By Yerachmiel Lopin (Frum Follies blog)
May 24, 2016
On 5/20/16 I reported the arrest of Naftali Maklev for hundreds of sexual offenses against his own female relatives starting when one was only six years old. Maklev worked as the spiritual advisor in Yeshiva Beer Hatorah in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem.
I have heard from a number of sources that Maklev also molested boys in the yeshiva.
That yeshiva is run by Rabbi Gavriel Yosef Levi (aka GI”L), the son-in-law of Rav Aaron Feldman (RAF), the Rosh Yeshiva of Baltimore’s Ner Israel Rabbinical College. In his circles he is called GI”L, the Hebrew acronym of his full name. GI”L has acquired a reputation for ruthless climbing on top of others, very sharp elbows, and invoking the aid of his father-in-law, RAF.
The Hebrew language Israeli website, Bichadrei Charedim ran a headline this morning (5/24/16) “Head of the yeshiva where the molesting mashgiach works: “Whoever talks will be thrown out.” While the report uses no names they are clearly referring to GI”L, the employer of Naftali Maklev at Beer Hatorah in Bayit Vegan.
According to this report, GI”L gathered a group of students in his office and declared:
If this [allegation] is not true, it is lashon horah [gossip] and obviously forbidden to say. If this [allegation] is so, one definitely should not speak of it and [instead] be silent. For every moment that a person seals his lips he merits the great hidden light that no angel or creature can imagine.
אם זה לא נכון, זה לשון הרע ופשוט שאסור לדבר, ואם זה נכון אז בוודאי לא לדבר על זה ולשתוק, כי על כל רגע ורגע שאדם חוסם פיו– זוכה לאור הגנוז שאין כל מלאך ובריה יכולים לשער
Until I read this I thought he was merely a power-hungry scoundrel and a cover-up artist.
But I am now convinced every last parent should demand their tuition back. GI”L is either an ignoramus or deliberate liar who misrepresents Jewish law and tradition. For starters, lashon horah is repeating true facts which harms someone’s reputation and one is not supposed to repeat it unless there is a vital interest such as protecting others from harm. Yet he is labeling a falsehood as lashon horah, when it should be called motzi shem rah (slander). He is deliberately obscuring the principal articulated by the Chofetz Chaim, that when there is a toeles, a purpose, such as protecting others from harm, one is obliged to report derogatory but true facts.
The second part of his statement is more amazing. Having already misrepresented Jewish law he now tries to misuse Jewish mysticism in claiming that concealing the truth about a terribly dangerous man can confer great rewards such as sighting a supernal light beyond the ken of angels. Perhaps he wandered so far into the obscure because he fears some clever yeshiva boy will check the halacha. But this sort of mystical allusion is much harder for a student to refute.
He conveniently omitted the conclusion of the Torah’s verse prohibiting gossip: “Do not stand by idly on the blood of your fellow.” That would have really struck home for students who knew of their friends who were molested by Maklev.
But GI”L is not the sort of man to leave his fate hanging on Torah alone so he also did his thug routine. “Whoever talks to the media will immediately be thrown out of the yeshiva” (מי שידבר עם כלי התקשורת, יעוף מהישיבה לאלתר).
The threat clearly failed because this story appeared in Chadrei Chareidim the very next day.
The yeshiva did remove Naftali Maklev’s name plate from his office door.
This scandal is already sending shock waves throughout the entire Yeshivish world in Israel and abroad because Maklev comes from a prominent family and his child is married to the grandchild of the dominant figure of that world, Rav Chaim Kanievsky. I expect the scandal to expand with the revelation of additional victims, multiple cover-ups, and attempts at witness intimidation. Stay tuned.
Adding fuel to the fire is the division of the Yeshivish world between the dominant “Bnei Brak” faction of RCK and the “Yerushalmi” faction of Rav Shmuel Auerbach. RSA’s operatives, especially Nati Grossman, the editor of their newspaper, Hapeles, will make the most of this scandal by revealing all sort of cover ups. GI”L has his enemies inside the “Bnai Brak” camp gunning for him or his father-in-law, Rabbi Aaron Feldman.