The mother
Photo: AP
Haredi riots
Photo: Gil Yohanan

'Starving mom' case: Hadassah Hospital administrator receives threats

Dr. Yair Birnbaum of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem receives anonymous bomb threat over his involvement in the case of haredi mother suspected of starving toddler son

Dr. Yair Birnbaum, deputy director of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, received death threats Sunday in connection to his involvement on the case of the haredi mother suspected of starving her three-year-old son.


An anonymous caller reportedly threatened Birnbaum that explosives would be placed in his car. The Jerusalem Police launched an investigation.


Police Superintendent Eli Cohen, speaking at a court hearing held in the case Sunday, said that "people close to the suspect are willing to use methods as organized crime… I'm talking about threatening doctors and social workers."


The police are investigating all the threats made against city and hospital officials involved in the case.


Senior Haredi Community rabbis met clandestinely with Hadassah Ein Kerem Director Prof. Shlomo Mor Yosef and Birnbaum Sunday morning. A source in the community told Ynet that both administrators admitted that the hospital "made mistakes in the case."


'Report of threats a pathetic spin'

Hadassah Ein Kerem officials, however, adamantly denied the report: "We categorically deny the claims. Hadassah's actions in this case were irreproachable. The boy's condition is improving consistently since he has been separated from his mother."


Communications consultant Moshe Friedman, who was retained by the family, offered the following comment: "The report about the threat is nothing but an attempt to create an unconvincing spin meant to divert attentions from the (hospital's) failures and present this public as violent.


"This is simply pathetic. The next spin would probably have the haredim buying a cruise missile from Kazakhstan to shoot down Hadassah's smokestack."


Also Sunday, the court discussed the fact that the woman, who was remanded to house arrest, has yet to undergo the court ordered psychiatric evaluation.


The Haredi Community is currently waiting for a halachic ruling on the matter by Rabbi Tuvia Weiss. Should he rule against a psychiatric evaluation, the woman is likely to refuse the exam, in which case the court may find her in violation of the terms of her remand, and order she be placed in police custody again; which may lead to renewed riots in the capital.


Shmuel Pfenheim, a spokesman for the Community, said Saturday night that the woman would report for the evaluation, despite the move being seen as Haredi Community's cowering: "We are not lowlifes like the police and the prosecution and therefore she will be where she is ordered to be. We keep our word."


Ronen Medzini contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 07.19.09, 23:25
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