Scene at Petah Tikva cemetery where Chaim Walder was found dead
Scene at Petah Tikva cemetery where Chaim Walder was found deadFlash90

The former chief rabbi of the Israel Police said Israel’s haredi sector has been traumatized by the scandal surrounding haredi publicist and radio personality Chaim Walder and his subsequent suicide.

Rabbi Asher Melamed, former rabbi of the Israel Police who currently serves as director of the Israeli Protection Center, spoke with Ishay Shnerb on Galei Tzahal Tuesday, a day after Walder was found dead at his son’s grave at a Petah Tikva cemetery in an apparent suicide.

“The scandal created a trauma in the haredi sector; not just among the victims. Many mothers read their kids Walder’s books before putting them to bed. Three generations have raised their kids on what he wrote.”

“There is an inclination to deny [the allegations], because we can’t handle it.”

“When [the scandal] revolves around a person with such influence and power, like Walder, people are liable not to believe [the claims]. And what is the price of silence? It creates an endless chain of victims. Now, after the fact, we’re hearing that people in the community knew about this 20 years ago, including rabbis.”

Walder, 53, was best known for his series of children’s books, Children Talk About Themselves.

He hosted a radio show on Radio Kol Hai, and penned a regular column in the Yated Ne’eman newspaper.

Prior to his suicide, Walder faced accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse, including a report by Ha’aretz which cited the claims of 22 alleged victims, including underage boys and girls.

A special rabbinical court summoned Walder earlier this month to appear for a hearing into the matter.

Walder had denied the accusations, and in a suicide note, reiterated his claims of innocence, challenging the rabbis leading the public shaming efforts against him to a “Torah trial in heaven.”