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Mother's Arrest Prompts Protest against Abuse Claims

A woman suspected of malnourishment of her child was arrested. Members of her hareidi religious community feel that they are merely scapegoats.
By Avraham Zuroff
First Publish: 7/15/2009, 7:25 AM

(Yitzchok Russek / Topshot Images

A woman suspected of intentional malnourishment of her child was arrested Tuesday. Members of her hareidi religious community feel that they are merely scapegoats, and a hareidi religious official said his community will boycott the Jerusalem hospital that reported the woman.
 
The deputy operations chief of the hareidi religious Eida Hareidit organization said that its members will boycott the Hadassah Medical Center due to “false accusations.” Yolish Krauss told Army Radio Wednesday, “The Eida Hareidit in Jerusalem will boycott the hospital since its medical staff fabricates false accusations and is abusing community members.”

His statement comes after police arrested the woman whom they suspect purposely underfed her child for a matter of months. Doctors said that they at first could not understand the boy’s condition until they realized that he was not being fed sufficiently. The hospital documented on a hidden camera the mother’s removal of a feeding tube from the child.

Doctors from Hadassah stated Wednesday that the child’s condition has improved, beginning the moment his mother was arrested and kept away from him.

Hareidi religious men protested the woman's arrest. Protestors blocked Bar-Ilan Blvd. in Jerusalem and burned trash cans at Shabbat Square between Meah She'arim and Geulah.

The director of a Jerusalem child development center, Dr. Binyamin Glick, said that he already knew about the mother’s starving her child over a year ago. He informed the medical staff at Hadassah and welfare officials that the woman suffers from Münchausen syndrome by proxy (MSbP), a mental disorder in which a caregiver deliberately causes injury to another in order to gain attention. Police are currently investigating whether the woman suffers from a mental disorder.

Despite Dr. Glick’s report to welfare officials, the Welfare Bureau told Army Radio that the family’s case is unknown to them. Hadassah Medical Center also reports that they have never received an official complaint against the family.

The mother denies allegations against her and refuses to cooperate with the investigators. Police extended her custody until Sunday.