Ynet is reporting on a letter of support sent to Ex-President, now sex offender Katzav by some prominent Dati-Leumi Rabbanim.Anyone following the Jewish blogsphere has probably noticed ongoing scandals as rabbanim come to defence of convicted sex offenders (e.g Weingarten). The question is what pushes these rabbanim to go out of their way to defend these guys?
It is easy enough to explain why the religious establishment feels it needs to defend former role models, behind bars. How is it possible that someone who learnt so much torah, was really a monster in a black hat? How is it possible that so much torah learning did not manage to soften his heart and make him a mench?
It is harder for me to understand the Katzav story. Why are the rabbanim trying so hard to defend him? There is a possible answer - they really do believe he is innocent. There are lots of Israelies who share that belief at some level, but regardless of whether you believe Katzav is a rapist, I think no one believes he is a good guy anymore. The Katzav story makes me wonder, if there is some strong Rabbinic impulse to deny the likelihood of sex offences being committed by anyone who at least wore a kippah.It is a mental barrier, that refuses to accept that those offences are within the realm of possibiilities of anyone who is somewhat religious. Admitting otherwise might make life almost unbearable.