Police believe Beit Shemesh husband abused children too

The father of 12 children who were allegedly severely abused for years by their mother not only knew of, but also took part in, the abuse of his children, although on a lesser scale than his wife, police said Thursday. The father, who was arrested Wednesday at Ben-Gurion International Airport upon his return to Israel, was remanded in custody Thursday by a Jerusalem court until Friday, when he will be placed under house arrest for the next week. The father, who repeatedly took long trips abroad seeking charity for his family of 14, knew that his wife was using "very severe violence" against his children, yet he failed to help them or report his wife to the authorities, a police representative told the court. The children told police that their father "did not help them at all" and even beat them himself with a belt, the police representative said. The father, who mumbled "that's not true" during the remand hearing, told police that he only gave his kids "small hits on the hand." The children's father was also informed by his wife that his children were committing incest, but failed to ever summon social workers or help, the police representative said. One of the older children, a 24-year-old brother, was arrested on Thursday, under suspicion of incest. When police asked the children why they committed incest among themselves, the children said that "we should be grateful that they did not commit suicide after what they had gone through," the police representative testified in court. The incident is the latest in a spate of grisly child abuse cases in Israel. During the remand hearing, the defendant's layer successfully argued that the defendant should not be detained in police custody past Friday, considering he returned to the country on his own volition, and despite police concern that he would disrupt legal proceedings if released. "The reason he is being detained in custody is absurd... This is a question of one's basic rights," the attorney said. Jerusalem Magistrate's Court President Judge Amnon Cohen ordered the suspect released on NIS 5,000 bail on Friday, and placed him under house arrest for the next week in a venue other than Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, and the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak. He also forbade the suspected child abuser from contacting his children or his wife. Police suspect that the violent physical abuse of the children - which included both belt and electric cable whippings - was carried out by the children's mother over many years. The children were also forced to sleep in an outside shed as a form of educational punishment, and were even tied up for hours at a time. According to a police representative who appeared at a remand hearing, the closed-knit Beit Shemesh 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 and community officials. When the abuse was first discovered last month, only two of the couple's 12 children, who range in age from eight to 33, lived at home. The two young clearly abused children, including a teen who was disabled, have since been removed from the house by social workers. The children's mother, who is in police custody after being arrested earlier this week, appeared in court Tuesday covered from head to toe in multiple layers of clothing. The court has barred the publication of both the parents' names.a