One of the pashkevils
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Litzman. Remains calm
Photo: Eli Mendelbaum

'Starving mom' case: Haredi flyers incite against Hadassah hospital

Instigative haredi posters make serious accusations against hospital treating three-year-old toddler starved by his mother; compare it to infamous Nazi doctor Mengele. Deputy Minister Yakov Lizman, who posted bail for mother, 'not worried about money'

Walls of haredi neighborhoods of Jerusalem have been plastered with provocative street posters – pashkevils – over the past few days, since the case of the mother suspected of starving her three-year-old son has become public knowledge.


The instigative posters and flyers all make serious slanderous accusations against the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in the capital, which has been treating the toddler, accusing it with acts similar to the Nazi horrors of the Holocaust. One poster's title read "Hadassah Ein Kerem 2009 – A modern-day Dr. Mengele".


The pashkevils were signed by the "Public Committee for the Inquiry of the Hadassah Ein Kerem Crimes" and in it the committee states: "We demand a separate committee to investigate the crimes of the doctors, and that all of those who performed experiments on the child be put behind bars". 


That same "committee" behind the flyers, a prominent means of communications in the ultra-Orthodox community, is not a known and established organization. Common assumption among ultra-Orthodox circles is that the "committee" represents a handful of members in the haredi community.

One of the poster (Illustration. Photo: Gil Yohanan)


Nevertheless, these harsh and incitefull words against the hospital and its staff should not be underestimated. Hadassah Ein Kerem's Deputy Chief of Staff Dr. Yair Birenbaum, received death threats Sunday. The police launched an investigation on all threats against hospital staff, be they through the telephone or through the posters.


Some pashkevils read "If we thought those terrible days have long been gone, as we shockingly read of the Mengele (damn his name) experiment during the horrible holocaust, we are now faced with the terrible appalling reality of horrendous experiments on a helpless child in this modern time".


The writers of the pashkevil blame the hospital with performing experiments on the infant and attempting to murder him and his mother: "Had they been able to, they would have killed her without a second thought, but seeing as not everything can be rushed, a solution was found: 'Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy' (a German tone to it.)… and as a result they simply wish to murder the child", it was claimed.



Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital responded by saying it rejects and condemns the accusations on Hadassah's deputy chief and other doctors and members of staff. "We assume that behind the threats are irresponsible extreme elements and we call upon the heads of the haredi community to renounce and condemn them", one source said.


Hadassah sources further added that Hadassah has long kept a daily contact with representatives of the ultra-Orthodox community to sustain their "long lasting good relationship." They further mentioned that "We shall keep fulfilling faithfully our mission, which is to provide the best medical care for the child, who under the dedicate care of the doctors, nurses and social workers, keeps improving daily. Hadassah calls upon all relevant parties to leave the child and his health out of legal discussions and disputes".


Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beiteinu) told the Knesset Monday that Jerusalem Police launched investigations against 110 haredim who are suspected of taking part in the violent protests that followed the mother's arrest.


He said 26 police officers and six civilians were injured during the riots.


'Not worried about money'

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court convened Monday to discuss the case of the toddler's mother, who was released to house arrest but has yet to undergo a psychiatric examination as was decided. Her attorney, David Halevy, informed the court that his client will undergo the court ordered psychiatric evaluation within 24 hours.


Health Minister Deputy, Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) has posted NIS 200,00 (approximately $50,000) as bail money, however speaking to Ynet he mentioned "I'm not worried about my money".


Should the court decide the mother has breached parole, Litzman is at stake of losing a substantial amount of money. Nevertheless, he remains calm saying "I don't think they want to discuss bail".  


Litzman stressed that he is not related in any way to the mother and is unaware of her mental and physical state. "It is hard for me to address the matter, since I'm not there, I'm not familiar with the people involved, I'm not even familiar with the problems. The only thing I did was quite things down and succeeded in that, even now it still works", he said.


Matters have relatively calmed down but an unusual incident occurred Monday. Police suspect that ultra-Orthodox from the capital tried to set a police squad car on fire and punctured its tires, after the officers left the vehicle. A pedestrian on the scene extinguished the fire, but damage was caused to the vehicle.


פרסום ראשון: 07.20.09, 18:35
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