Judge shocked by video of mom suspected of starving child; in court, woman lashes out at state.
By DAN IZENBERG
The mother who charged with trying to starve her three-year-old son told Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Ravid on Tuesday that she was "devoted to her children" and that there was an explanation for the acts for which she was indicted.
It was the first time that the woman, who has four other children and is pregnant, has spoken in public since the affair became known on July 14. Her statements came at a hearing on the terms of where she will be live, her freedom of movement and the conditions under which she will see her children during the trial.
The mother has been charged with abusing a minor or helpless person for whom she was responsible, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of nine years in jail.
During the hearing, the state's representative, attorney Tal Weissman Ben-Shahar, asked Ravid to place the defendant under full house arrest outside of her home in the Mea She'arim neighborhood. She also asked that the four children, aside from Ch., the boy she allegedly abused, remain in their home and that she be allowed to see them once a day for a number of hours.
Ch., who is not included in the proceedings to determine under what conditions her mother will see him, is under the care of his uncle. A juvenile court ruled on Monday that the mother can be in telephone contact with the boy at any time of the day or night.
The mother's lawyers, Reuven Bar-Haim and David Halevy, asked that the court reject the request to place their client under house arrest and that she be allowed to live with the other four children.
"I am a mother, albeit a haredi mother who is not known here," she told Ravid at the end of her lawyers' plea.
"The state does not know haredi mothering. The only thing that matters to a haredi mother is her children. I am that kind of mother and will continue to be so until I am 120 years old. Nothing else matters to me in life, not work, not money, not a big house, only children, their happiness and their peace of mind."
"To my sorrow, I got entangled in this story [i.e.the allegations against her - DI]. When the time comes, the explanation will be given."
On Thursday, a parole officer report stated that the woman constituted a threat to her other children, even though the indictment against her does not contain any abuse allegations involving them.
So far, however, the mother has refused to allow her children to be questioned by police. Ravid warned her that if she continued to refuse, he would take it into consideration in his decision as to whether to grant the state's request to forbid them from living with her during the trial.
At the end of the hearing, Ravid called on the state to inform him by Wednesday afternoon when the children would be questioned at the Center for the Protection of Children and Adolescents in Kiryat Hayovel.
If the mother agrees to such questioning, the decision on the state's request regarding the mother's holding conditions will take some time.
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