'Stress of immigration not related to violence'

"These are distinct cases involving deeply troubled people," Absorption Ministry official says.

michael kruchkov 224 (photo credit: Channel 2)
michael kruchkov 224
(photo credit: Channel 2)
The recent spate of suspected murders of children by their family members is unrelated to the immigrant status of the families, according to Immigration Absorption Ministry officials. "This isn't an immigration crisis," ministry spokeswoman Meital Noy said on Wednesday of the recent murders of infants Rose Pizem, Alon Borisov and Michael Kruchkov. "Both Russian-speaking mothers [allegedly] involved [in the killings of Borisov and Kruchkov] were married to Israelis. These are distinct cases involving deeply troubled people." The chief suspect in Rose's killing is her Israeli grandfather. Asked if the ministry kept track of families to ascertain if there are problems in their absorption, Noy noted that "the ministry doesn't have the personnel or the job of doing this. As soon as an immigrant joins a community, the local welfare services are responsible for support." The Absorption Ministry has a Department of Welfare Services, but this is a planning body that develops programs with the Welfare Ministry, drug enforcement authorities and the like, Noy explained. Also Wednesday, the prime minister's advisor for social affairs, Vered Sweed, said the government would launch a project to equip newly arrived immigrants with hotline numbers and information about psychological assistance and their social rights in their native languages. "Unfortunately, many new immigrants come here alone and have no supporting social networks. They find themselves facing too many things all alone, and that can be prevented," Sweed said. According to Hanna Slutzky, the Welfare Ministry's chief social worker for child protection, the murders underline the need for schools, health services and average citizens to be aggressive in reporting problems to welfare agencies. "We're hearing that dozens of neighbors knew there were problems" in the cases of the childrens, Slutzky noted. "Neighbors heard yelling, and saw a four-year-old child walking around alone at night. Where were these neighbors?" Another problem was "the lack of communication between the systems: the health services, the education system and the welfare agencies. There used to be 'mother and child' stations all over the country where a mother would take her infant for assistance and advice. These stations also had people watching the behavior of the family, the tension level of the mother, and they would communicate with the welfare services." But most of these services have been privatized, "and nobody knows where the mother and child go. If they go to a private doctor, he may give them all the necessary vaccinations, but is he looking at the child-parent relationship? Is he sending them to find help when they need it?" Israel's children are the most vulnerable members of society, Slutzky noted, because they are the most difficult for state agencies to track. "We recommend putting your child in a day care, because we communicate with these institutions. It's a caregiving framework. But many Israelis don't know about the existing day care options." Slutzky called on neighbors and others who come into contact with cases of abuse or aggravated familial tension to call the Welfare Ministry's emergency hotline at 1-800-22-00-00. Reporting is anonymous.