Top rabbi resigns after abuse comments

The public hearing into the response of Yeshivah Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi to child sexual abuse in Melbourne, Feb. 2, 2015. (AAP)

Australia's most senior rabbi has resigned from his roles after criticising an abuse victim's father during a royal commission.

Australia's most senior rabbi - who called a pedophile victim's father "a lunatic" during the child abuse royal commission - has resigned.

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant resigned as the General Manager of Cultural and Spiritual services at Jewish Care Victoria on Monday.

He also reportedly resigned his position as president of the Organisation of Rabbis Australia.

Rabbi Kluwgant had attacked Zephaniah Waks while he gave evidence about the abuse of his son Manny at the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne.

Rabbi Kluwgant sent an SMS to a Jewish journalist while Mr Waks was giving evidence.

The text message says: "Zephaniah ... is a lunatic on the fringe. Guilty of neglect of his own children. Where was he when all this was happening?"

Jewish Care Victoria CEO Bill Appleby said the board of the organisation had asked questions of Rabbi Kluwgant after his appearance at the royal commission.

"As a result of my discussions with Rabbi Kluwgant, where he expressed regret over the text message that was sent to Zeddy Lawrence, editor of The Australian Jewish News, Rabbi Kluwgant tendered his resignation, effective immediately," Mr Appleby said on Monday.

After admitting to sending the text message, Rabbi Kluwgant apologised to the royal commission for the way child sexual abuse has been handled within the Jewish community.

"I want to acknowledge that the issue of child sexual abuse was not handled well in the past and that there is still a lot that needs to be done to create and foster a safe and welcoming and supportive environment for victims," Rabbi Kluwgant told the royal commission.

Last week another senior Orthodox rabbi, Yosef Feldman resigned from the board of the Yeshiva Centre in Sydney after he revealed to the royal commission he did not know that touching a child's genitals could be a criminal offence.

Source AAP

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