Abandoned toddler, parents reunite

Parents of Israeli-Finnish child were released from a psychiatric hospital Wednesday.

baby 88 (photo credit: )
baby 88
(photo credit: )
The parents of the Israeli-Finnish abandoned toddler will arrive in Israel this weekend with their baby girl Bat-el, following their release from a psychiatric hospital Wednesday after a psychotic episode in India's Ganges River. The couple, Almog and Maraana Yarden, whose daughter was left on the streets of the northern city of Varanasi, India, following their arrest and hospitalization due to violent psychotic episodes, was released Wednesday from the hospital. Almog Yarden told Channel 10 Wednesday night that the couple did not suffer a psychotic episode, but rather were practicing a sadana, a spiritual practice that he said involved "a big celebration." He added that they were not arrested but had asked themselves to be put under house arrest, to be protected from people who could not understand the ritual they were following. He said he had wanted his daughter to be put into foster care for a few more days. The child, who was handed over to kindergarten teacher Zohar Matlon from Ganei Tikva, a tourist who was happened to be in the area and agreed to take care of the two-year-old child while her parents were away, was handed back to her parents Wednesday. Matlon played surrogate mother to the girl over the past few days until the parents' release. Her family members in Israel said Wednesday that Matlon has handed over the child and left the guest house where she babysat the toddler. The parents' release on Wednesday prevented the intervention of the Indian justice system. Shortly before an Indian judge was set to decide Tuesday night who would receive custody over the child - her Finnish grandmother or her Israeli grandfather who flew to Varanasi - the parents were released and received their child back. Almog Yarden's mother refused to be interviewed, Wednesday, and said that once the "children will arrive they will need to have the time to recover and rehabilitate their lives." A week ago, passers-by found a toddler wandering alone on the streets of Varanasi after her parents were arrested by the local police. The locals determined that the parents were an Israeli man and a Finnish woman and therefore handed the toddler to another Israeli tourist, Matlon. Matlon updated her family in Israel about the affair and they contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli embassy in India. The Israeli embassy updated the Finnish embassy on the matter. Both grandparents arrived in Varanasi to receive custody of the child. The parents' release prevented the Indian court from having to decide who would receive the child.