ISRAEL — A Rabbi who has defended alleged abusers in the past has spoken out in defense of Chaim Walder. Rabbi Nissim Ben Shimon, an Av Bais Din who is the former head of the Badatz Tel Aviv-Yaffo, released a letter Wednesday claiming that Walder did many good deeds and helped many people. He also insinuated that Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu did not have the right to declare Walder guilty.

However the letter does not comment about the specific allegations against Walder.

Here is the translated text:

“Since things are being quoted in my name, I want to clarify my position:

Last Wednesday Rav Chaim Walder came to me with another talmid chacham. He said that since allegations and claims were being made against him without his side of the story being heard, he wanted to sit with a Bais Din that would investigate and verify whether the claims and suspicions were true.

I said that I would do so BE”H, and I was going to sit with Rav [Mendel] Shafran [of Bnei Brak].

Afterward, Hagaon Rav Shmuel Eliyahu shlit”a called me and said that a Bais Din was already convened on the matter and there were many testimonies that verified the allegations were true. I asked him if he heard directly from the witnesses or through a third party (eid mipi eid).

He replied that based on the Gemara in Moed Katan, there was no requirement in this case to hear the testimony first-hand (because the conventional rules of eidus do not apply).

I replied that this case is not comparable to that Gemara. He responded that there are other psakim issued by another Bais Din as well. I asked him which one, and said the Bais Din in Petach Tikvah. I asked him to send me that psak din by fax, and he told me that rather than fax it, he would have a messenger bring it directly to me.

The messenger never arrived.

Afterward Hagaon Rav Shafran called me and said that we should sit [on a bais din] with Rav Eliyahu, but I told him that is not possible, because he had already heard multiple testimonies not in front of the defendant, and he even paskened.

Sadly we were not able to “stop the vehicle” in time, to the point where at the expense of his life, [Walder] was not able to continue living with the things they were spreading and writing about him.

And now I turn to anyone who is enlightened with truth, you must remember and know that he did many good things and went above and beyond to help families, and support students, widows, orphans, and myriad others.

To the family, I say that you should know that you had a great father zt”l, HaMakom Yenachem…”

According to the Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Ben Shimon defended convicted felon Shmuel Berland, a known predator who was proclaimed by a highly respected Bais Din to have engaged in extremely immoral behavior with women for many years.

In 2014, disciplinary charges were brought against Rabbi Ben Shimon after he facilitated a settlement in which a woman who was viciously abused by her cousin for seven years from age 11 to 18 agreed not to press charges, in return for 220,000 shekel.

It should be noted that Rabbi Eliyahu’s Bais Din invited Walder to appear and defend his case, however he refused, and sent threatening messages through his lawyers. In addition, Rabbi Eliyahu personally called Walder and urged him to do teshuva.

As reported by Vos Iz Neias