Beit Shemesh 'Taliban Mother' indicted for allegedly abusing her six children

A 54-year-old woman suspected of severely abusing six of her 12 children for years was indicted Tuesday in the Jerusalem District Court, in one of the most shocking child abuse cases uncovered in the country in years. The woman, who was arrested last month in her Ramat Beit Shemesh home after neighbors summoned police, allegedly abused her young children "at least" 25 separate times, the charge sheet said. The suspect, who has been dubbed "the Taliban Mother" since she appeared in court dressed from head to toe in black, was remanded in custody on Tuesday for the duration of her trial. According to the two-page indictment detailing the abuse, the woman repeatedly beat and otherwise physically abused her children, giving them electric shocks and hitting them with belts and sticks. In one instance, the charge sheet said, the woman beat one of her daughters in the face with a rolling pin and slammed her face into the marble kitchen countertop. She was also accused of forcing her children to sleep outside in a locked shed when she felt they had come home late, tying up her mentally impaired son for hours at a time and ignoring his cries for help, cutting her daughters' hair as punishment, and throwing water on her children to wake them up. In addition, the physically and psychologically abused children committed incest when they were locked up in the shed, the indictment stated. The woman was not charged with failing to report the incest. During her arraignment, the suspect refused the judge's request that she remove her facial covering, and the court was forced to make do with a declaration by her attorney, Vered Berger, that she "recognizes the eyes of the accused." The woman's husband, who is under house arrest in northern Israel, is suspected of knowing of and taking part in the abuse, though on a lesser scale than his wife. The close-knit extremist family managed to evade law enforcement officials - despite years of reports of neglect and violence - by repeatedly moving all over the country and by refusing to cooperate with social workers, the police said. Until police were summoned to the house last month, the couple's children never told authorities of the abuse, even after some of them moved out of the home. Only after their mother was arrested did all the children tell police what they had suffered. The woman, who has confessed to some of the allegations against her, said that she was simply "educating" her children, police said.