash, impulsive decision on the part of Takana to go public with questionable info. This decision was the result of many years of studying and discussing the case. They did not go public until there was no more any shadow of a doubt.

3) I hate to say it, but he fits the profile. A charisthmatic, magnetic educator who knows how to dazzle, enchant his students and make them feel like their part of something special when they're around him. Anyone who was in NJ NCSY in the 1980's can immediately make the comparison.

4) This is the only logical explanation for Rav Motti's mysterious disappearance from the scene several years back. His claim, that he sacrificed his entire life to avoid baseless accusations, is utterly absurd.

I was always a big fan of Rav Elon's shiurim, and when I was in chinuch I used his material in my classes quite a bit. But the intellect has to win over emotion, and we have no choice but to accept the harsh reality, as much as it hurts.

I am also very disturbed by Rav Druckman's statement that even if the allegations are true, Rav Elon has done teshuva. Anyone who's been following the cases of pedophilia over the last decade knows of the high recidivism rate, and that the only solution is to keep pedophiles away from kids. Even if Rav Motti "did teshuva," he has to be kept away from youths. And it was because he refused to do this that Takana had no choice but to go public.

jonathan becker said...

re: keeping r.elon away from "youths"- i haven't seen anything about the age of the victims. if they were over 18, it's still an abuse of power issue, but there's a difference between homosexual activity and child molestation that i think people are ignoring.

the whole thing is so sad, r. moti seemed like such a gentle tzaddik, straight and moral and well-spoken (unlike, say, l. tropper) that i'm looking for any way, any form of rationalization, to cut him a little slack. i see a lot of people doing this, and i understand it.

in the end i'm afraid it isn't going to help. this is a done deal, unfortunately (as per anon's last comment).

Jameel said...

Arutz Sheva's "Bisheva" headline this past Friday was a picture of the Takana forum under the full sized headline "אפשר לתקן" -- implying that its the "Takana forum" that needs to fix their ways, and not R' Motti Elon.

They are seriously deluding themselves.

Anonymous said...

Can you believe we hear the following from Tiger Woods, but never once from any of the various Rabbanim?

"I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did.

What I did was not acceptable."

--Tiger Woods, Feb 20, 2010]

Instead we hear about all the good they have done, yet zero accountability.

D.C. said...

I heard the editor of BeSheva interviewed on Reshet Bet yesterday, and he explained that the headline was meant to be a double entendre -- a reference to the name of the Takana forum, and also a suggestion that R' Elon has the possibility of fixing his ways. I see no reason to interpret the headline otherwise.

Regarding the linked article, A7 is simply reporting on the reaction by a significant segment of the religious-Zionist public, just as they devoted even more space earlier in the article to quoting the position of Takana (in their own words). While I personally believe that Takana acted appropriately, I would say that this report on the reaction of many people is accurate.

For the record, I frequently disagree with the editorial line of Arutz Sheva, but in this particular case, I don't believe that Jameel's criticism is warranted.

Anonymous said...

DC: Yes, the BiSheva headline COULD be meant as a highly intelligent double entendre.

Too bad they didn't put a picture of R' Motti Elon beneath it -- only that of the Takana forum.

Print media is exactly that. When you associate a large photo of the Takana forum with such a "clever" headline, yet don't put a photo of R' Motti Elon along side it -- the meaning is clear, regardless of how clever they think they are (or want to try to convince us on Reshet Bet).

Yediot Achronot's headline was far more appropriate. It was a photo of R' Motti Elon with the text "Parashat HaShavua."

Anonymous said...

Forget the Besheva headline. If you read the articles, you'll see that their writers all came out squarely on the side of Takana, leaving absolutely no room for questions.
I for one did not take the headline as an attack against Takana, but rather to mean that Takana is helping our tzibur be metaken this problem. And I certainly agree.

chinat said...

http://jewishfist.blogspot.com/2010/02/motti-elon-human-predator.html

josh said...

I agree. A7 in Hebrew has mostly come out supporting Takana, but also doing its utmost to save face for Rav Elon.

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