Rabbi Mordechai Elon's friends rush to defend him: Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, a close friend of the rabbi suspected of sexually abusing his students, told Ynet on Sunday that Elon was being backed by Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, considered the most senior Religious Zionism leader.
According to Sharansky, Eliyahu told him about two years ago – after the Takana forum had already ruled that Rabbi Elon was guilty – that the man was "a great righteous" and that there are those trying to damage his reputation.
The Jewish Agency chairman talked about his and his wife Avital's friendly relations with the Elon couple, which include studying Torah together.
In late 2007, Sharansky arrived at Rabbi Eliyahu's home to invite him to his daughter's wedding. He said the rabbi was glad to hear the Rabbi Elon would be conducting the wedding ceremony and implied that the man was being persecuted. "It's your gain that you can continue learning from him," the rabbi had said.
"We didn't know what he was talking about," the Jewish Agency chairman recounted. "We thought there was some war between rabbis we are not aware of… Only now, when the affair was exposed, we understood."
Asked about his feelings following last week's reports, Sharansky said, "We were surprised. We thought everyone likes him. We hear all this in deep pain and astonishment, and we're only waiting for Rabbi Motti to say something and, like he said, for the truth to come out."
As for his relationship with Rabbi Elon, Sharansky stated, "We got a lot from him. You could say that he is my teacher and rabbi as well, in addition to our long friendship."
He added that he and his wife were in touch with the Elon couple in the past few days. "With all the surprise, friendship exists to support people in tough times," he explained. "It's so natural."