.הרב נפתלי מקלב מישיבת “באר התורה” בירושלים נאשם באונס אחייניותיו. צא”פ הוטל על זהותו
Another day, another gag–broken. This time, the accused is a prominent Israeli ultra-Orthodox Rabbi, Naftali Maklev, accused of raping three nieces, “hundreds of times” over the course of “many years.” One of the victims was 6 years-old when the alleged crimes began. This is according to a report published by Mako, the online news site of TV Channel 2. He is a well-known figure in the Haredi community, a rabbi at the Be’er HaTorah yeshiva. He serves, in what can only be seen as a dark irony, as a spiritual counselor at the school..
Maklev’s name is under the proverbial Israeli gag order, which prevents the Israeli public from knowing the identity of the accused and weighing the gravity and credibility of the charges against him. Pro-Israel commenters on last night’s post which brought news of a prominent judge accused of sexually abusing his daughter, claimed inexplicably that such gag order actually protected the privacy of the child. I find this argument not only utter nonsense, but a shameful breach of our obligation to the victims to ensure neither they nor others suffer such things again.
One of the methods he used to persuade his victims to permit his behavior were false halachic rulings which he invented to justify himself. He told his victims that not only were the sex acts not prohibited, but rather they were mitzvot (or acts approved by God). He further claimed the sex was a form of healing for various ailments which afflicted him and that not only his health, but his life were dependent on them.
This line of thinking is also common to another more prominent accused Israeli sexual predator, Daniel Taub, candidate for a plum foreign ministry assignment. He told investigators that the late night male visitors to his ambassadorial residence in London were “new age healers” meant to help him with various conditions from which he “suffered.”
Maklev allegedly gave the victim several hundred shekels each time he raped her. The money was meant to ease the family precarious financial condition. He reminded her regularly of the financial obligations of her father which he covered, in order to increase her dependence on, and servility to him. Maklev’s behavior continued even after the victim was married and became a mother.
The accused also raped this victim’s sister after the latter became married. He told the second victim that he intended to offer her correct “guidance” in sexual matters and that he did this with the approval of her husband. He told her that she suffered from a case of “nerves” and that his sexual “therapy” was designed to soothe her and improve her family relations. When she told him that she preferred a treatment that involved medication, he warned her she could become addicted, and that their contact was permissible since it happened “within the family.”
The charge sheet also accuses Maklev of exploiting his respected position in the community and his status as a Torah scholar to inveigle himself into the family of his victims. Further, he arranged financial support for the family, which left it vulnerable to his predatory behavior.
Unfortunately, this is behavior all too common in the Orthodox rabbinate. Examples abound of Orthodox rabbis who’ve exploited their respected role in the community to prey on their male and female disciples and followers.