Daycare child (illustrative)
Daycare child (illustrative)iStock

The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court on Monday morning sentenced a preschool teacher accused of child abuse to 22 months in prison and six month of conditional imprisonment.

The preschool teacher, Sigal Elkayam-Weiss, attacked children left in her care while working at a preschool in the central city of Ramat Gan.

In addition to her sentence, Elkayam-Weiss will pay each child's family 3,000 shekel ($919) in compensation.

Attorney Navon Katsav, who is representing the parents, said: "Just yesterday we heard about abuse in Ashkelon. The authorities must give expression to this issue. I disagree with the judge, who said that imprisonment is not a deterrent. In my opinion it is, as is monetary compensation. The State must wake up and supervise and increase the punishment and the compensation."

An indictment was filed in November 2018 against Elkayam-Weiss and two other aides, for attacking children in the center. In May 2020, they were convicted of attacking children. The preschool's principal was convicted of breaching the reporting requirement and sent to six months of conditional imprisonment, as part of a plea bargain signed with her.

According to the indictment, the women attacked the children at various times and in various ways, including by hitting, pushing, pulling, shaking, and throwing them, and in a few instances they caused the children pain and actual injuries. In some instances, some of the accused were witness to the others' attacks, but did not prevent the harm to the children's welfare and health or report the incidents to the appropriate authorities.

Attorney Adi Oren from the Tel Aviv District Prosecutor's Office, who managed the case, said at the end of the hearing: "In the past few years, we have been witness to more and more instances in which crimes of violence against minors and young children were committed, by those responsible for them in daycare centers and educational frameworks."

"Behind every victim is an entire world and families who were hurt. It's time to raise the threshold of punishment, so that every preschool teacher and assistant knows that if she acts violently towards minors and helpless individuals, she can expect to be sent to prison."