Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Moti Alon Revisited... Unfortunately

ח' לחודש השנים עשר תשע״ט

I don't like citing Arutz 7, not in the least. Not thrilled about giving this individual the free publicity either. But, this op-ed needed a response.
Arutz 7 Op-Ed: Mario Lemieux and Bnei Akiva
Rav Chaim Drukman is under attack for helping out Rav Moti Alon. We can learn a lot from Mario Lemieux. 
Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch, 16/01/19 
It happens that Rav Chaim Drukman is under attack for helping out Rav Moti Alon. To put it mildly, I am incensed to read the attacks against Rav (Rabbi) Drukman by two fellow Jews and Bnei Akiva members, and by something called the Freidberg Foundation. To explain this, though, requires the following background information:

תלמיד חכם שסרח אין מבזין אותו- "a Torah scholar who sins is not to be shamed publicly", says Reish Lakish ( Talmud, Menachot, 99b)- " because, say the Rabbis of the Yeshivah of Rabbi Yishmael, he is sure to do Teshuvah (recreate himself via repentance- Berachot 19a). One would think this also is true of a Talmud chacham (scholar) who didn't sin, but did the right thing - he is not to be shamed. However, let's see: 
Only one figure took pity on this תלמיד חכם שסרח- Torah scholar who went wrong. Rav Chaim Drukman realized that for a Rabbi who had spent his whole life teaching, and on such a scale, to suddenly be forced to give it all up - this would destroy him. So Rav Drukman gave Rav Alon space in Ohr Etzion Yeshivah in order to give shiurim (classes).  
Rav Drukman, however, is not naïve. A longtime MK and Minister, head of the network of Bnei Akiva Yeshivot and Ulpanot, head of the government's Conversion Commission for more than a decade, Rav Drukman has a wealth of practical experience in the human sphere to accompany his scholarship and position as Rosh Yeshivah. Thus Rav Drukman put conditions on his help to Rav Alon - the primary one being, that none of the students at Ohr Etzion's two high schools were allowed to attend the shiurim (classes) given by Rav Alon. To the extent of the community of Ramat Shapira, home to Ohr Etzion, Rav Alon was supervised. 
Of course, Rav Alon had his own Yeshiva elsewhere. Rav Drukman is not the Shabak, and he's not the KGB; and unfortunately it was there that Rav Alon fell back into his old sin of sexual offense against a male student. This time, as soon as this behavior became known, Rav Drukman and others put an end to all of Rav Alon's public teaching. 
However, this appears not to be enough for several holier–than-thous in the Religious Zionist camp. One, who gives major sums to Bnei Akiva but doesn't have the courage to even say who he is, has said that he "is dismayed at (Rav) Drukman's refusal to publicly condemn (Rav) Alon"(Jerusalem Post, Friday, Jan. 11). So much for Resh Lakish's prohibition AGAINST public condemnation; given this Talmudic dictum, Mr. Anonymous won't be getting any condemnations of Rav Alon from Rav Drukman. Another, a former Bnei Akiva World Chairman, is "boycotting the upcoming world Bnei Akiva conference until he [Rav Drukman] is prepared to accept responsibility for his decision to help Rav Alon and for damages to the victims".

Rav Drukman not accepting responsibility? Who does he think he is, speaking thus to a Rav who has accepted public responsibility for the last 50 years? Rav Drukman did everything possible to police Rav Alon's activities while in Rav Drukman's jurisdiction, and pinning blame on Rav Drukman for the recent offenses is, simply, self-righteous defamation of the Rav. (cont.)
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Sexual predators can be treated successfully. 100% of them? No idea, but probably not, even with all of the time and money necessary for proper treatment. And, in my professional opinion, the chances of successful treatment are higher if the perpetrator of such crimes actually wants help.

Besides psychotherapy, there is Sexaholics Anonymous [SA]. No. I am not promoting any particular program, nor 12-Step programs. I am simply mentioning that they are out there, and an option.

Of course, I would NEVER DREAM of calling Moti Alon a sexual predator. I am simply using this group of individuals as an example, to drive the point home.

I'm very much for "innocent until proven guilty" approach, and I do not believe that accusers should be automatically believed. I hope I do not have to tell you about all of the men who have lost their jobs, their, families, custody of their children, not to mention their reputations, due to false accusations. Such damage simply cannot be undone.

But the evidence we have heard against Moti Alon is compelling, and a beth din of Alon's mamlakhti (diehard State loyalist) peers previously ruled against him, and, for better or worse, tried to keep the incidents quiet. In my opinion, this was chance enough for Moti Alon. And so, I find this all quite disturbing.

Rabbi Chaim Druckman
But the purpose of this post is not to talk about Alon. Rather it is to respond to an op-ed. I, myself, have already written enough about Rav Druckman's involvement with Moti Alon in תשע"ג-תשע"ד/2013:

Rabbi Druckman Throws Students to the Dogs
Rabbi Druckman Makes a Terrible Situation Much Worse

First off, I will concede that  Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch may very well be correct regarding public rebuke. Maybe. A similar argument was made against attacking Shlomo Aviner publicly above and beyond the order of the Beth Din of Rabbi Mordekhai Eliyahu ztz"l (Rabbi Ya'acov Yosef ztz"l, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Zalman Nehemiyah Goldberg, Rabbi Avraham Elqanah Kahane Shapira ztz"l) to publicize its ruling that Aviner should refrain from ruling on issues of family purity. To this day, followers of Shlomo Aviner claim that the motivation to "go after him," was political.

Moti Alon cannot make this same claim.

Since I'm no fan of Rav Druckman's conversion programs anyway...
(I was on Rav Sherman's side the entire time of the conflict and I still think he was right. Every time I heard public debate on this issue, it was Rav Sherman's side providing halakhic support for his position, while Rav Druckman's surrogates engaged in name calling.

It is ridiculous that a secular court intervened. It is an embarrassment that we accepted its intervention in an halakhic matter. And it is a complete disappoint, to say the least that Rav Druckman participated in such a proceeding when most of those sitting in judgment are disqualified from sitting on a beth din.)
...the mention of Rav Druckman's conversion programs do not impress me in the least, and actually have the opposite effect on me. I would have said to boycott the world Bnei Akiva conference anyway.

Hirsch also lists Rav Drukman's various other accomplishments. He should not have bothered listing his positions in the government. Also not impressed. Rav Druckman was a member of the National Religious Party [NRP], reincarnated as The Jewish Home Party, and now transforming into who knows what. The National "Religious" Party asked Rav Mordechai Eliyahu ztz"l whether it could put women on the party list of candidates. Rav Eliyahu said "no." The NRP did it anyway, stating that it had "other rabbis," albeit as Rav Druckman was completing his tenure as a member of Knesset [MK]. Couldn't the NRP just shop around for rabbinical opinions -- not that this strategy is acceptable -- instead of embarrassing itself?

Moti Alon
Rabbi Dr. Hirsch author should also ask his fellow students at Merkaz HaRav Kook why they founded the Ariel youth group. (Hint: because they didn't want their kids going to Bnei Akiva.) מי שמבין יבין

Wait a minute! Even Bnei Akiva members are complaining about Rav Druckman! Perhaps I misjudged them. Perhaps they are waking up. Unfortunately, it has taken incidents of alleged sexual abuse to do it.

I am very disappointed to see this opinion coming out of Merkaz HaRav via one of its recent musmachim, not the opinion itself, but the reasoning used to support it.

Merkav HaRav Kook, in my opinion, truly the flagship yeshiva of [authentic] Religious Zionism, having been in the forefront of the fight against the expulsion from Azza, and whose late Rosh Yeshiva Rav Avraham Shapira ztz"l was in the forefront in the battle against the masses' confusion over the differences between Torah Law and Israeli law and which of these takes precedence.  

(Hint: There is not just one "Religious Zionist" camp. There are at least two: The camp which holds that חוקי התורה קודמין לחוקי האדם, and the camp which is misguided and confused about this.)

But, hey. Rabbis Menachem Froman and Shai Piron also learned at Merkaz HaRav Kook, so unfortunately, we shouldn't be surprised.

Regardless of the degree of Rav Druckman's responsibility for Moti Alon's destruction of the lives of several Jewish men, at the very least, he should make a public commitment to refrain from employing the same strategy over again, expecting different results when it comes to intervening with "alleged" perpetrators of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

Has Rav Druckman already done this? If I've missed, then by all means, please post it in the comments below.


Omer"s blog said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous:
I just read your article attacking my idea that Jews are a family, and members of a family help one another. I see nothing in your irrelevant arguments that is cogent to the fact that Rav Drukman helped Rav Mati Alon after he was convicted and received a rather mild punishment from a legal system that is usually of the philosophy "hang him". Your blather about the merits of Bnei Akiva vs. Ariel, your irrelevant and ignorant arguments against Rav Drukman's Giyur program, and your arrogant dismissal of Rav Drukman's 65 years of service to Am Yisrael show a narrow mind and a mean-spirit---all of which typifies your Otzmah rabble. Nobody had mercy of your idol, Rav Kahana, a great Jew, because his followers are negative people who have no mercy on anyone else. And thus you will remain: marginalized and out of it. Dr. Rabi Aryeh Hirsch

Esser Agaroth said...

Aryeh, thank you for leaving your comment.

Jews are family, and we should help each other, and that includes tough love, and for the sake of the entirety of Am Yisrael.

Regarding Rabbi Meir Kahane hy"d, what "mercy" are you talking about? He taught to differentiate between Torah and Israeli Law. Anyone unaware of this, could not possibly be a true follower of his. His "crimes" were quoting pesuqim and halakha in Knesseth, and demonstrating quite clearly when Israeli Law contradicted halakha, while the mamlakhtim (ie. NRP) got upset and called him names such as extremist. (How dare he believe that the Torah touches ALL aspects of life, and not just Shabbos and kashrus shailos.) As you may recall, Judge Elyokim Elon (Moti's father) even suggested that he and Rav Kahane hy"d did not follow the same Torah,...whatever that was supposed to mean. Perhaps you have some insight into this.

Marginalized and out of it? If this means that those Jews who are aware of the differences between Torah and Israeli Law, then I will be quite happy to be,... "out of it." It, I assume you must mean, the galuth mentality.

Regarding the specifics of the conversion argument, you will have to ask Rav Sherman's people.

The idea that a court filled with judges, most of whom pesulim, to sit on a Beth Din, can make a decision regarding halakhic matters, such as conversion and kashruth AND the religious actually accepts such a thing speaks to the great deal of spiritual work we need to do to remove our minds from galuth, albeit our physical bodies are already here in Eretz Yisrael.

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