'Mother must see shrink within 24 hrs'

J'lem court issues ruling a day after woman suspected of starving child skips evaluation.

Jerusalem child starver 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
Jerusalem child starver 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Monday ordered the woman suspected of starving her child to undergo a psychiatric evaluation within 24 hours, police said. The move came a day after the woman, who is believed to suffer from a mental disorder, skipped a previously scheduled court-ordered evaluation. The latest court order came at an emergency closed-door meeting of the woman's attorneys, and police representatives in the offices of court president Judge Shlomit Dotan. The court had released the woman from detention to house arrest on Friday, on condition that she take the exam, and her refusal to go through with it raised the possibility that she could be detained again. The evaluation, which must take place by Tuesday evening, will help determine whether the woman is fit to stand trial. Meanwhile, senior officials from Hadassah University Hospital met overnight with a top rabbinical leader of the Eda Haredit organization, which has organized the violent protests against the woman's arrest, in an effort to soothe tensions. The meeting came after a Hadassah's deputy director-general Dr. Yair Birnbaum received death threats, and posters were hung in Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood comparing the hospital to Dr. Josef Mengele, the notorious Nazi who performed medical experiments on inmates. The child remains hospitalized at Hadassah, whose doctors were the first to suspect that he was being abused, drawing the wrath of the Eda Haredit leaders. Some 20 haredim held a prayer vigil outside Birnbaum's Jerusalem home last night. During the closed-door hearing, police also complained to the judge that authorities have not been able to question the woman's four other children, in violation of past agreements. An police car that was parked in Mea She'arim on Monday was set on fire and its tires were punctured, allegedly by haredim, Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. A pedestrian at the scene extinguished the fire, but the vehicle was damaged. The Knesset on Monday held a special debate on the protests in Jerusalem and other cities with large haredi populations. The debate, the initiative of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, was marked by arguments between coalition parties Israel Beiteinu and Shas. MK David Azoulai (Shas) claimed that he had heard a rumor that the allegedly abusive mother had been held in a detention cell together with male terror suspects. Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich dismissed the claims, arguing that it was not possible that a woman was placed in a detention cell together with male prisoners. "How far are you taking this?" he asked Azoulai.