Several major ultra-Orthodox media have played down the allegations of sexual abuse against famous haredi child author Chaim Walder, after his death by apparent suicide on Monday.

Walder was a mainstay of ultra-Orthodox education in Israel who wrote dozens of children’s books that can be found in most Orthodox homes. He appears to have shot himself in the head in Petah Tikva on Monday, after new allegations of sexual assault against him surfaced, in addition to previous accusations by several women.

The ultra-Orthodox media largely bypassed the sexual assault allegations and did not mention the suicide in the obituaries published on Monday.

The Behadrei Haredim news site described Walder as a “well-known writer and educator” and highlighted a chain of summer camps he has started. The obituary did not mention the abuse or suicide allegations.

The flagship article from news site Haredim10 was titled Walder, “The Man Who Influenced a Generation of Children”. Much of the article focused on his denial of the allegations made against him and the work he did in the community.

He noted that the “tragic incident” of his death came after a report from Haaretz which accused Walder of “alleged serious wrongdoing.”

The ultra-Orthodox Kikar Hashabbat website mentions the allegations, down from Walder’s obituary.

Police at the scene of the apparent suicide of ultra-Orthodox author Chaim Walder near his son’s grave in Petah Tikva on December 27, 2021 (Flash90)

Several weeks ago, Walder was suspended from a radio show he hosted “due to evidence of inappropriate behavior,” according to the report.

Walder “categorically denied anything attributed to him,” said the report, which also made no mention of the suicide.

On social media, some have lashed out at Haaretz’s Aaron Rabinowitz, whose award-winning reports first shed light on the allegations against Walder.

“Who made you judge, jury and executioner,” one person asked.

Another swore that Walder “will get his revenge from above.” There is a law and there is a judge… Journalism kills, the Torah forgives those who take the road again. Now it is totally clean.

The Kipa news site published comments from prominent Zionist religious rabbi David Stav, who told the newspaper that the ultra-Orthodox community had a duty to publish the allegations against Walder to avoid possible abuse, despite fears. potential suicide.

Walder was found dead in a Petah Tikva cemetery on Monday next to the grave of his son, who died several years ago from cancer. Police said a man was found in the cemetery just before 1 p.m. with a gunshot wound. A passerby heard the gunshot and alerted the authorities.

Chaim Walder in 2011. (CC BY-SA Yoninah / Wikimedia Commons)

Walder had previously threatened to kill himself following the revelation of charges against him.

The 80-pounder Walder, 53, reportedly left his home Monday morning after being locked up there for days, and his family had sounded the alarm bells, worried for his safety.

He was charged last month by three women who said he sexually assaulted them when they were 12, 15 and 20, respectively. The accusations were published in the Haaretz newspaper and in their wake several other women from the ultra-Orthodox community shared similar stories about Walder on social media.

Known as an educator and therapist in the Haredi community, Walder is said to have used his popularity and status to commit the acts.

An ultra-Orthodox rabbinical private court on Sunday that deals with cases of sexual abuse in the community said it heard 22 testimonies from people – including young boys and girls – alleging abuse from Walder when they went see him for treatment over the years. , considerably expanding the allegations already made against him.

Chief Rabbi of Safed Shmuel Eliyahu, who heads the court, posted on Facebook on Sunday that the court had found Walder guilty of the charges, even though the perpetrator had not testified himself.

Walder announced last month that he was stepping down from public life to clear his name. His announcement came after the ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne’eman newspaper, where Walder was employed as a writer, warned him that if he didn’t take a leave, he would be fired.

A number of other ultra-Orthodox entities have severed ties with Walder, a resident of Bnei Brak. Walder was dismissed from his post at ultra-Orthodox radio station Radio Kol Chai and children’s magazine Otiyot announced he would stop publishing his stories.

Walder’s books were also pulled from the shelves at Osher Ad supermarket chain and Eichler’s Judaica Jewish bookstore in Borough Park.

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