The trial of prominent Religious Zionism figure Rabbi Mordechai Elon commenced at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Wednesday with a reading of the indictment.
Elon was indicted last November for indecent acts against two minors. The Jerusalem District Prosecution claims that the rabbi took advantage of his position as an educator and molested two teenagers on various occasions in 2003 and 2005.
Asked by reporters if he was optimistic, a smiling Elon, who appeared to be in good spirits, nodded. The rabbi arrived at the courthouse accompanied by his wife and their two children, as well as by his two sisters.
Overall, the indictment covers five counts of forceful indecent act and abuse of authority.
The indictment alleges that Elon made unwelcome advances at the teenagers, touched them inappropriately and fondled them, all the while claiming it would help their emotional problems.
At the onset of Wednesday's hearing, Elon's attorney, Yaakov Rubin, said that at this point the rabbi is denying the allegations against him. "Rabbi Elon will admit to those facts that do not constitute criminal offenses, and deny (committing) any acts (of a sexual nature) – as detailed in the indictment."
"The rabbi is certain that – god willing – he will be acquitted and all of the allegations against him will be dropped," the attorney added following the hearing.
Rubin said Elon did not agree to a plea bargain.
A day after the indictment was filed Elon told a press conference "I never, heaven forfend, carried out any acts, with sexual intent toward any of my students."
The trial is expected to resume next month.