Melbourne – One day after an official investigation charged leaders at two Australian yeshivos with ignoring and enabling multiple cases sexual abuse, a coalition of highly regarded Australian rabbis has called for the resignation of the individuals named in the report.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse said that it found a pattern of inaction to abuse cases at both Yeshiva Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi, reported The Age Victoria.
While victims were told by yeshiva officials that those involved in the incidents would be dealt with, the commission found that no action was taken and that perpetrators continued to enjoy unsupervised access to children.
Victims and their advocates were often ostracized for speaking out against their accusers, said the commission.
Officials at the Rabbinical Councils of Australia and New Zealand, Victoria, and New South Wales joined together to condemn those who looked away from the abuse, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
In a statement released yesterday, the coalition of rabbis declared that because of their inaction those involved had forfeited the right to serve as community leaders.
Calling on those identified by the commission to vacate their positions, the group said that the time has come to learn from previous mistakes and for the Jewish community to take a strong stance against child abuse.
“The rabbinate must demonstrate that Judaism and the Jewish community will not tolerate child sexual abuse and those who perpetrate it and must support those who have suffered,” read the statement.
While there were those who commended the coalition for its statement, at least one victim who asked to remain anonymous criticized it for its failure to name the rabbis who are at fault.
“Reads well but on a practical basis will have … nil effect,” said the victim. “In my experience, rabbis protect each other. Always have. Always will.”