Raise the covers

Jerusalem Post
January 30, 2013

Sir, – Kudos to the Post for raising public awareness about child abuse in the Jewish community (“NGO decries ‘cover-up culture’ in sex abuse cases,” January 29).

Every Jewish community must create child protective services like Magen, working with all religious leaders and professionals.

Prosecution and sentencing for failing to report must be severe and exoteric for perpetrators, enablers and accessories. The pharisaic act is not in the reporting, but in the silence.

Press about Jewish cases must be in the context of cover-ups in the secular community. Out of context, the press can appear anti-Semitic for picking on the Jewish community, and this encourages wrongful but inevitable cover-ups.

In England, Rabbi Padwa allegedly ordered the victim not to report the crime to civil authorities. Yet executives, producers and cast members at the BBC knew of television personality Jimmy Savile’s decades-long molestation of children and never reported it. They were transferred or retired with golden parachutes after the story broke.

They have not been arrested or charged in the conspiracy of silence.

Israel, by the way, has an unsavory international reputation for protecting accused abusers who fled from other countries, rather than extraditing them.

Beit Shemesh
The writer is a member of the Magen board and former executive director of the Massachusetts Committee for Children and Youth