Rabbi Tau
Rabbi Tau Yehonatan Gottlieb

The police are investigating a complaint that was filed recently against Rabbi Zvi Tau over alleged harassment of a woman which happened many years ago, Channel 12 News reported Thursday.

Rabbi Tau is a Religious Zionist rabbi and co-founder and president of Yeshivat Har Hamor in Jerusalem.

According to the report, the investigation is being carried out under the auspices of the prosecutor's office and, due to the time that has passed since the incident to which the statute of limitations applies, it is difficult to confirm the credibility of the complainant.

Kan 11 News reported that the investigation is being conducted by the Judea and Samaria District of the Israel Police. Rabbi Tau has not yet been summoned for questioning, and the police are considering how to proceed with the investigation.

Rabbi David Stav, the rabbi of the town of Shoham and chairman of the Tzohar rabbinical organization, commented earlier on his Facebook account to Rabbi Zvi Tau's case, without mentioning his name, when the rabbi first admitted that he was agonizing over whether to engage in it at all.

"For several weeks now, I have been agonizing over the question of whether it is right to address publicly the claims made by a number of women regarding serious sexual abuse by an important rabbi in the religious Zionist community," he wrote.

Rabbi Stav emphasized the right of the complainants to complain to the police and the presumption of innocence of Rabbi Tau. "There is no need to say too much about the right of the complainants to contact all the relevant authorities (police or other professional bodies). It is the duty of the police to investigate the complaints impartially, it seems that no one would disagree. There is likewise no need to elaborate on the presumption of innocence of the suspected rabbi and the need not to impose judgment without a trial."

He noted that, due to a long-standing ideological dispute with Rabbi Tau, he remained silent at first. "I preferred to remain silent. Since I have a long-standing ideological dispute with the suspected rabbi, I thought it was inappropriate that I should be the one to voice complainants."

Rabbi Stav decided, after hearing the complainant, that he had to speak on the matter. "In the last few days, I spoke with one of the complainants, and she told me about the difficulties that are piling up in front of her by various bodies to which she turns in order to clarify her complaints. Some of them fear things related to previous disputes. Because of this, I came to the conclusion that I have no choice, and it cannot be that, out of considerations of personal convenience and appearance, I will cause the voice of these women not to be heard and the law not to be followed. The role of rabbis in all generations has been to stand on the side of the attacked, the injured and the weak against those in power and save the downtrodden from their oppressor."

Rabbi Stav added, "The accusations I was exposed to, through a conversation with one of the complainants and a recorded testimony of another complainant, are extremely serious. But of course this is only one side, and I have no tools to determine whether the allegations are justified or not."

Rabbi Stav demands that the law enforcement authorities clarify the facts. "Precisely because we do not have the tools to judge the validity of the claims, we must not allow such accusations to remain hanging in the air. The public in general, and the rabbi's disciples and those who follow him in particular, are supposed to demand that the facts be clarified without bias. In a law-abiding country, and in particular in the State of Israel, the beginning of our redemption, we do not have better tools than the law enforcement and other authorities, led by the police and the prosecutor's office. Hence the request for them to check the issues thoroughly."

"The divine call 'and be holy' obliges us more than ever to see to it that if there are among us people who are dangerous, they will be removed from the community and will face their punishment, and on the other hand to guard against slander and slander and false complaints. Only a vigorous inquiry carried out by an orderly body can create the necessary balance," Rabbi Stav concluded.