Marie Pizem, the mother charged with killing her four-year-old daughter, Rose, in September 2008, took the witness stand on Thursday at Central District Court and described a life of abuse beginning with her mother, and continuing with her first husband, Ben, and her second husband, Ben's father, Roni Ron.
"My mother always gave me the feeling that she didn't want me," Pizem (pictured) said in French, which was translated into Hebrew by a court interpreter. "She said I slept badly, that I didn't let her live, that I was a crybaby and lazy. She couldn't stand it when I was around. I was beaten enough times by her, and she also locked me in the cellar.
"My mother suffers from depression and is an alcoholic," she went on. "She tried to commit suicide many times, including once in front of me, when I was 12 years old."
When she was 11, she said, her mother was hospitalized and she was sent to a strict Christian institution.
"It was the best time of my life because at home I had to look after my mother," she said. "There I felt freer."
When she was 15, Pizem met her future husband Ben. She said that through that relationship, she had been able to leave home. A year-and-a-half later, she became pregnant. She had an abortion, but her mother went to court and had Pizem declared an adult so she would no longer have legal responsibility for her, and could make her leave home.
She and Ben moved to Normandy and she became pregnant again, this time with Rose. But her husband began to beat her.
"I can describe him as a nervous person; in his nature he was against everything, not just me," she said.
Pizem said she had been very happy during her pregnancy and had felt reborn.
"We were very close to one another," she said of Rose. "Nothing else mattered. She kept me alive."
During this period, Ron came to France to meet Ben and his family.
Afterward, the couple came to Israel to live with Ron. According to Pizem, the meeting between Ron and Ben added to the latter's violence.
Pizem broke down one day and told Ron about it. She said it was the first time she had told anyone.
Ben left Israel, but before doing so, he forced her at knife-point to allow him to take Rose with him, she testified. Pizem stayed behind with Ron.
"It was the end of the world for me," she said. "I lost everything. The fact that I decided to stay in Israel was the biggest mistake of my life."
Pizem later returned to France for a while and then went back to Ron in Israel.
"It was very hard [to leave Rose], but I hoped it was only temporary. I always thought about her, every minute."
Meanwhile, the relationship with Ron deteriorated. He beat her and went out with other women. He even had sex with another woman at home while she sat in another room.
"He beat me ferociously," she said. "One day he spilled a cup of hot coffee on me and threw a chair at me."
Pizem is due to continue her testimony next week.
The state has failed to connect Pizem to the actual killing of her daughter, who was found dead in suitcase in the Yarkon River, but maintains that she encouraged Ron to kill Rose and that she knew about the murder and did not inform the police.