The Skeletal Child

I spent much of the years 2004 and 2005 demonstrating against the Expulsion of Gush Katif's 9000 Jewish residents. And much of 2006 and 2007 working to provide those same expelled families with desperately needed relief aid.

During that period, I saw first-hand how the Government could use the Army, the Police, the Courts, the Press, even the Social Services, as pawns in this outrageous "Disengagement" plan.

So when I see the Eida Chareidit demonstrating in Jerusalem and Bet Shemesh about a lady accused of abusing her child, by starvation, I am not the first to assume that these same Police, the Courts and Press.. are necessarily correct in denouncing the "violent rioters".

The case centers on a three year old child, who is described as skeletal – just 7kg. And his mother, who is suspected of starving him, perhaps as a symptom of a psychiatric disorder Munchausen's-by-proxy. The mother's defence lawyer has apparently refused to allow his client to be psychiatrically evaluated.

One could be forgiven for assuming that the demonstrations are in anger and protest at the alleged behavior of this mother against her own child. Such an act of wanton unnatural cruelty would indeed provoke considerable indignation and disgust, even in the most passive of folks.

And that the police are arrayed in the protection of that mother, sheltering in custody from the enraged mob.

But this is not the story here. Far from it.

The demonstrators are acting to protect the Mother from the police, from the doctors, from the courts. They are ignited against the decision to take her into custody, under suspicion of starving her own child – because they see the mother's custody as an attack on their community.

The demonstrators are so incensed by the arrest of one of their own, that they seem to have overlooked any concern for the skeletal child.

For those with some insight into the culture which has generated this response, there is no surprise here.

Of course everyone loves children. However, protecting the welfare of children does not always come before the interests of the adults.

In our case, the rioting now is directly related to the rioting by the same Eidah Chareidit over the past few weeks, sparked off by the opening of a (no charge) car park on Shabbat.

And that is directly related to the recent election of a secular mayor Nir Barkat in Jerusalem, rather than the ultra-orthodox candidate Meir Porush – and therefore the 'loss' of the council from the previous ultra-orthodox domination, to a secular one.

For those pulling the strings which control the demonstrators, whether the "cause" is a car park, or protecting a suspected child abuser, is not important. It's about territory and power.

So let an alleged abuser walk free. And let the skeletal child starve.

Comments

  1. David - you clearly have an agenda here.
    It's NOT haredi bashing (though there are ALWAYS those who will knee-jerk dismiss any criticism of aspects of haredi society by ANYONE non-haredi as merely unfounded "haredi bashing").
    Your agenda, David, is to better protect kids.
    I'm with you on that. All the way.

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  2. Hurray David. I agree with the previous poster, I am 100% in favor of your agenda TO PROTECT CHILDREN! Keep up the good work!

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  3. Yasher Ko'ach David. As to the issue of the child -- Right-On David! But regarding the other issue, regarding the parking lot. I found out where this lot is -- apparently real close to Sha'ar Yafo entering the Old City. Could the Mayor have another agenda as well? Could he be following a possible National Gov't agenda to bring Jewish business and money to the Arab shuk on Shabbos? Datim undoubtedly wouldn't buy
    from Arabs in the shuk at any time. And Chareidim surely wouldn't on Shabbos. But Yosef Q. Secular Israeli?

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  4. There's something peculiar and quite dysfunctional about a population that presents itself as more religious than G'D but impervious to decency.

    Riots on demand, rock-throwing etc. are not Jewish behaviors. These are not kiruv or negotiation techniques. This is a sign of immaturity, psychopathology and willful endangerment of others. The rioters are not known as baalei chesed or talmidei chachamim, only as baalei disruptive determined to keep doing what they do critics be damned!They present themselves as uber-religious but behave in forbidden ways.

    Indeed, the welfare of the skeletal child is glaringly absent from their agenda. Dr. Miriam Adahan recently sent out a message regarding children off the chareidi derekh after sexual and other abuse within it. One owes it to society at large to question why this is so. The answer points to the solution: this is a segment of sociey that resists productive mental health practices. It is devoted to protecting dysfunctional preferences. The solution for that is to physcially restrain the perpetrators. Jail time, commitment to psychiatric institutions. We need them off the streets where they endanger defenseless innocents.

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  5. The protests have nothing to do with the kid. Every war has casualties. the battle now is about the state of israel having any authority over their community. Essentially, this community governs itself. It does not pay taxes and does not receive (not including streets, etc.). it does not report crimes and are not convicted. etc. etc. Of course the reality is they receive many services, but they do not believe that the evil state of israel can have any authority over its community - and that is the core of the protests.

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  6. Is there another side to the story? What do they say? To hell with the child? Why is the woman in JAIL, if she is mentally ill? Was there a misdiagnosis of cancer? Who did you interview to find out all your facts?

    I highly doubt that you researched fully enough to answer the above Q's - for if you did, I am sure you would have provided the responses you received for these all important questions.

    So, yes, this does amount to chareidi bashing.

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  7. I believe we should reserve judgement on this case until all the details are known. I don't agree with violent protests - but the head of Hadassah Hospital did say that they had not handled this case as well as they should have. It's not unheard of that doctors accused a patient or mother of doing something in order to 'get back' at them for not agreeing to their treatment (which is not working). I personally have heard of people within the community complaining about the way they were treated. Some doctors for a start don't like big families and make nasty comments. Doctors have put people away for personal reasons, if not killed patients (see the book Blue Star from Russia) and some doctors also suffer from psychiatric problems - who doesn't remember Dr Shipman who killed many of his patients. Now, I'm not saying any of this happened here G-d forbid, but lets reserve judgement on this woman and her community until all the facts are known. What I do think is that perhaps the right people from within the community could have been involved from the beginning and a lot of this could have been avoided. These riots may also stem from the high-handed attitude displayed to this community by some in the medical profession. This anger does not stem simply from political reasons - it would be foolish to believe that. The reasons for these violent protests should also be studied - perhaps something can be learned to prevent future incidents of this type. One cannot help feeling sad for this mother who may be suffering from severe psychiatric problems and in many ways also a victim, or perhaps even innocent. Yes, she should be separated from the child and a full investigation should be conducted. It's a pity that this is dragged through the news media in such an insensitive manner. I think the staff at Hadassah should be complimented on installing a video camera and if it's proven that the mother was harming the child - they have done an excellent job in preventing further abuse.

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  8. Anonymous said: "Is there another side to the story? What do they say? To hell with the child? Why is the woman in JAIL, if she is mentally ill? Was there a misdiagnosis of cancer? Who did you interview to find out all your facts?....So, yes, this does amount to chareidi bashing."

    Allow me to clarify, in case you thought otherwise (apparently you do!) I am not an investigative reporter, with privileged information about the medical files of the child, nor with exclusive contacts with those intimate with the family. Like you, I am relying solely on publicly available information.

    Perhaps the kid was misdiagnosed, as you suggest; maybe the doctors tried to kill the kid (chas veshalom) and the mother is trying to save him; maybe it's all one conspiracy by the Secular Establishment/Medina to plant a 'blood libel' on the Eida; maybe the kid doesn't even exist...or he's living healthily in the Bahamas.

    Maybe.

    In most cases of abuse, there are only two people who KNOW what really happened. Rape. Child abuse. Wife abuse. Employee abuse...

    Those two who know the Truth, are the (Alleged) Victim and the (Alleged) Perpetrator.

    NO-ONE else really knows.

    And any investigation by unqualified parties to try to verify or disprove the claims are simply out-of-order.

    So what DO we know, or what can we reasonably find out, or what can we influence, even control?

    We can find out the nature of the CLAIM.

    We can find out the RESPONSE to that claim.

    We can use our own judgement as to whether the response was appropriate to the nature of the claim.

    If the response was NOT appropriate, we have a chance, even a moral obligation, to try to fix it up, improve upon it, make sure the response is more appropriate next time. Because there is always a next case, unfortunately...

    This is the purpose of my article.

    I understand as fact that the CLAIM is that a child is severely undernourished, and the mother is suspected of starving the child.
    I don't think anyone would challenge that this is the CLAIM.

    The RESPONSE, by the authorities, was to bring the mother into custody (she is suspected of a serious crime, and her other children might be endangered).

    The RESPONSE of the family's community was to demonstrate and, according to videos (which I don't think are disputed as being doctored), to rioting.

    I believe that the authority's RESPONSE was reasonable and appropriate; I believe the community's RESPONSE was unreasonable innappropriate.

    I think your accusation that my article "amounts to 'haredi bashing'" - and therefore, hereby closeth the issue - is unreasonable, and inappropriate.

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  9. David - I think your comments to anonymous are fair. We need to hear criticism and unfortunately there are those who feel that the frum community can do nothing wrong. Perhaps some feel that criticism coming from a kipa sruga is chareidi bashing - I think it's helpful that there are those that take the trouble to point out where the frum community is going wrong (as long as it's with the right intentions - and yes, Davids post about the 'settler' youth proves he is not only pointing out problems with chareidim). The violence that resulted from these demonstrations is unforgivable, a chilul Hashem and is preventing the Guela. There should have been more forceful statements from community leaders - todays "street" will create violent demonstrations even if they were originally planned as peaceful. I suggest everyone take a look at this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVw7xbv3Tls&feature=player_embedded and watch for the punchline at the end. These two issues are probably linked!
    I agree the mother should have been separated from her child but the authorities should have had her evaluated first before throwing her in jail. A little more understanding on both sides would help a lot. Unfortunately we live in a generation that wants instant solutions to problems. One Rabbi once said that todays generation is suffering because of the invention of instant coffee! Once you could get coffee in an instant - everything had to be instant!

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