The Untold Story
Updated: Jan 17, 2022
What led Walder to commit suicide on his son's grave?
The affair of Chaim Walder has caused a storm in the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, and rippled through communities in the Diaspora. It all started weeks ago following an investigative report published in Haaretz. According to the report, author and revered educator Chaim Walder, who worked in the Social Services Department of the Bnei Brak municipality, allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl and sexually assaulted two other women.
At first, Walder tried to continue living his life as usual, and the ultra-Orthodox media did the same. The allegations were not published in the local ultra-Orthodox newspapers and even the ultra-Orthodox radio station, where Walder hosts a weekly program, broadcast a taped program hosted by Walder. In in this way, the ultra-Orthodox media tried to hide this information from the ultra-Orthodox public that does not subscribe to Haaretz. (Haaretz’ readership is secular and left wing). Moreover, it was revealed that MK Pindrous from United Torah Judaism sent Walder a message saying “Be strong and courageous” following the news report. This is another case in which the rotten leadership unites to cover up the transgressions of one of its members.
Once Nivcharot identified this dangerous trend, we began our intensive efforts to raise awareness of this issue. The organization's CEO, Esty Shushan, and Nivcharot member and media activist Efrat Shukroun were interviewed by the general media and spoke about the attempts to keep silent and hide the allegations from the public. We also published details of the investigation on social media.
Moreover, in in conjunction with Haredim Mamlachti’im, we organized a petition calling on The Second Authority for Television and Radio (which fund Haredi programs) to suspend Walder until the allegations are reviewed. Within 24 hours, 1,500 people had signed the petition. Thankfully, we were successful: Walder was suspended from his job as radio host.
In addition, his books have been taken off the shelves of major bookstore chains and even book publishers in ultra-Orthodox areas of Brooklyn have announced that they wi
ll no longer sell his books. At the same time, 22 new testimonies piled up revealing Walder’s harmful actions against young girls and immoral acts with married ultra-Orthodox women, and the court of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu (son of the the late Rishon Lezion Mordechai Eliyahu) ZT’L) issued a statement on difficult cases of immodesty and improper acts committed, ostensibly, by Chaim Walder and which led to the dissolution of families. Walder was forced to announce his retirement from public life until he could clear his name and prove his innocence.
"All has been heard" (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
On December 27, 2021 the second part of the investigative report was published, as well as a recording of Walder admitting that he had an affair for 6 years with a married woman, and saying that if the story is published, he will commit suicide. He was also summoned for a hearing in the court of Rabbi Eliyahu.
A day after the recording was released, on December 28, Walder killed himself with a gun in the cemetery where his son is buried. A violent and abusive act directed at himself, but in doing so, he again silenced his victims and prevented publication of the truth.
The ultra-Orthodox media is trying to hide the real motives for his actions and the fact that he committed suicide, again choosing to throw dust in our eyes and hide the rotting skeletons in the closet; however, in the age of social networking, the audience is no longer a prisoner. We fight for victims through social media and other means.
Two days after Walder’s suicide, Shifra Yocheved Horovitz, one of his alleged victims, chose to end her life too. Nivcharot dedicated a special symposium in her memory. Click here to see I24TV’s coverage of this event and how voices in the ultra-orthodox community are breaking the silence.