A Mea She’arim woman who has admitted to starving her three-year-old son until he was hospitalized and put on life support will not serve a prison sentence, according to a plea bargain that she signed on Monday.
The defendant, known as the “starving mother,” had been reluctant, based on advice from her rabbis, to sign the agreement, which was drafted on Thursday. She was arrested in July.
The deal was preceded by months of tumultuous negotiations between prosecutors and the defense, who had sought unsuccessfully to get the defendant released from house arrest.
The case has caused an uproar among some haredim, with reaction in the haredi street to the woman’s arrest culminating in a number of violent demonstrations in Jerusalem and beyond over recent months. Haredi publications have consistently labeled the accusations against the mother “lies” or “slander” and have hinted that they were part of a larger plot to incriminate the haredi community as a whole.
Such heated sentiments were apparent during Monday’s court
proceedings, when Rabbi Avraham Froelich, with whom the mother had been
staying since the case began, burst into the courtroom and shouted for
her not to admit to anything she didn’t do.
The trial, which was
being held at the Jerusalem District Court, was in the evidence phase
before the agreement was signed, hearing testimony by the doctor who
treated the boy on his admittance to the hospital.