Pedophiles in the Ultra-Orthodox Haredi Sector in Israel: Thought Processes Regarding their Actions

Gil Hamo, Yael Idisis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study explores thought patterns of Jewish Ashkenazi Ultra-Orthodox pedophiles in Israel and how they resolve the contradiction between their commitment to Jewish Law and having committed sexual offenses against minors. Ten adult men participated in this study. Using open semistructured interviews, their cognitive distortions before, during, and after the abuse were examined. Content analysis revealed that participants used cognitive distortions based on their own world of Jewish Law and social-cultural values. The insular nature of Ultra-Orthodox society and its many prohibitions, especially regarding sexuality, tempted offenders to test boundaries. When sexual drive was high, internal control mechanisms were ineffective even in presence of external control mechanisms. Some participants recognized the contradiction between their behaviors and being Ultra-Orthodox Jews, and others did not. Based on the findings, a flow chart was devised describing the cognitive processes of Jewish Ultra-Orthodox pedophiles. Theoretical and practical implications of the results were examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-427
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - 19 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Ultra-Orthodox pedophiles
  • Ultra-Orthodox sex offenders
  • pedophile cognitive errors
  • sex offender thought processes


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